BHP Billiton, known traditionally as Big Australian, is now the largest diversified resource company in the world. Its dual headquarters and dual stock listings in Britain and Australia reflect the fact that the business is the result of the 2001 merger of BHP (formerly Broken Hill Proprietary, a mining giant in Australia) and Billiton of South Africa. Aside from its extensive extractive operations in its home countries, the company is also active in places such as Chile (copper), Colombia (coal and nickel) and Canada (diamonds).
Rio Tinto, one of the largest mining companies in the world, started out in 1873 as a copper operation in Spain. It now has operations on six continents, with the largest presences in Australia and North America. Its products include aluminum, copper, diamonds, coal, uranium, gold, iron ore, and industrial minerals (borates, titanium dioxide, salt, and talc). Rio Tinto, which has dual headquarters in London and Melbourne, is one of the most controversial corporations in a controversial industry.
Anglo American is one of the world’s largest mining companies, with operations in some 45 countries. The company had its origins in the gold and diamond mines of apartheid South Africa, and after the Second World War it expanded and diversified to the point that it controlled large portions of that country’s economy. It later sold off its non-mining businesses, moved its headquarters to London, and spun off its gold mining operations into the company now called AngloGold Ashanti. Anglo American remains a major player in platinum, copper, coal and diamonds (through its affiliate De Beers).