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Summer 2001

The European Commission has approved the merger of BHP and Billiton to create the world’s largest mining company. This approval marked the last in a series of international regulatory approvals necessary for the merger.

BHP said it would soon move to close the $434 billion deal, in which ownership will be divided between BHP shareholders, who will own 58% of the mining giant, and Billiton shareholders, who will control 42% of the merged company.

BHP Billiton, which will be headquartered in Australia, will be among the world’s top producers of products like copper and coal, and will hold major stakes in diamonds and silver.

“While the new entity would become the largest custom concentrate supplier in the world, this position would not be such as to allow the merged entity to enjoy a position of market dominancy,” the European Commission said in its ruling to approve the merger.

Meanwhile, BHP’s acquisition of Canadian diamond mining company Dia Met became official after BHP met all conditions of its $423 million takeover offer. Dia Met brings to BHP an additional 29% ownership in the Ekati mine in Canada, giving BHP an 80% stake in the project. The remaining 20% is owned by two individual investors.

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