On 5 June 2009, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton signed a non-binding agreement to establish a production joint venture covering the entirety of both companies' Western Australian iron ore assets.
Under the terms of the agreement up to 15 per cent of production was proposed to be sold by the joint venture, independent of Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
Following discussions between the two companies, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton have decided not to proceed with the joint venture marketing activity. As a result, all production from the proposed joint venture would be marketed separately by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
The two companies believe that this change will clarify the nature of the JV for customers and emphasise its focus on realising significant production and development synergies.
Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are pleased with progress towards definitive JV agreements and expect to finalise these agreements on schedule.