BHP Billiton is the world's largest mining company. It was created in 2001 by the merger of Australia's Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) and the UK's Billiton, which had a South African background. The result is a dual-listed company.
The company began petroleum exploration in the 1960s with discoveries in Bass Strait, an activity which became an increasing focus.
BHP began to diversify offshore in a variety of projects. One project was the Ok Tedi copper mine in Papua New Guinea, where the company was successfully sued by the indigenous inhabitants because of the environmental degradation caused by the mine operations. BHP had better success with the giant Escondida copper mine in Chile (57.5% owned) and the Ekati Diamond Mine in northern Canada.
The inefficiencies of what was, by global standards, a small steel operation in Newcastle finally caught up with the company and the Newcastle operations were closed in 1999. The 'long products' side of the steel business was spun off to form OneSteel in 2000.
In 2001, BHP merged with the Billiton mining company to form BHP Billiton, the largest mining company in the world. In 2002, the 'flat products' steel business was spun off to form BHP Steel. In 2003, BHP Steel changed its name to BlueScope Steel.
Billiton was a mining company whose origins stretch back to 29 September 1860, when the articles of association were approved by a meeting of shareholders in the Groot Keizerhof hotel in The Hague, Netherlands.
Billiton's initial business forays included tin and lead smelting in The Netherlands, followed in the 1940s by bauxite mining in Indonesia and Suriname. In 1970, Royal Dutch/Shell acquired Billiton and accelerated the scope of progress of this growth. The tin and lead smelter in Arnhem, Netherlands was shut down in the 1980s.
In 1994 Gencor acquired the mining division of Billiton excluding the downstream metal division. Billiton was divested from Gencor in 1997. In 1997, Billiton Plc became a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index.
Throughout the 1990s and beyond, Billiton Plc experienced considerable growth. Its portfolio included aluminium smelters in South Africa and Mozambique, nickel operations in Australia and Colombia, base metals mines in South America, Canada and South Africa, coal mines in Australia, Colombia and South Africa, as well as interests in operations in Brazil, Suriname, Australia (aluminium) and South Africa (titanium minerals and steel and ferroalloys).
In 2001 Billiton Plc merged with the Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) to form BHP Billiton.
On November 8, 2007, BHP Billiton announced it was seeking to purchase rival mining group Rio Tinto Group in an all-share deal. The initial offer of 3 shares of BHP Billiton stock for each share of Rio Tinto was rejected by the board of Rio Tinto for "significantly undervaluing" the company. It was unknown at the time if BHP Billiton would attempt to purchase Rio Tinto through some form of hostile takeover; however, CEO Marius Kloppers met with many of Rio's shareholders since the announcement and reiterated that the offer for Rio was "compelling" and that BHP Billiton is very "patient." A formal hostile bid of 3.4 BHP Billiton shares for each Rio Tinto share was announced on February 6, 2008.
On May 14, 2008, BHP Billiton shares rose to a record high of AU $48.90 after speculation that Chinese mining firm Chinalco was considering purchasing a large stake. BHP representatives refused to comment.
The company has nine primary operational units:
The company's shares trade on the following exchanges:
The United Nations Environment Programme has noted that BHP’s Ok Tedi mine site’s “uncontrolled discharge of 70 million tonnes of waste rock and mine tailings annually has spread more than 1 000 km (621 miles) down the Ok Tedi and Fly rivers, raising river beds and causing flooding, sediment deposition, forest damage, and a serious decline in the area's biodiversity. The resulting devastation caused by the mining of Ok Tedi has included the loss of fish, a vital food source for the local community; loss of forest and crops due to flooding and; the loss of “areas of deep spiritual value for villagers are now submerged in mine tailings.”
Beginners' Brazil: Sugar in My Bowl, Jesus in My Glass ; Sao Luis Embodies Brazil's Contrasts; Black and White, Rich and Poor, Christian and Pagan
Apr 07, 2001; Brazil is European, Brazil is black. Brazil is Christian, Brazil is pagan. High technology sits side by side with street culture,...