European steel makers have called on EU anti-trust regulators to block a joint venture between the world’s No. 2 and No. 3 iron ore miners, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto, that they claimed could hike prices for iron ore.
Eurofer, which represents ArcelorMittal SA, ThyssenKrupp AG and Corus Group, said the two companies’ plans to combine Australian iron ore operations would allow them to share information on output that could affect industry negotiations to set benchmark prices and volumes.
The steel makers said the deal “will have the same impact on the iron ore market” as a merger between the two miners.
BHP Billiton had had to abandon a hostile bid for Rio Tinto after EU regulators opposed it as harmful to competition. The two are now planning a joint production project to pool all their iron ore assets in Western Australia.