Fitch affirms diversified miners

[] – FITCH Ratings has affirmed the ratings of the three
major diversified mining companies: BHP Billiton Plc/Ltd , Rio Tinto Plc/Ltd and Anglo
American Plc.

The affirmations follow an industry review, which included an analysis of forecast
operational and financial profiles for each company over the next three to four years.

Over this period, Fitch expects general commodity prices to remain at favourable
levels, driven by demand from China and other emerging markets. Nonetheless, the
agency’s conservative base rating case for each company factors in lower assumed
prices compared to 2010/11.

Each company’s credit metrics are forecast to remain strong for their respective
rating categories. Fitch’s forecasts incorporate historically high capex expenditure
continuing over the next three to four years, together with moderate increases in
dividends. Fitch’s expectation for each company is that these distributions will
continue to be accommodated within expected cash flow generation.

With uniformly strong credit metrics, rating differentials are at present largely driven
by comparative profitability levels and operational factors such as commodity
diversification, reserve life and the cost position of individual operations. In this
respect, BHPB continues to be differentiated from its peers by its ownership of
substantial, and highly profitable, oil & gas operations. Also, while each of the
companies are substantial producers of iron ore, copper and coal, at present, BHPB’s
and RT’s iron ore operations are substantially larger than those of AA.

Liquidity and capital markets access is strong for each company and does not
represent a major differentiating factor.