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BHP Billiton’s operations are subject to regular reviews to ensure appropriateness of asset carrying values. These reviews are based on the prevailing and expected long term or future economic conditions. Following a review of Ravensthorpe and Yabulu nickel operations (both Australia), a pre-tax impairment charge of approximately US$2.1 billion (US$1.5 billion post-tax) will be reflected in the group’s results for the half year ending 31 December 2008. Due to the size and nature of the impairment this will be disclosed as an Exceptional Item in BHP Billiton’s interim results.

The impairment of the Ravensthorpe and Yabulu operations is mainly due to the significant deterioration in the nickel market, which has seen a dramatic fall in demand, coupled with changes in the rate of production ramp up for Ravensthorpe and the projected sustaining capital expenditure.

BHP Billiton will continue to review the operating performance and future value of both operations in accordance with normal practice.

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