(Reuters) - Mining companies are enjoying a bounty of cash from high metals prices and are increasingly being tempted into using it for acquisitions.
They may run the risk of repeating the disastrous cycle of oil companies that sought to become resource giants decades ago, but then ended up unwinding their takeovers when the strategy failed.
A brief history of the foray by oil companies into mining is below:
1970 - Royal Dutch Shell buys Dutch metals and mining company Billiton in a diversification drive.
1973 - Shell further diversifies into nuclear energy by forming a partnership with Gulf Oil to manufacture gas-cooled reactors and their fuels. The following year, Shell sells those interests.
1977 - Atlantic Richfield Company (ARCO) buys Anaconda Copper Mining Company.
1981 - Italy’s ENI and U.S. Occidential Petroleum form Enoxy Inc, a coal mining joint venture in Kentucky and West Virginia.
1981 - Sir Peter Walters becomes CEO of British Petroleum, who embarks on a five-year acquisition spree costing 10 billion pounds, including takeover of Purina Mills animal feed company.
1981 - Standard Oil of Ohio (SOHIO) purchases Kennecott Copper Corp.
1987 - British Petroleum buys SOHIO’s mining interests.
1989 - BP sells its mining operations to Rio Tinto Zinc for $4.3 billion, marking the end of its foray into mining.
1994 - Royal Dutch Shell sells mining assets of Billiton to South Africa’s Gencor for $1.2 billion.
2002 - Exxon Mobil sells its interests in copper producer Disputada to Anglo American for $1.3 billion.
Editing by Sitaraman Shankar