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13 Mar, 2008 15:09

BHP Billiton ally with Norilsk Nickel

The world's biggest mining company BHP Billiton will take part in the exploration of the Eeisk-Tagul copper nickel field in Russia's Irkutsk region.

Its involvement comes as part of the company's strategic alliance with Norilsk Nickel.  

An affiliate of Norilsk Nickel, the East Sayan Nickel Company, won the rights to explore the field at an auction on Tuesday.  

It bid roughly $US 30 million for the 25 year license, more than 7 times above the starting price.

Norilsk Nickel CEO Denis Morozov told RT he needs not just BHP Billington's finance but their experience.

“We have an alliance with BHP Billiton to explore and possibly develop the field. We wanted BHP Billiton because the project is going to be expensive and we want to split risks with a reliable partner. Through BHP Billiton we also get access to modern technology and facilitating project development,” Denis Morozov, General Director of Norilsk Nickel, said.