MAC: Mines and Communities

London Calling on today's state of corporate mine play

Published by MAC on 2009-04-27
Source: Nostromo Research

The past nine months of unprecedented upheavals in the world of global mining finance has caused a revision to our notions of which companies wield the most "money power" over the industry as a whole.

Thanks to Barry Sergeant of Mineweb, who zealously follows the movements up and down on the index, the following is last week's ranking of those companies according to their Market Capitalisation (what buyers are currently prepared to pay for their stock).

The TOP FIVE are:

1) BHP Billiton
2) Vale (formerly CVRD/ Vale Inco)
3) Shenua
4) Rio Tinto
5) Anglo American

Thus, nothing has changed in order of importance since late 2008, when we already saw the pre-eminent role of the London Stock Exchange diminishing, as a source of primary mine finance. Now, the two primarily London-based miners are valued at around US$ 74 billion, with Australia-UK based BHP Billiton worth just under US$ 118 billion.

Brazil's Vale and China's huge coal mining outfit, Shenua, between them are market capitalised at about US$130 billion.

The five top companies now represent around a third of the total capital value of mining companies listed on stock exchange.

Ranked SIXTH- TENTH are:

6) Barrick Gold (Canada)
7) Potash Corp of Saskatchewan
8) Xstrata (UK-Switzerland)
9) Goldcorp (US)
10) Newmont (US)

This indicates a considerable drop in the relative value of Xstrata's stock, which is hardly surprising in light of the company's somewhat desperate bailout earlier this year. It also reflects the relatively good market prices recently enjoyed by gold and phosphates in commodities markets.

Following these, from NUMBER 11 to 20 (each market capitalised at more than ten billion dollars) are:

11) Mosaic (US) - the world's largest phosphates' products corporation
12) NMDC (India)
13) Southern Copper (controlled by Grupo Mexico)
14) Freeport (US)
15) Zijin (China)
16) Chalco (China)
17) Norilsk (Russia)
18) China Coal
19) CSN (Brazil)
20) Anglo Platinum (majority owned by Anglo Amercian)

Six of these ten major mining companies are based in China, Brazil, Russia and India - the so-called "BRIC" states.

It is important to note that a number of companies ranked among the top one hundred are subsidaries, or associates, of others contained in the list.

For example, if we count together the three companies controlled by Anil Agarwal and his family - Vedanta, Hindustan Zinc and Sterlite - their market-valuation comes to US$ 13.2 billion, thus ranking them collectively as the 20th most important global mining conglomerate

Source: market data table, compiled by Barry Sergeant; Mineweb 22 April 2009

[London Calling is published by Nostromo Research, London. Opinions expressed in these commentaries do not necessarily represent the views of any other author, including the editors of the Mines and Communities website. Reproduction is welcomed, so long as full attribution is given to Nostromo Research and to any sources cited.]

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