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BHP Billiton Celebrates The Opening Of The 'Newman Mining Hub'

BHP Billiton today celebrated the official opening of the 'Newman Mining Hub' at its Western Australia Iron Ore operations.

The Hub will be the centre of the Western Australia Iron Ore operations' mining, crushing and screening activities in the Eastern Pilbara. It is the key component of the company's Rapid Growth Project 4 (RGP4), which will increase installed capacity across BHP Billiton's Western Australia Iron Ore operations to 155 million tonnes per annum. The additional capacity associated with RGP4 will be ramped up during 2010.

The Minister for Mines and Petroleum, The Honourable Norman Moore MLC, welcomed the official opening of the Hub.

""The investment made by BHP Billiton in RGP4 further underpins the importance of the Pilbara region to Western Australia's resources industry and to the Australian economy,"" he said.

BHP Billiton Iron Ore President, Ian Ashby, said the Newman Hub was a key component of RGP4 and would deliver large-scale benefits to the company, its customers, employees and the local communities of Port Hedland and Newman.

""The commissioning of the Newman Mining Hub marks the beginning of an exciting time for our business, with one of our largest expansion projects nearing completion. The further integration of our mine, rail and port facilities will ensure greater efficiency in production across our Western Australia Iron Ore business, which in turn is good news for our shareholders, customers and employees.

""We are pleased that the community of Port Hedland will also benefit through significantly reduced dust emissions as we move some of our key production processes inland to the Newman Mining Hub,"" he said.

The introduction of the Newman Hub will mean that the company's Mt Whaleback iron ore operation will be equipped to mine, crush and screen the ore at site rather than those processes taking place in Port Hedland before the product is shipped from Port Hedland.

BHP Billiton's partners in the Western Australia Iron Ore operations are Itochu Minerals & Energy of Australia Pty Ltd, Mitsui-Itochu Iron Pty Ltd and Mitsui Iron Ore Corporation Pty Ltd.