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BHP vs Rio hinges on investors' commodity choice

BHP Billiton more exposed to oil and coking coal, while Rio Tinto's iron ore business yields higher profit margins

Rio Tinto's Port Dampier iron ore operations in Western Australia's Pilbara region. Rio Tinto is widely regarded as the better pick of the world's top mining companies, with more analysts rating it a "buy" than BHP Billiton, according to Reuters data.


THE backgrounds of the leaders of the world's top mining companies illustrate the choice facing investors, with BHP Billiton's chief executive having worked in the oil industry and Rio Tinto's new boss more focused on copper.

After aggressive cost-cutting and asset sales to