BHP Billiton

BHP Billiton is the largest mining company in the world, operating in North and South America, Australia, and South Africa. Headquartered in Melbourne, BHP Billiton produces liquefied natural gas and crude petroleum oil and explores metallurgical coal, manganese, iron, and thermal and steaming coal. The company mines and refines bauxite, produces alumina, and extracts various metals such as lead, silver, zinc, and uranium. In addition, BHP Billiton produces diamonds, potash, and titanium minerals, supplying stainless steel and nickel to the industry. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange and the Australian Stock Exchange under the ticker BHP. At present, the company has operations in 25 states and employs 38 thousand workers.

The origins of BHP Billiton date back to 1860 when its shareholders approved the company’s articles of association in The Hague. During the same year, PHP Billiton acquired ownership of mineral rights for the tin deposits on the islands of Banka. At first, the company engaged in lead and tin smelting on the territory of the Netherlands and in 1940 started bauxite mining in Suriname and Indonesia. In 1997, BHP Billiton was included in the FTSE 100 Index. In the 1990s, the company continued to expand, including in its portfolio nickel operations in Colombia and Australia, aluminum smelting companies in Mozambique and South Africa, and metal mines in Canada, South America, and South Africa. The company also acquired coal mines in Colombia, Australia, and South Africa and interests in several operations in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, and Suriname. In 2001, BHP Billiton was formed by the merger of Billiton Pls and Broken Hill Proprietary Company.

BHP Billiton is the 6th largest producer of primary aluminum in the world, having a total capacity of 1.3 million tonnes of aluminum, 4.5 million tonnes of alumina, and 15.6 million tonnes of bauxite. The company operates and holds shares in four aluminum smelters: Hillside Aluminium and Bayside Aluminium (South Africa), Alumar (Brazil), and Mozal (Mozambique). BHP Billiton is also one of the largest producers of silver, copper, lead, and aluminum, producing lead concentrates, copper concentrates, copper cathodes, uranium oxide, and zinc concentrates. The company’s Cannington mining site in Australia is among the largest and lowest cost silver operations in the world. At present, BHP Billiton has ownership in seven copper, lead, and zinc producing operations: Cannington and Olympic Dam in Australia, Antamina in Peru, and Cerro Colorado, Escondida, and Spence in Chile.

BHP Billiton Manganese is the largest producer of manganese, exporting ore and products to steelmakers and alloyers in North America, European Union, Japan, China, South Korea, and India. Among the cornerstones of the company’s diamond business is the Canadian EKATI Diamond Mine. Located in the Northern Territories, the mining operation produces around 3 million carats per year. The company sells rough and polished diamonds to manufacturers, with most of the rough diamond production purchased by international diamond buyers. At present, diamond sales represent 5 percent of the global diamond supply by value and 3 percent by weight.

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