ArcelorMittal, China's Wisco to jointly invest in iron ore assets

ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker and China's Wuhan Iron and Steel Group (Wisco) are in talks to jointly invest in overseas iron ore mines as both steelmakers continue with their drive to be more self-sufficient in the ore required for making steel.

Both companies are in talks to explore the possibility of joint exploration and investment in two overseas mining projects, said China's third-largest steelmaker in a statement today.

ArcelorMittal's senior executive vice president and head of mining, Peter Kukielski had held talks with Wisco in China on 12 August and both companies plan to draw up a list of overseas iron ore mines for acquisitions.

Wisco, like other Chinese steel makers are investing heavily in overseas iron ore mines in order to reduce their dependence on the three global iron ore mining giants, Vale of Brazil and Anglo Australian miners Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

ArcelorMittal's head of strategy, Bill Scotting had said in December 2009 that acquisitions of mining companies "will be part of the mix next year," and expanding mines and developing projects will be undertaken by the company in 2010 as a part of its drive to be more self-sufficient.

ArcelorMittal, run by billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, has already secured about half its iron ore needs from its own iron ore mines and plans to raise that share to 75-85 per cent by 2014, while Wuhan Steel aims to be self-sufficient in iron ore supplies by 2015.