Rio Tinto is the world’s third largest company in the exploration of mining and processing of mineral resources found in the earth’s crust (Simpkins, 2008). Rio Tinto company’s operations provide essential minerals and metals worldwide that are involved in meeting global needs and raising living standards. The main reason why Rio Tinto has been successful among many mining companies that have grown significantly in the recent past is the increase in demand for primary resources, mainly from developing economies.

To set itself among the world’s top three leaders in the field, Rio Tinto has undertaken risky strategies. These, according to the economic information have paid off. To begin with, the merger between RTZ (The Rio Tinto Zinc Corporation) and CRA (Conzinc RioTinto of Australia) in 1962 formed a formidable union. The two companies had complementary portfolios. RTZ had global and financial history while CRA had unmatched operating, technological and exploration skills. Both companies also had high standing social and environmental competencies.

Additionally, task forces proposed the merger to avoid an impending clash of interests over the numerous market opportunities that were present outside Australia. They came to an agreement that working together was better for the two companies. This was necessary for profits to stay up, according to (Ericsson, 2008).

Rio Tinto is also leading the pack with latest technologies such as the AP60 aluminium reduction technique. This is a world scale development used in Quebec. Another contributor to Rio Tinto’s success lies in the fact that it promotes strong local identities and has a management devolution philosophy. This allows trade-off of responsibility for accountability in the workplace.

Comparison between BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto

BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are the leaders in the mining, exploration and processing of minerals of the earth. (Eckbo, 1983) Despite differences in geographical locations, many similarities exist between them.

BHP Billiton

Rio Tinto


iron ore, manganese and metallurgical coal, as well as, non-ferrous materials such as, aluminums, nickel, copper, potash and diamonds.

iron ore, manganese and metallurgical coal. Energy such as uranium and coal, while industrial minerals include titanium oxide, talc, salt and zircon.

Notable Environmental conservation efforts

Centre for environmental Leadership in Business program

Frog Conservation project in-conjunction with WWF Australia.


To create long-term value for the shareholders. It achieves this through natural resource discovery, mining and processing before apportioning them into the Customer Sector Groups (CSGs). It also develops customer and market-focused solutions through their marketing arm.

To maximise the long term return to shareholders by finding, mining and processing metal and mineral resources across the globe.

Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are highly alike, since their products are basic to industries and their influence to customers is immense. (HSBC, 2010).

The following table shows revenue earnings for the two major mining companies in 2010.

$ (billion)

Adjusted EBITDA margin (%)

Rio Tinto

BHP Billiton

(PWC, 2011)

Rio Tinto took top spot from BHP Billiton which was the top earner the previous year


Eckbo, E.B (1983) Horizontal mergers collusion and Stockholder wealth. Journal of Financial Economics, Vol 11, P 241-243.

Ericsson, M (2008). More M&A activity inevitable.

HSBC .(2010) Report: Natural Resources & Energy

Europe Metals & Mining

Panguna. (1997). Plunder of Bougainville. Mining Monitor (MM),

Simpkins, J. (2008). Iron ore proves to be the most coveted commodity in the pacific, Money Morning

Price Water House Coopers. (2011) Mine: The game has changed