EU approves BHP-Billiton merger

The European Commission said on Thursday it had approved the US$34 billion merger of Australia’s BHP Ltd and London-listed South African miner Billiton Plc , clearing the way to creating the world’s largest diversified mining firm, Reuters reported.

As expected, the European Commission sanctioned the deal, which has already been approved by both companies’ shareholders and, with conditions, by the Australian government.

`’Although both companies have significant copper mining activities, the transaction does not give rise to any competition concerns in Europe,” the Commission said in a statement, Reuters reported.

BHP-Billiton will be among the world’s top producers of aluminum and coal as well as copper, ferro-alloys, iron ore and titanium minerals. It will also have major interests in oil and gas, nickel, diamonds and silver.

The Australian government approved the merger last week, but said it would strictly enforce conditions intended to keep the combined mining giant Australian.