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BHP Billiton today announced that the partners of Samarco had approved the US$3.5 billion (BHP Billiton share1 US$1.75 billion) Fourth Pellet Plant Project at Samarco (Brazil). The new expansion will increase Samarco iron ore pellet production capacity by 8.3 million tonnes to 30.5 million tonnes per annum (100% basis). First pellet production is expected in the first half of calendar year 2014.

The investment includes:

  • additional mining capacity and a third concentrator at the Germano mine;

  • a third slurry pipeline of approximately 400 kilometres in length; and

  • a fourth pellet plant and enhanced ship loading capacity at the Ponta Ubu site.

BHP Billiton President Iron Ore, Ian Ashby, said “Samarco is a low cost supplier of high quality iron ore pellets and over the last several years has been very successful in growing its resource base. This investment builds on its resource and operational strengths and will further improve Samarco’s competitiveness and market position.”

1 BHP Billiton has a 50% interest in Samarco, with the remaining 50% held by Vale.

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