MAC: Mines and Communities

Mines Bigger than Yours! Forbes' rankings surprise

Published by MAC on 2011-05-10
Source: Nostromo Research, Forbes

But London remains well ahead of the pack

  • Surprises in new Forbes ranking of global mining companies
  • London is well ahead of the listing pack
  • Rio Tinto advances ahead of BHP Billiton, comes second to Vale

Forbes magazine has, until lately, rated the size (or power, if you prefer) of publicly-listed companies according to their value in the market (market capitalisation) on any specific date.

Now it's adopted three further criteria - sales, profits, and assets - to provide what's arguably a more accurate picture of the financial muscle of such outfits, as of April 20 2011.

Making an assessment that employs all four of these metrics, Forbes ranks JP Morgan Chase and HSBC banks as numbers 1 and 2 among the world's biggest publicly-listed companies, followed by General Electric, Exxon, Shell, and PetroChina.

The only three mining companies in Forbes' Global TOP ONE HUNDRED are:

(ArcelorMittal, the world's biggest steel producer, comes in at number 90).

It may surprise many people to find that Rio Tinto is now ranked considerably higher than BHP Billiton; indeed is valued at US$314 billion, some US$6 billion ahead of its chief competitor, and US$44 billion behind Vale.

In Forbes' overall ranking of the world's biggest diversified mining and metals companies, the top six companies remain as they were two years ago (with Xstrata, Anglo American and China Shenhua Energy following behind the Big Three).

However, there's been an interesting change in the ranks of the fourteen biggest mining companies which follow.

For instance, Freeport Copper is now listed as the 7th biggest public mining and metals company; Barrick Gold arrives at number 8; Coal India (now the world's second biggest dedicated coal producer since it went public last year ) is at number 11, leaving Peabody Energy at number 15; Vedanta Resources has jumped to number 16; and ENRC [Eurasian Natural Resources Corp] scrapes in at number 20.


* SIX are principally based in the UK (of which THREE are among the top five)
* FOUR are based in CANADA
* THREE are based in the US
* TWO are based in CHINA
* ONE EACH is based in Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Mexico & Russia

There's no question then, that the effective "worth" of mining companies that are listed on the main London Stock Exchange is now greater than the value of those whose primary listing is in other countries.


1) Vale - Brazil
2) Rio Tinto - UK-Australia
3) BHP Billiton - Australia-UK
4) Xstrata * - UK-Switzerland
5) Anglo American - UK
6) China Shenhua - China
7) Freeport Copper - US
8) Barrick Gold - Canada
9) Norilsk - Russia
10) Newmont - US
11) Coal India - India
12) Grupo Mexico - Mexico
13) China Coal Energy - China
14) Goldcorp - Canada
15) Peabody Energy - US
16) Vedanta Resources - UK
17) Antofagasta - UK
18) Kinross Gold - Canada
19) Sumitomo Metals & Mining - Japan
20) ENRC (Eurasian Natural Resources Corp) UK

* Forbes lists Xstrata as a Swiss company; it is in fact based in both the UK and Switzerland with its primary listing is in London

[Comment by Nostromo Research, 8 May 2011].

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