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BHP Billiton today announced it has entered into preliminary discussions with ArcelorMittal about potentially combining the two companies' iron ore interests in Liberia and Guinea into a single joint venture.

The combination of these interests together with each firm's execution capabilities and financial strength would provide an excellent platform on which to build an iron ore business in West Africa of world-class scale and scope and bring meaningful benefits to the region. The partners will continue to assess the merits of a potential joint venture and will work with the respective governments of Liberia and Guinea to seek their support. It is anticipated that this will take several months.

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