Raw materials have been coveted since time immemorial. Their deposits are spread all over the globe and, depending on the raw material, there are large or less large resources of the precious goods.
However, the global reserves of the most important raw materials, such as iron ore, coal, gold and copper, are in the hands of just a few large companies. So they dominate the market and are now, following the general recovery of the global economy, earning more than ever before.
Among the world’s largest commodity producers are many mine operators who are increasingly driving the extraction of valuable raw materials. However, even these giants are increasingly being hampered by rising overall maintenance costs, such as extraction costs or the cost of exploration.
In 2020, the following companies were the world’s largest commodity producers by sales:
– Glencore International
– BHP Billiton
– Jiangxi Copper
– Rio Tinto
Glencore International is a major Swiss corporation active primarily in the metals and minerals, energy production, and agricultural products segments.
In 2013, Glencore merged with Xstrata, the world’s largest zinc producer, resulting in huge savings in production. In 2020, Glencore International was the world’s leading commodity producer with annual sales of $142.4 billion.
With annual sales of $46.1 billion, Melbourne, Australia-based commodity producer BHP Billiton plc ranked second among the world’s largest commodity groups. In terms of stock market valuation, the Group even achieved first place among the most valuable mining companies with a market value of 186.1 billion US dollars.
BHP Billiton was formed in 2001 from the merger of the British company Billiton with the Australian Broken Hill Proprietary Company (BHP) and mainly extracts and processes minerals, crude oil and natural gas. The production sites are mainly located in Australia and North and South America.
In 2020, the Chinese company Jiangxi Copper was on a par with BHP Billiton in terms of sales. Both companies generated annual sales of $46.1 billion.
Jiangxi Copper is mainly engaged in mining, refining and processing of copper. In addition, the company is also active in the mining and processing of precious metals, as well as in sulfur chemistry and the financial and trading sectors. Jiangxi Copper’s general business activities are mainly limited to Mainland China and Hong Kong.
The British-Australian Rio Tinto Group is one of the world’s oldest mining groups and was founded back in 1873. Rio Tinto is the world’s second largest iron ore producer and also the leading aluminum producer.
In terms of revenue, Rio Tinto ranks fourth with $44.5 billion in 2020, but managed to secure second place among most valuable mining companies in the world with a market value of $135.3 billion.
Among the world’s most valuable mining groups, Brazil’s Vale ranks second with a market value of US$99.2 billion. In terms of sales, Vale ranks fifth in 2020 with $40.4 billion. The company is the largest iron ore exporter in the world and also one of the largest transport companies in Brazil.