DIAMOND INDUSTRY GOING FORWARD IN AUSTRALIAS NORTH SAYS BHP BILLITON

BHP Billiton EKATI Diamond Mine

Support Of Secondary

Diamond Industry

10 September 2010

For more than 12 years BHP Billiton’s EKATI Diamond Mine has played a major & impressive role in the growth and development in the Northern regions of Australia. We have demonstrated our commitment to the North through our actions. Since operations began, we have spent over $4.2 billion, of which $3.4 billion has been spent with Northern Aboriginal and Northern businesses. We also continue to be one of the significant employers in the North creating 1,457 person years of employment in 2009 and 15,426 person years since 1999.

BHP Billiton also remains steadfast in its commitment to the cutting and polishing industry in Yellowknife by remaining open and operating at full production during the very trying global financial crisis.

During the crisis, the diamond industry was one of the hardest hit; prices for rough diamonds at EKATI dropped by around 50%. Our marketing methodology and the way we structured our sales contracts (through Spot and Term) combined with the efficiency initiatives at the mine enabled us to deliver on our commitment to Northerners by continuing full production, employment and sales through this period. Our marketing model, designed to maintain our business at all stages of the economic cycle, contributes significantly to our successes and that of the North and supports the interests of all of our shareholders and stakeholders.

Local cutters and polishers approved by the Government of the Northwest Territories have preferential status in their opportunity to purchase our product on a term basis and are invited to participate on a level playing field with other global term clients

For almost 12 years, we have continually offered up to ten per cent of rough diamond stock production by value to local cutting and polishing factories at the same market determined price and under the same terms and conditions as to other members of the international diamond trade. To offer term supply of diamonds at a discount to the price we charge for term supply elsewhere would be unfair to our other term customers.

We are committed to continued discussions about potential supply to Crossworks and all other approved manufacturers in the NWT of rough diamonds from the EKATI Diamond Mine. We also repeat our invitation to Northern approved manufacturers, including Crossworks, to buy diamonds at the prevailing spot price by particpating in our timely spot market auctions.

For more information please contact:

Alexander Legaree
Acting Superintendent of Corporate & Community Affairs
EKATI Diamond Mine
BHP Billiton Canada Inc.
T: +1 867 766 6508
M: +1 867 444 0798
F: +1 867 669 9293

Sourced & published by Henry Sapiecha

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