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BHP Billiton Company Overview - Research Paper Example

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The current paper highlights that the industries involved in the business of extraction of natural resources are often termed as Extractive Industries and include oil, gas, and mining industries. This report analyses the typical characteristics of this industry. …
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BHP Billiton Company Overview
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Download file to see previous pages Apart from some specific small scale mining especially in high-value low volume minerals, extraction of mineral resources usually requires large scale, capital intensive investments, Most projects are technologically challenging and investments are characterized by high degree of uncertainty and long gestation periods. In most developing countries except China and India, the extraction industry seems to be export focused with a significant scope of revenue creation but the limited scope of employment generation. Mineral extraction also involves a considerable threat to an ecosystem and could have adverse social implications. Finally, mineral resources are non-renewable and often of strategic, geopolitical importance. As a result, governmental influence tends to be high, which can interfere with the business operations.
Owing to the huge capital investments required for extraction, this market has seen the emergence of state-owned enterprises, which can depend on the government for the huge capital investments that they incur. Not all developing and least developed countries can afford the high capital investment. Therefore, this market is also characterized by the presence of large multinational corporations (MNCs), which have the financial power to make huge financial commitments.
Exploration activities for minerals can not only take up long gestation periods, but can also result in unsuccessful attempts. Even after successful exploration, the investor needs to face the technical risk (involved in extraction at sometimes difficult sites), and market risk (demand and supply risks), political risks (nationalization). Political risks can be higher if the host country has a weal constitutional framework. This is a risky business and the investor should have the expertise necessary to handle such risks. Once the investment is committed, the cost of the pullout is very high (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development). The largest extractive company, BHP Billiton was chosen as the subject of this case study. Its mission, marketing strategies are explored in the subsequent sections.
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