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35

Norilsk Nickel, BHP Billiton To Operate Jointly in Russia

If exploration proves successful, the companies will establish regional joint ventures

Russia?s metals giant Norilsk Nickel and the world?s largest mining company BHP Billiton have formed a joint venture to explore for minerals in Russia.

The both sides have signed the agreement on Monday.

Norilsk Nickel will hold 50 percent plus one share and BHP Billiton 50 percent minus one share in the joint venture.

If exploration proves successful, the companies will establish regional joint ventures for development of each specific project.

Charles Goodyear, the head of BHP Billiton, said: ?Cooperation with Norilsk Nickel has a mutually beneficial character and opens new prospects of growth for both companies. This is an important step for BHP Billiton, it will allow us to further expand geographical framework of our activities. We are looking forward to beginning work with our new Russia partner.?

Mikhail Prokhorov, general director of Norilsk Nickel, said: ?We are confident that the process of discovery of new mineral deposits in Russia will be accelerated and we made another step in developing this direction of work. We are happy to have an opportunity to closely cooperate with BHP Billiton in order to further reveal potential of Russian mineral resources.?