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 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) and expansion at Kolomela.
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 65.2% 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 85% 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 and a 70% interest in the Amapá iron ore system.
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:
- 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
- over 200 km of pipe has been installed
- the civil works at the beneficiation plant are well under way
The Amapá iron ore system is in the Amapá state in northern Brazil. It continues to ramp up its pellet feed and sinter feed production, which reached 4.8 Mt in 2011.
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.