Mining giants BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto last month signed a $116 billion iron ore joint venture agreement to combine their Western Australian iron ore operations. The agreement brings together two of the world’s three largest iron ore producers, and has upset major customers in China. However, it still faces substantial hurdles, in particular approval by the European Commission, due to concerns about excessive dominance of the iron ore market. BHP and Rio Tinto reiterate they anticipate a $10 billion saving on operational costs in their Pilbara iron ore joint venture once it is completed later this year.