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Rio Tinto (RIO)

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Monday 07 December, 2009

Rio Tinto

Agreements signed on producti

RNS Number : 6510D
Rio Tinto PLC
05 December 2009

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton sign binding agreements on iron ore production joint venture

5 December 2009

On 5 June 2009, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton signed an agreement of core principles to establish a production joint venture covering the entirety of both companies' Western Australian iron ore assets. The companies today signed binding agreements on the proposed JV that cover all aspects of how the joint venture will operate and be governed. 

The companies have also filed submissions with the European Commission and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in relation to the proposed production joint venture and expect to submit filings in other relevant jurisdictions shortly. The companies understand that the European Commission will review the production joint venture under Article 101 (formerly Article 81). Taking into account all regulatory review processes and shareholder approvals, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton anticipate completion of the JV in the second half of calendar year 2010

The production joint venture encompasses all current and future Western Australian iron ore assets and liabilities and will be owned 50:50 by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. It will deliver substantial synergies resulting from combining the companies' Western Australian iron ore operations, with the aim of producing more iron ore at lower cost.  Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton believe the net present value of these unique production and development synergies will be in excess of US$10 billion (100 per cent basis). As previously outlined, these synergies are anticipated to come from:

  • Combining adjacent mines into single operations;

  • Reducing costs through shorter rail hauls and more efficient allocations of port capacity; 

  • Blending opportunities which will maximise product recovery and provide further operating efficiencies;

  • Optimising future growth opportunities through the development of consolidated, larger and more capital efficient expansion projects;

  • Combining the management, procurement and general overhead activities into a single entity.

Tom Albanese, chief executive, Rio Tinto, said, "Signing binding agreements brings us one step closer to unlocking the full production potential of our Pilbara iron ore assets and achieving substantial benefits for all our stakeholders. Completing the joint venture is a priority for Rio Tinto in 2010 and I look forward to realising this vision and capturing the synergies for our shareholders." 

 BHP Billiton CEO, Marius Kloppers, said, "We are very pleased to now have formal and binding agreements in place to develop this important joint venture. With the history of both companies' attempts to join together these two world-class iron ore operations in WA at various times, this deal has effectively been more than a decade in the making. It is an important milestone towards delivering substantial additional benefits to both sets of shareholders, and to the shareholders of our respective joint venture partners in the Pilbara."

On 15 October 2009, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton announced that the partners would not proceed with any joint venture marketing activity. This is the only material change to the non-binding core principles agreement signed on 5 June 2009. The production joint venture will deliver all its iron ore output to Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to sell independently through their own marketing groups. 

About Rio Tinto

Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.

Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.

For further information contact:

Rio Tinto Media & Investor Relations

BHP Billiton Media & Investor Relations


David Luff, Media Relations

Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3620  
Mobile: +61 (0) 419 850 205

Tony Shaffer, Media Relations
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3612  
Mobile: +1 202 256 3667

Simon Ellinor, Investor Relations

Office: +61 (0) 7 3361 4365  
Mobile: +61 (0) 439 102 811

Dave Skinner, Investor Relations

Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3628  

United Kingdom

Nick Cobban, Media Relations

Office: +44 (0) 20 8080 1305  
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 041 003

Christina Mills, Media Relations

Office: +44 (0) 20 8080 1306  
Mobile: +44 (0) 7825 275 605

Mark Shannon, Investor Relations

Office: +44 20 7781 1178 
Mobile: +44 7917 576597

David Ovington, Investor Relations

Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 2051  
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 010 978

United States

Jason Combes, Investor Relations

Office: +1 (0) 801 204 2919  
Mobile: +1 (0) 801 558 2645


Tony Shaffer, Media Relations
Office: +61 (0) 3 9283 3612  
Mobile: +1 202 256 3667


Stefano Bertolli, Media Relations

Office: +1 (0) 514 848 8151 
Mobile: +1 (0) 514 915 1800


Samantha Evans, Media Relations

Tel: +61 3 9609 2898 
Mobile: +61 
400 693 915


Amanda Buckley, Media Relations

Tel: +61 3 9609 2209 
Mobile: +61 419 801 349


Kelly Quirke, Media Relations

Tel: +61 3 9609 2896  
Mobile: +61 429 966 312


Leng Lau, Investor Relations

Tel: +61 3 9609 4202 
Mobile: +61 403 533 706


United Kingdom and South Africa

Andre Liebenberg, Investor Relations 

Tel: +44 20 7802 4131 
Mobile: +44 7920 236 974


Illtud Harri, Media Relations

Tel: +44 20 7802 4195 
Mobile: +44 7920 237 246


United States

Scott Espenshade, Investor Relations

Tel: +1 713 599 6431 
Mobile: +1 713 208 8565


Ruban Yogarajah, Media Relations

Tel: US +1 713 966 2907 or UK +44 20 7802 4033
MobileUK +44 7827 082 022


Rio Tinto plc
2 Eastbourne Terrace

London W2 6LG
United Kingdom

T +44 (0) 20 7781 2000

F +44 (0) 20 7781 1800

Rio Tinto Limited 

120 Collins Street

Melbourne 3000


T +61 (0) 3 9283 3333

F +61 (0) 3 9283 3707
Registered in Australia 
ABN 96 004 458 404



BHP Billiton Limited ABN 49 004 028 077

Registered in Australia

Registered Office: 180 Lonsdale Street

Melbourne Victoria 3000 Australia

Tel +61 1300 55 4757 
Fax +61 3 9609 3015

BHP Billiton Plc 
Registration number 3196209

Registered in England and Wales

Registered Office: Neathouse Place

London SW1V 1BH United Kingdom

Tel +44 20 7802 4000 
Fax +44 20 7802 4111

Members of the BHP Billiton group which is headquartered in Australia

Further information on BHP Billiton can be found on our Internet site:

Forward looking statements

This announcement includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. All statements other than statements of historical facts included in this announcement, including, without limitation, those regarding Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton's respective financial positions, business strategies, plans and objectives of management for future operations (including development plans and objectives relating to the products, production forecasts and reserve and resource positions of each of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton) and synergies arising out of the proposed joint venture are forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Rio Tinto or BHP Billiton, or industry results, to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. 

Such forward-looking statements are based on numerous assumptions regarding Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton's respective present and future business strategies and the environment in which Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton, respectively, will operate in the future. The important factors that could cause Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton's actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements include, among others, levels of actual production during any period, levels of demand and market prices, the ability to produce and transport products profitably, the impact of foreign currency exchange rates on market prices and operating costs, operational problems, political uncertainty and economic conditions in relevant areas of the world, the actions of competitors, activities by governmental authorities such as changes in taxation or regulation and such other risk factors identified in the most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") or Form 6-Ks furnished to the SEC by each of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton. Forward-looking statements should, therefore, be construed in light of such risk factors and undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this announcement. Each of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton expressly disclaim any obligation or undertaking (except as required by applicable law, the UK Listing Rules, the Disclosure and Transparency Rules of the Financial Services Authority and the Listing Rules of the Australian Securities Exchange) to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statement contained herein to reflect any change in Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton's respective expectations with regard thereto or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based.

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