Wheelarra Joint Venture
The Wheelarra Joint Venture is an unincorporated Joint Venture between Wugang (Australia) Pty Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Wuhan Iron and steel (Group) Corporation, BHP Billiton & its Japanese partners Itochu Minerals & Energy of Australia and Mitsui Iron Ore Corp., other three large Chinese steel mill, Tangshan Iron & Steel (Group) Co Ltd, Maanshan Iron & Steel Co Ltd and Jiangsu Shagang Group Co Ltd. Under the arrangement, the Chinese steel mills will take a 40% interest in a sub-lease over BHP Billiton’s Jimblebar mine. BHP Billiton will retain a controlling share holding a 51% share, with CI Minerals Australia and Mitsui Iron Ore owning 4.8% and 4.2% respectively. The Joint Venture participants signed the Joint Venture Agreements in 2005.
The Wheelarra joint venture centers on BHP Billiton's Jimblebar mine, 230Km from Newman in Western Australia, and involves sales of 12 million tonnes a year of iron ore over the next 25 years estimated to be worth $US9.3 billion.
At the time of its commencement, Wugang (Australia ) Pty Ltd initial total invest is more than AUD 36m, holding 10% interest in JV, BHP Billiton agree to export 10% of annual high Grade Iron Ore production from Wheelarra to Wugang.
The Wheelara Joint Venture was creating number of “firsts” in the history of mineral trading between China and Australia:
Cements a joint venture with four of China’s leading steel producers involving direct sales relationships with each of them for the supply of ore to their operations.
Brings four steel mills, operating in different provinces, together in a single joint venture.
Secures substantial long-term sales commitments of Newman ore for BHP Billiton in China.