BRUSSELS Aug 1 ArcelorMittal, the
world's largest steelmaker, said on Friday it had signed deals
to purchase stakes in an iron ore project in Guinea as it
pushes to raise its mining output and leverage its existing
presence in the region.
ArcelorMittal said in a statement that it would buy a
43.5-percent stake in Euronimba Limited from Billiton Guinea, a
unit of BHP Billiton , and a 13-percent stake
from Compagnie Francaise de Mines et Metaux, a unit of Areva
Euronimba holds a 95-percent indirect interest in the Mount
Nimba iron ore project, a deposit with an estimated 935 million
tonnes of direct shipped ore (DSO) with an average grade of 63.1
percent of iron. DSO needs only relatively simple crushing and
screening before it can be used to make steel.
The site is about 40 kilometres (25 miles) from
ArcelorMittal's mine in Liberia.
The company should be able to use its Liberian railroad and
port facilities, meaning that its capital expenditure would be
much lower than otherwise the case, Chief Financial Officer
Aditya Mittal said.
He added that approval for exporting ore from Guinea to
Liberia was critical to the acquisition.
The deals would give ArcelorMittal 56.5 percent of Euronimba
and Newmont LaSource the remaining 43.5 percent, but
ArcelorMittal has granted Newmont the option of owning equal
ArcelorMittal did not give financial details, but said the
deal was subject to certain conditions, including merger control
clearance and approvals from the government of Guinea.
Asked about possible interest in the Simandou iron ore
mining project in southeastern Guinea, Mittal said:
"Mount Nimba is very interesting because it is close to our
existing operations. It is 40 kilometres away, almost like an
adjacent deposit. Simandou is much further away. Reading between
the lines, you get a sense of our interest level."
(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; editing by Jason Neely)