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BHP Billiton Approves USD570 Million to Underpin Rapid Growth at Western Australia Iron Ore

BHP Billiton today announced approval for a further US$635 million (BHP Billiton share US$570 million)1 of capital expenditure that will underpin continued growth in Western Australia Iron Ore's production profile. The investment highlights BHP Billiton's commitment to the Rapid Growth Project sequence of expansion projects and is consistent with the company's strategy to fully utilise its Port Hedland inner harbour capacity.

The investment expands on BHP Billiton's earlier pre-commitment of US$1.73 billion announced in January 2010 and will facilitate the ongoing development of important port, rail and Jimblebar mine infrastructure.

BHP Billiton President, Iron Ore, Ian Ashby said "The investment further progresses our conveyor belt of Rapid Growth Projects and ensures the company is well positioned to deliver production growth into a tight and growing market. Our volume maximising strategy remains unchanged as we continue to update our longer term growth plans."

1 BHP Billiton's partners in its Pilbara iron ore operations are: Itochu Minerals & Energy of Australia Pty Ltd, Mitsui-Itochu Iron Pty Ltd and Mitsui Iron Ore Corporation Pty Ltd. BHP Billiton share of investment takes into account the 100% owned BHP Billiton Iron Ore Jimblebar operation.