BHP Billiton has approved a $1.93bn of capital expenditure to expand its Western Australia iron ore business.

The money will be used to increase installed capacity at the company’s Western Australia iron ore sites to 240Mt/y by 2013. The funding will allow engineering to continue the expansion of the inner harbour at Port Hedland, progress rail track twinning and expand the Jimblebar mining operation.

On 5 June 2009, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto signed an agreement of core principles to establish a production joint venture covering the entirety of both companies’ Western Australian iron ore assets.

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto agreed on 5 December 2009 on the proposed JV that cover all aspects of how the joint venture will operate and be governed. Under the agreement, Rio Tinto will have the option to participate in BHP’s expansion by paying its share of invested capital.