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Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal, Mitsui's JV With Rio Tinto To Invest In Australia

Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. or NSSMC and Mitsui & Co., Ltd. announced Monday that their joint venture with mining giant Rio Tinto Plc (RTNTF,RIO,RIO.L, RTPPF), Robe River Iron Associates, has decided to invest in the development of new iron ore deposits in Western Australia. These deposits are the Mesa B/C/H in the Robe Valley mine and the Deposit C/D in the West Angelas mine in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

In the Robe River JV, Rio Tinto holds 53%, Mitsui holds 33%, and NSSMC has a 14% stake.

The total investment in the subject development is estimated to be $1.55 billion or equivalent to approximately 170.1 billion yen, of which NSSMC and Mitsui will invest $216 million or approximately 23.8 billion yen and $510 million or approximately 56.1 billion yen , respectively, in proportion to each of their equity stakes.

The existing deposits in both Robe Valley mine and West Angelas mine, currently in operation, are nearing the end of their lifespan. The Robe River J/V will develop these new deposits utilizing the existing rail and port infrastructure, with the objective of sustaining current rates of iron ore production as existing mines decline.

Subject to government and environmental approvals, development of new deposits is expected to start next year, and first ore is currently anticipated from 2021.

NSSMC and Mitsui will work together with Rio Tinto through the Robe River J/V to stably procure and supply iron ore, for which further demand is expected.

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