Times Staff and Wire Reports

Mining Giants RTZ, CRA to Merge: London-based RTZ Corp., already the world's biggest mining company, and Australia's CRA Ltd. said they will combine their operations, creating a mining giant with assets of $7 billion. RTZ is already the world's major copper and gold producer, while CRA, of which RTZ already owns 49%, is a leading producer of iron ore, aluminum and coal. Under the agreement, subject to stockholder approval, RTZ will have a 76.5% stake in the new umbrella company, while CRA holds the remainder. The merger, scheduled to become effective Jan. 1, will not lead to restructuring charges, RTZ Chief Executive Bob Wilson said. CRA's current home base will continue to be used for managing the firm's operations in Melbourne, Australia, and Asia.

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