Our history

​For over 150 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.

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.  Find out more about Billiton’s history prior to the merger with BHP in our Billiton chronology.

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 prior to the merger with Billiton, read our BHP chronology.

The merger of two great companies

BHP and Billiton merged in June 2001 becoming one of the world’s largest diversified resources company.  We are among the world’s largest producers of major commodities, including aluminium, coal, copper, iron ore, manganese, nickel, silver and uranium, and have substantial interests in oil and gas.  To find out about our achievements since the merger, read our BHP Billiton chronology.

150 years of history

In 2010, we celebrated our 150th anniversary and three significant milestones: Billiton's establishment on 28 October 1860, BHP's incorporation on 13 August 1885 and BHP Billiton's listing on the Australian and London Stock Exchanges on 29 June 2001.  By building on our past and combining the assets of each company with the very best of our skills and people, BHP Billiton is ideally placed to continue to lead the resources industry into the future.