Our history

Our History

For over 130 years, we have been developing and contributing to industry, communities and economies around the world.

Formed from a merger between BHP and Billiton, we value our heritage and the strong foundations on which our company is built. From two small mining companies founded in the mid-1800s, we are now a world leader in the diversified resources industry.

Our History

Iron Ore in the Pilbara

Iron ore – the key ingredient required to make steel – is a building block of nations. It has been integral to remarkable global growth and development and it has been a key pillar of BHP Billiton in Australia for over 65 years, learn about the history of iron ore in Western Australia in Our History: Iron Ore in the Pilbara (PDF 916 kb).

The history of BHP

Broken Hill Proprietary’s rich history began in a silver, lead and zinc mine in Broken Hill, Australia. Incorporated in 1885, BHP engaged in the discovery, development, production and marketing of iron ore, copper, oil and gas, diamonds, silver, lead, zinc and a range of other natural resources. BHP was also a market leader in value-added flat steel products.

To find out more about the history of BHP and Billiton before 2001, read the BHP Billiton Chronology (PDF 1.6 MB).

The history of Billiton

Billiton’s roots trace back to 1851 and a tin mine on a little known island in Indonesia, Billiton (Belitung) island. Billiton became a global leader in the metals and mining sector and a major producer of aluminium and alumina, chrome and manganese ores and alloys, steaming coal, nickel and titanium minerals. Billiton also developed a substantial and growing copper portfolio.

To find out more about the history of BHP and Billiton before 2001, read the BHP Billiton Chronology (PDF 1.6 MB).