BHP Billiton has settled annual contract prices for 23% of its total iron ore volumes for 2009.

New contract prices for iron ore fines are about 33% lower than the 2008 contract prices while prices for iron ore lump are about 44% lower, BHP said

The company said the terms of the contract varied based on specific needs and requirements of each customer.

BHP plans to sell another 30% of iron ore volumes on a mix of quarterly negotiated pricing, spot market pricing and index-based pricing.

The company is negotiating contracts for the remaining 47%.