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This Company Makes an Obscene Amount of Money

Tim Hanson
February 20, 2011

Do you know how much money BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP  ) made in the first half of its fiscal year? If you woke up in Australia this week, you probably do. That's because the business press here can't stop repeating that the company made a record $10.5 billion, putting the mining giant on track to make more than $23 billion during 2011.

That's newsworthy not only because it's a lot of money but also because it comes on the heels of BHP's successful effort to defeat a proposed windfall-profits tax on miners. As you can imagine, some Australians are now calling on their government to revisit that plan.

The mining industry here is a strong lobby, so the government will surely have a fight on its hands if it tries to revisit the compromise it reached with the miners. Yet the politics surrounding BHP's earnings are not as interesting to me as the opportunities BHP stands ready to create in Australia. That's because BHP is forecasting rising global dema