MAC: Mines and Communities

Top Three Mining Companies Register Record Gains

Published by MAC on 2005-02-23

Top Three Mining Companies Register Record Gains

The net profits for BHPBilliton increased by US$3.5 billion in the second half of 2004, Rio Tinto's soared by 87% during the year, and Anglo American's rose by around 74%.

BHPBilliton alone reckons it will generate no less than 14 billion dollars extra cash between now and 2009. What will these giant earth movers do with such massive surpluses? New corporate acquisitions seems the strongest likelihood.

Many groups - especially communities directly affected by the industry - will regard that prospect with dismay. In the recent past "consolidation" hasn't been accompanied by more benign environmental practices or economic betterment. On the contrary, often the bigger the corporate enterprise, the less accountable, and more damaging, its impacts.

Last week the Financial Times raised a key question: what can mining companies bequeath to those whose resources they've exploited? The response was feeble and vastly inadequate.

With all this surplus cash at their disposal the Big Three could belatedly return to communities some of the value ripped off from their members. Will they? Don't hold your breath!
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