ArcelorMittal and BHP Billiton have started talks on establishing a joint venture (JV) that will merge their iron ore mining assets in Guinea and Liberia.

The JV will strengthen the competitiveness of each company’s iron ore assets, which are situated in close proximity.

The deal, which would be ArcelorMittal’s first merger of iron ore assets, will also help it achieve its goal of self-sufficiency in iron ore.

The companies will continue to evaluate the advantages of the agreement and collaborate with the governments involved in coming months, they said.

ArcelorMittal’s iron ore assets on the Guinea and Liberia border are currently being revived for mining purposes following the civil war in Liberia.