Steel's Biggest Goes Shopping

Barring major holidays, there seem to be no slow news days in the thriving world of metals and mining. That's especially true for ArcelorMittal (NYSE: MT  ) , the massive Luxembourg-based steelmaker, and its rapid flurry of deals in the past few years. Now steely-minded Fools can add another such purchase to the list.

The steel giant is currently focusing on Brazil, whose rich holdings include major reserves of iron ore. On Wednesday, ArcelorMittal announced that it would pay a total of $810 million, including assumed debt, to buy London Mining South America Limited ("London Mining Brazil") from London Mining plc.

London Mining Brazil's claims contain an estimated 1.059 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves. Annual production from the facilities has been running at about 1.4 million tonnes, although it's expected to rise to about 3.2 million tonnes next year. Beyond that, Arcelor is reportedly considering investing about $700 million to push the output to about 10 million tonnes annually.

As if that weren't enough activity for one company, Arcelor has also reached an agreement with Canada's Adriana Resources to develop an iron ore port facility in the State of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  AM will acquire 80% of the port, which will (of course) ship ore mined by London Mining Brazil.

In the past several years, China has played a major role in increasing global demand for iron ore, a key ingredient in the manufacture of steel. Soaring iron ore prices have been a boon to Brazil's giant Vale (NYSE: RIO  ) , London-based Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP  ) , and Australia's BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP  ) , helping to trigger a wave of industry consolidation.

For its part, ArcelorMittal is the product of a 2006 merger of two major steel manufacturers, and it's now become the world's largest steel company. Indeed, its 320,000 employees -- more than six times those of U.S. Steel (NYSE: X  ) -- operate in more than 60 countries, with an industrial presence spread across four continents. And Fools interested in the increasingly important global mining and natural resources sector should enjoy the company's combination of a 2% dividend yield and an active share buyback program.

ArcelorMittal has earned five stars from Motley Fool CAPS. Why not add your opinion to the mix?

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't know much about the bossa nova or the tango. He also doesn’t own shares in any of the companies mentioned, but does welcome your communications. The Fool has a case-hardened disclosure policy.


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