London - ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, and miner BHP Billiton [JSE:BIL] have scrapped plans to combine their iron ore assets in West Africa after they failed to seal a final deal.
The two announced in January that they hoped to create a joint venture in neighbouring Guinea and Liberia in order to cut costs on infrastructure
They said on Wednesday in a joint statement they had ended talks after failing to reach a commercial agreement.
"BHP Billiton and ArcelorMittal will continue to advance their iron ore interests in West Africa independently and work closely with governments and their communities," they said.
ArcelorMittal said the first phase of its Liberia iron ore operation was under construction and expected to launch production in the second half of next year.
Analysts had said that BHP would have benefited by allowing it to ship ore from Guinea through the Liberian coast, cutting hundreds of kilometres from the access route, and ArcelorMittal would benefit from BHP's mining expertise.