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Itochu, Mitsui invest $1.5 billion in BHP mine

A man walks past the head office of BHP Billiton in central Melbourne October 18, 2010. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas
A man walks past the head office of BHP Billiton in central Melbourne October 18, 2010. REUTERS/Mick Tsikas

LONDON (Reuters) - Japanese trading houses Itochu Corp <8001.T> and Mitsui & Co Ltd <8031.T> will invest a combined $1.5 billion in BHP Billiton's Jimblebar iron ore mining hub in Australia, the world's largest miner said on Thursday.

Itochu and Mitsui will invest approximately $800 million and $700 million respectively in shares and loans, representing an 8 percent and a 7 percent interest in the mining hub and resource. The consideration includes a share of costs already incurred by the Jimblebar expansion project.

Itochu and Mitsui, already longstanding BHP partners, hold a combined 15 percent interest in BHP's current Western Australia Iron Ore mine, rail and port infrastructure.

The new Jimblebar mine will have initial production capacity of 35 million metric tonnes per annum and could expand.

(Reporting by Clara Ferreira-Marques; editing by Matthew Lewis)

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