It's challenging trying to keep up with events at the world's biggest diversified miner, Australia-based BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP) these days.

As you've likely noted, BHP is soaking up attention with its long-standing iron ore joint venture plans with Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP) and its $39 billion effort to acquire Potash Corp. (NYSE: POT). For 16 months now, BHP and Rio have been seeking approval for a combination of their respective iron ore operations in Western Australia.

That effort follows a lengthy courtship wherein BHP tried to acquire its rival, only to skedaddle when commodity prices plummeted. Now the iron ore joint venture still has to garner regulatory approval from about a half-dozen entities, including Australia, the European Union, and Japan.

While talk of dismantling the venture plans frankly is growing, as recently as this weekend a Rio Tinto executive reiterated those plans remain alive. As Sam Walsh, head of the firms iron-ore operations, noted: The venture would likely result in synergies of about $10 billion for the pair, and so discarding it wouldn't come easily. But if a formal deal were to be scuttled, the companies likely could work together in a variety of ways -- such as transporting Rio's ore on BHP's rail lines or reducing the number of iron ore blends produced by the pair -- and still salvage lots of the expected deal's synergies.

There appears to be more hope for BHP's $130 per share effort to acquire Potash Corp. Last week, a report commissioned by the province of Saskatchewan said a BHP purchase of the company could, despite a potential revenue reduction, benefit the province. Conversely, the report expressed far more concern about a talked-about rival bid from China's state-owned chemical company, Sinochem.

It's hard for me to see how BHP can come out a loser from its active pace. Sure, it might have to up the ante for Potash Corp. somewhat, but I'll be surprised -- even with Potash reportedly preparing break-up plans to thwart its suitor -- if the acquisition ultimately is unsuccessful.  

Even if Potash Corp. is able to wriggle free from BHP, I've long looked at Freeport-McMoRan (NYSE: FCX), the U.S.-based producer of copper, gold, and molybdenum, as having the potential to create a gleam in BHP's eye. Pure speculation on my part here, but you might even toss in aluminum manufacturer Alcoa (NYSE: AA) or Canada's diversified miner Teck Resources (NYSE: TCK) as "maybe" targets of the Aussie company. All in all, BHP appears to have lots of available options.

So, the last question involves why Fools wouldn't be well-advised by the suggestion to liberally sprinkle shares of BHP into their portfolios.

Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned. Are you a little squeamish about today's market? Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

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