Simandou iron ore mine

Glencore Xtrata

Glencore Xstrata, created through the merger of the world’s biggest commodities trader Glencore and the diversified mining company Xtrata in May 2013, is the world’s biggest mining company. The mining and trading conglomerate headquartered in Switzerland reported revenues exceeding $200bn from industrial and marketing activities in its metals and minerals, and Coal and oil segments in 2013.

The company’s mining operations encompass over 150 mining and metallurgical sites around the world. Revenue from the metals and minerals business including copper, nickel, zinc/lead, alloys, alumina/aluminium and iron ore was over $64bn in 2013. Glencore Xstrata also produced 138.1 million tonnes of coal in 2013 recording industrial revenues exceeding $10bn.

The Zanaga iron ore mine in Republic of Congo, the Collahuasi copper mine in Chile, the Antamina copper-zinc mine in Peru, and the Correjon coal mine in Colombia are among the major mining operations in which Glencore Xtrata holds significant interests.

BHP Billiton

Australian miner BHP Billiton earned $67.83bn revenues in the year ending in December 2013 making it the world’s second biggest mining company. The major mining commodities produced by the company include aluminium, coal, copper, iron ore, manganese, nickel, silver and uranium.

The company’s Iron ore operations, the third biggest in the world, comprising the Western Australia Iron Ore operations in the Pilbara region of Australia and the Samarco iron ore operation in Brazil, account for about one third of its revenue. Samarco Alegria is the world’s second biggest iron ore mine.

Copper is the second biggest revenue source for the company. BHP Billiton operates the world’s biggest copper mine Escondida in Chile. It also owns three of the world’s ten biggest coal mines – the Peak Downs coal mine in central Queensland, Australia, Mt Arthur coal mine in the Hunter, Valley region of New South Wales, Australia, and the Cerrejon coal mine in Colombia. Olympic Dam in Australia, a major poly-metallic mine and the second biggest uranium producing mine in the world, is also owned and operated by BHP Billiton.

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The number of controversial mining projects around the world is on the rise and 2013 was no exception.

Rio Tinto

The British-Australian multinational mining company Rio Tinto headquartered in London earned gross sales revenue of $54.6bn in the year ending in December 2013 becoming the world’s third biggest miner.

Rio Tinto is the second biggest iron ore producer in the world. Iron ore accounted for over $25bn of the company’s revenue in 2013. The revenue from aluminium and copper stood at $12.4bn and $5.9bn respectively. The company’s coal mining operations in Australia and Mozambique together accounted for $4.5bn in revenue. The diamond and minerals business contributed $4.1bn of revenue.

Simandou in Guinea and Hamersley in Australia, both operated by Rio Tinto, are among the world’s ten biggest iron ore mines. The company holds 30% interest in Chile’s biggest copper mine Escondida. Rio Tinto operates two of the top ten uranium producing mines in the world, namely the Ranger uranium mine in Australia and the Rossing uranium mine in Namibia. It also owns and operates Argyle, one of the biggest diamond mines in the world.


Vale, the Brazilian multinational metals and mining company with revenues of $48.9bn in 2013, is the world’s fourth biggest miner. Vale is the world’s biggest iron ore producer and the second biggest nickel producer.

Iron ore and pellets accounted for 58% and 12.6% of the company’s total revenue respectively in 2013. Base metals including nickel, copper, gold and platinum group metals (PGMs) contributed 14.9% of the company’s revenue. Fertilisers including potash, phosphate and nitrogen accounted for 6.1% of the revenue whereas coal accounted for 1.9%. Asia contributed for 54.2% of Vale’s revenue in 2013, of which China alone accounted for 38.6%.

Vale operates three of the world’s biggest iron ore mines including the world biggest Carajas iron ore mine located in the state of Para in Northern Brazil. The company also holds 50% interest in Samarco Alegria. The Vale-operated Moatize coal mine in the Tete Province of Mozambique is the world’s fourth biggest coal mine by reserve. profiles the world’s 10 biggest coal producing countries based on annual coal production.

Anglo American

The British multinational mining company Anglo American headquartered in London, UK, recorded $33.06bn of revenue in the year ending in December 2013 becoming the world’s fifth biggest miner.

The company produced 42.4 million tonnes (mt) of iron ore, 97.8mt of coal, 34,400t of nickel, 2.32 million ounces (moz) of platinum and 31.2 million carats of diamonds in 2013. Diamonds accounted for $6.39bn whereas iron ore and copper accounted for $5.3bn and $5.2bn respectively as part of total revenue. Revenues from thermal coal and metallurgical coal stood at $3.8bn and $2.6bn respectively, while platinum contributed $3.58bn. Mining operations in South Africa followed by Chile generated the biggest share of the company’s revenue in 2013.

Anglo American’s wholly owned Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil and Sishen mine, part of its Kumba iron ore operations in South Africa are among the world’s 11 biggest iron ore mines. The company also holds significant interests in Collahuasi and Los Bronces mines in Chile, which rank among the world’s 10 biggest copper mines.

China Shenhua Energy

China Shenhua Energy, China’s state-owned coal mining enterprise with estimated revenue of $32.1bn in the year ending in December 2013, ranks as the world’s sixth biggest mining company.

The Chinese miner produced 318.1mt of coal and sold 514.8mt of coal at an average price of CNY392.3 ($62.37) during the year. The company’s coal sales in 2013 represented a 10.8% increase over those in 2012. The seaborne coal sold during 2013 stood at 227.3mt. The company was estimated to hold 15.12 billion tonnes of recoverable coal reserves as of December 2012.

The Shenhua-owned Haerwusu coal mine and the Hei Dai Gou or Heidaigou coal mine both located in the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China are the world’s second and third biggest coal mines by reserves. profiles the world’s biggest iron ore mining operations based on recent estimates of proven and probable reserves.

Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold

Revenue of $18.3bn from mining operations in the year ending in December 2013 make Freeport McMoRan Copper & Gold (FCX), the US-based natural resource company headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, the world’s seventh biggest miner.

The company produces copper, gold, molybdenum and cobalt, and has mining operations in North America, South America, Africa and Indonesia. Freeport produced 4.13 billion pounds of copper, 1.25moz of gold, and 94mlbs of molybdenum in 2013.

FCX’s Grasberg open pit mining operation in Indonesia boasts the world’s biggest gold reserves and the tenth biggest copper reserves. The company produced 915mlbs of copper and 1.1moz of gold from the Grasberg complex in 2013.

Barrick Gold

The world’s biggest gold mining company Barrick Gold earned $12.5bn revenues in the year ending in December 2013 becoming the world’s eighth biggest miner. The Canadian multinational mining giant reported revenues of $14.39bn for 2012.

Barrick Gold carries out gold and copper mining operations in Australia, Africa, North America and South America. It produced 7.16moz of gold and 539mlbs of copper in 2013. Barrick’s gold reserves by the end of 2013 stood at 104.1moz and its copper reserves were estimated at 14 billion pounds.

Barrick owns and operates three of the world’s ten biggest gold mines including the Pueblo Viejo gold mine the Dominican Republic and the Cortez gold mine in Nevada, US. Goldstrike in Nevada, Lagunas Norte in Peru and Veladero in Argentina are the other major gold mines operated by Barrick.

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Coal India Limited

The Indian state-controlled coal mining company Coal India Limited (CIL) with net sales revenue over $11bn in the year ending in December 2013 ranks as the world’s ninth biggest mining company. CIL produces about 80% of the coal production in India, which is the third biggest coal producing country.

CIL operates over 460 coal mines in 81 mining areas spread over eight Indian provincial states through seven wholly owned coal producing subsidiary companies – Eastern Coalfields Limited (ECL), Bharat Coking Coal Limited (BCCL), Central Coalfields Limited (CCL), Western Coalfields Limited (WCL), South Eastern Coalfields Limited (SECL), Northern Coalfields Limited (NCL) and Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL).

The state-owned coal mining enterprise produced 452.21mt of coal in the fiscal year ending in March 2013. Coal production during April 2013 and January 2014 stood at 366mt. SECL, followed by MCL, is the biggest coal producing subsidiary of CIL. The company was estimated to hold 21.75 billion tonnes of extractable coal reserves as of April 2010.

Fortescue Metals Group

The world’s tenth biggest mining company Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) earned revenue of $10.69bn for the year ending in December 2013. The Australian mining company is also the world’s fourth biggest iron ore producer after Vale, Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.

FMG operates predominantly in the Pilbara region of Western Australia and shipped 99.1mt of iron ore in 2013. China, the world’s biggest coal consuming country, accounted for more than 90% of Fortescue’s iron ore sales in the year.

The FMG-operated Chichester Hub containing 1.51 billion tonnes of iron ore reserves (57.6% Fe) as of June 2013 ranks as the world’s eighth biggest iron ore mine. Solomon Hub is the other notable iron ore mining operation of FMG.

NRI Energy Technology