BHP extends ITOCHU and Mitsui JV

BHP Billiton has confirmed the extension of its joint venture relationship with ITOCHU Corporation and Mitsui & Co in its West Australian iron ore projects.

BHP Billiton has  fallen after confirming the extension of its joint venture relationship with ITOCHU Corporation and Mitsui & Co in its West Australian iron ore projects.

Shares in the miner fell 1.7% to $31.60 at 1001 AEST, following the company's poor performance overseas overnight.

In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, BHP said ITOCHU and Mitsui will take an 8% and 7% stake in the Jimblebar ming hub respectively through the purchase of $US800 million and $US700 million BHP Iron Ore shares and loans.

The transaction is subject to Australian Foreign Investment Review Board approval and other customary conditions and is expected to be completed in the September 2013 quarter.

ITOCHU and Mitsui collectively hold a 15% interest in BHP Billiton’s Western Australia iron ore current mine, rail and port infrastructure.

The miner said the investment aligned interests across the Western Australia iron ore supply chain and drove simplicity and flexibility.

BHP iron ore president Jimmy Wilson said the group was pleased to extend the long standing joint venture relationship with ITOCHU and Mitsui.

"The new Jimblebar mine will have initial production capacity of 35 million tonnes per annum (100% basis) with future expansion potential," he said.

"Once fully operational this will bring Western Australia Iron Ore’s supply chain capacity to 220 million tonnes per annum (100% basis)."