Our business

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Our strategy is to grow our position in iron ore and to supply premium, high-quality iron ore products.

 Overlooking the separation tanks at Sishen mineOverlooking the separation tanks at Sishen mine

We have a unique iron ore resource footprint with large, high-quality resource bases in South Africa and Brazil. Future growth will come from Minas-Rio (including expansion potential).

Our iron ore assets are divided into two operating units: Kumba Iron Ore in South Africa and Iron Ore Brazil.

Kumba Iron Ore

We hold a 69.7% shareholding in Kumba Iron Ore, a leading supplier of seaborne iron ore, which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The company operates three mines in South Africa – Sishen mine and Kolomela both in the Northern Cape, and Thabazimbi in Limpopo. Kumba exported more than 90% of its total iron ore sales volumes in 2011.

Export lump ore is transported via the Sishen-Saldanha Iron Ore Export Channel to Saldanha Port, making Kumba well positioned to supply the high growth Asia-Pacific and Middle East markets and European steel markets.

Iron Ore Brazil

In Brazil, we have a 100% interest in the Minas-Rio iron ore project. We also hold a 49% shareholding in LLX Minas-Rio, which owns the port of Açu (currently under construction) from which iron ore from the Minas-Rio project will be exported.

The Minas-Rio iron ore project will include open pit mines and a beneficiation plant in Minas Gerais producing high-grade pellet feed. On completion of Phase 1, ore will be transported through a 525 kilometre slurry pipeline to the port of Açu.

Minas-Rio secured a number of major licences and permits during 2011 and 2012:

  • the offshore and onshore works at the port are on schedule
  • more than 90% of land access has been secured along the 525 km pipeline route
  • almost 50% of pipe has been laid
  • 92% of earthworks completed at the beneficiation plant.

Samancor Holdings

We have a 40% shareholding in Samancor Holdings, which owns Hotazel Manganese Mines and Metalloys, both in South Africa, and Australian-based Groote Eylandt Mining Company (GEMCO) and Tasmanian Electro Metallurgical Company (TEMCO). BHP Billiton owns 60% of Samancor and has management control.

Samancor is the world’s largest producer of seaborne manganese ore and is among the top three global producers of manganese alloy. Its operations produce a combination of ores, alloys and metal from sites in South Africa and Australia.

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