FBHP Billiton has exercised an option to sell its 37% non-operated interest in Richards Bay Minerals (RBM) to Rio Tinto and will exit the titanium minerals industry.
RBM is a South African mineral sands mining and smelting operation and the leading producer of chloride titanium feedstock. BHP Billiton holds a 37% equity stake in RBM with equity partners Rio Tinto (37%), Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) parties (24%) and
employees (2%). Rio Tinto manages the operation and is responsible for the marketing of RBM's products.
As part of the restructuring of RBM in 2009, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto concluded a put option agreement that made provision for BHP Billiton to sell its interest in RBM to Rio Tinto pursuant to an agreed valuation process. The parties will work together to facilitate a smooth transfer of BHP Billiton's stake.
Completion of the sale is conditional upon the fulfilment of customary regulatory approvals with the final consideration to be determined according to the agreed valuation process.
BHP Billiton Southern Africa Chairman, Dr Xolani Mkhwanazi, said: "BHP Billiton's position in RBM is a non-operated shareholding in an industry in which it holds no other interests. BHP Billiton will continue operating its Southern African energy coal, aluminium and manganese businesses in a sustainable manner."