Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Mining Firms Bulk Up, Echoing Big Oil Mergers (BHP, RTP)

From the Wall Street Journal:

BHP Bid for Rio Heralds
A New Era for Resources;
The OPEC of Iron Ore?

First there was Big Oil. Now comes Big Mining.

For years now, mining companies have gotten rich supplying the raw materials that have fueled consumer booms from China and India to Brazil. As commodities prices soared, these companies socked away cash and snapped up rivals. Now they are embarking on another round of deals that promises a new class of juggernauts. The resulting megaminers would have great influence over the cost of raw materials like iron ore, copper and uranium -- and, by extension, the price of consumer electronics, cars and new apartment blocks.

Last month, Anglo-Australian miner BHP Billiton announced a $125 billion proposal to merge with Anglo-Australian rival Rio Tinto. The deal would combine the world's No. 1 and No. 3 miners into a company worth as much as $320 billion at current market values -- bigger than every global oil company except Exxon Mobil Corp. and Russia's OAO Gazprom. It would be the world's largest producer of copper and aluminum, its No. 2 iron-ore provider and potentially the largest source of uranium....MUCH MORE