The world’s biggest mining companies in 2018

21 June 2018 (Last Updated January 27th, 2020 09:28)

Industry goliaths such as Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP emerged as top performing companies, thanks to recovery in global commodities market. Mining-technology.com lists the ten biggest mining companies based on 2017 revenues.

The world’s biggest mining companies in 2018
Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Glencore operates 150 mining, metallurgy and agricultural sites. Image courtesy of Jack Chambers AUS.

Glencore – $90bn

Glencore recorded revenues of $205.47bn in 2017, of which the revenue from metals and minerals segment was $80.46bn, an increase of 21% in 2016. Healthy prices and steady demand for commodities contributed to the segment’s strong performance. The company’s coal revenue increased by 43% to $9.78bn during the year.

The metals and minerals business segment includes commodities divisions for copper, zinc, lead, nickel, ferroalloys, aluminium and iron ore. It includes smelting, refining, mining, processing, blending and associated logistics operations. Glencore sold 4Mt of copper metal and concentrates, 2.8Mt of zinc metal and concentrates, 1mt of lead metal and concentrates as well as 47.7Mt of iron ore and 8.7Mt of ferroalloys in 2017.

Headquartered in Baar, Switzerland, Glencore owns and operates 150 mining, metallurgy, and agricultural sites across 50 countries and employs approximately 146,000 personnel.

Rio Tinto – $40bn

Rio Tinto’s 2017 revenue increased by 18.5% over 2016, driven by resilient commodity prices over the year and company’s portfolio of world-class assets such as Pilbara iron ore business, Queensland bauxite assets, Canadian aluminium smelters, and copper mines worldwide.

Rio Tinto operates five business segments, namely Iron Ore, Aluminium, Copper and Diamonds, Energy and Minerals and Other Operations. Its product portfolio includes aluminium, copper, diamonds, gold, industrial minerals (borates, titanium dioxide and salt), iron ore, thermal and metallurgical coal and uranium.

The group owns and operates open pit and underground mines, mills, refineries, smelters and power stations, research and service facilities. It constitutes the operations of UK-based Rio Tinto and Australia-based Rio Tinto Limited, as well as employs 46,807 personnel in 35 countries worldwide.

BHP – $34.11bn

BHP (formerly BHP Billiton) is engaged in the exploration, development and marketing of metallurgical coal, copper, uranium, nickel, zinc and potash. It recorded $34.11bn revenues from mining operations during January-December 2017, while total revenue including sales from Petroleum segment was $41.26bn for the same period.

The iron ore segment was the major contributor to BHP’s revenue, which accounted for 38% of total revenue in 2017 versus 34% in 2016. It constitutes four processing hubs and five mines in Western Australia, as well as an open pit mine, three concentrators, four pellet plants and, port facilities in Brazil.

BHP also explores, develops, produces and markets oil and gas in the Gulf of Mexico, the US, Australia, and the UK. Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, BHP employs 26,146 personnel across its mines and facilities worldwide.

Vale S.A. – $33.96bn

Vale S.A. is the world’s largest producer of iron ore and iron ore pellets, as well as nickel. It reported 23% increase in its revenues year-over-year in 2017, majorly contributed by its Ferrous minerals business segment.

The revenue from Ferrous minerals business segment was 70.8%, while Base metals segment generated 26.4% of the total revenue. The net income of the company was $5.52bn for the same period, compared to $3.97bn in 2016.

Vale is primarily involved in the exploration and production of coal, cobalt, gold, silver and platinum group metals, fertilisers, iron ore, iron ore pellets and nickel. Vale’s business segments include Ferrous minerals, coal, base metals, fertilizers (discontinued operations) and Others. Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Vale employs 73,596 personnel.

Jiangxi Copper Corporation Limited (JCCL) – $31.35bn

Jiangxi Copper Corporation Limited (JCCL), a subsidiary of Jiangxi Copper Corporation, recorded CNY204.23bn ($31.35bn) in revenues in 2017, an increase of 1.2% over 2016. A strong recovery of copper metal prices in global markets supported the performance of JCCL.

JCCL’s primary operations include copper mining and milling, smelting and processing, as well as extraction and processing of metals. The company owns and operates six mines, six copper processing plants, a copper smelter and two sulphuric acid plants. Its operations are primarily located in mainland China and Hong Kong.

The company was granted a total of 42 patents in 2017, of which 13 were invention patents. Headquartered in Guixi, Jiangxi, China, JCCL employs 20,880 people.

China Shenhua Energy Company (CSEC) – $30bn

China Shenhua Energy Company’s (CSEC) revenues from mining operations increased by 49.1% year-over-year in 2017. The total revenue including sales from power and transport business was CNY248.74bn ($38.19bn), of which sales from coal business operations accounted for more than 60%.

CSEC operates six business segments, namely coal, power, railway, port, shipping and coal chemical segments. It owns and operates coal mines in Inner Mongolia, Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces in China.

Headquartered in Beijing, CSEC is a subsidiary of Shenhua Group Corporation and, along with its branches/subsidiaries, employs 89,057 personnel.

Anglo American – $26.24bn

Significant price increases in copper, bulk commodities and some of the platinum group metals led to a 22.8% increase in Anglo American’s revenue in 2017 compared to 2016. The strong performance of diamond business operations also made a notable contribution to the company’s revenues.

Anglo American is primarily involved in exploration, mining, processing and marketing of bulk commodities, base metals and minerals, as well as precious metals and minerals. Its mining and resources portfolio includes diamonds, copper, platinum, iron ore, manganese ore and alloys, metallurgical and thermal coal, nickel, palladium, rhodium and gold.

Headquartered in London, Anglo American has mining operations in southern Africa, North and South America, as well as Australia, and employs 69,000 people worldwide.

Freeport-McMoRan – $16.4bn

Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) witnessed a 10.6% revenue growth in 2017 versus 2016, contributed by a robust performance from copper business operations. The company operates large, geologically diverse assets with substantial reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum.

FCX’s asset portfolio includes the Grasberg mine, Henderson mine, Morenci, Bagdad, Tyrone, Safford, Sierrita, El Abra and the Cerro Verde mine. The company also conducts smelting and refining operations in Spain.

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, US, Freeport-McMoRan is the world’s biggest publicly traded copper producer.

Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (CODELCO) – $14.64bn

Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile’s (CODELCO) revenue in 2017 increased by 27% compared to 2016, thanks to mounting prices for the red metal last year. CODELCO is one of the world’s biggest copper and molybdenum producers.

CODELCO is primarily engaged in the exploration, development, production and processing of mineral resources. The company operates seven mines, namely Chuquicamata, Salvador, Andina, El Teniente, Radomiro Tomic, Gabriela Mistral and Ministro Hales in Chile.

Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, CODELCO exports products such as copper concentrates, copper cathodes and wire rods, copper calcine, molybdenum, anode slime and sulfuric acid to Asia, Europe, North America and South America.

Zijin Mining Group Company Limited – $14.5bn

Zijin Mining Group Company Limited’s (Zijin Mining Group) revenues surged 19.9% in 2017 compared to 2016. It primarily explores and mines gold, copper, zinc and other mineral resources.

The company owns and operates eight gold mines, three copper mines, two integrated gold and copper mines and four other base metal mines, as well as a copper smelter, a zinc smelter and a gold refinery.

Headquartered in Longyan, Zijin Mining Group has its operational footprint in 24 provinces across China and nine foreign countries.