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Investing in Diversified Mining Companies

One avenue for opening up your portfolio to metals is to invest in diversified mining companies. These operations are involved in all aspects of the metals production process, from excavation of metals to transformation of these metals into finished products that are then distributed to consumers. Investing in a mining company gives you exposure not only to a wide variety of metals, but also to the whole mining supply chain.

  • BHP Billiton is one of the larger mining companies in the world. Headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, it has mining operations in more than 25 countries including Australia, Canada, the United States, South Africa, and Papua New Guinea. The company processes a large number of metals, including aluminum, copper, silver, and iron; it also has small oil and natural gas operations in Algeria and Pakistan. The company is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the symbol BHP.

    In recent years, BHP Billiton has benefited handsomely from the increasing prices of commodities such as copper and aluminum. As a result, the company's profit increased by a staggering 108 percent between 2005 and 2006.

  • Rio Tinto was founded in 1873 by the Rothschild banking family to mine ore deposits in Spain. Today, Rio Tinto boasts operations in Africa, Australia, Europe, the Pacific Rim, North America, and South America. The company is involved in the production of a number of commodities, including iron ore, copper, aluminum, and titanium. In addition, Rio Tinto has interests in diamonds, manufacturing almost 30 percent of global natural diamonds, processed primarily through its mining activities in Australia.

    Rio Tinto trades on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) under the ticker symbol RTP.

  • Anglo American PLC began mining gold in South Africa in 1917. Ever since, it has played an important role in the development of South Africa’s gold mining industry. Today, Anglo American has operations in all four corners of the globe and operates in more than 20 countries. It is involved in the production and distribution of a wide array of metals, minerals, and natural resources including gold, silver, and platinum but also diamonds and paper packaging. (It owns 45 percent of De Beers, the diamond company.)

    The company is listed in the London Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol AAL. In addition, it has American Depository Receipts listed in the NASDAQ National Market that trade under the symbol AAUK.

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