It takes time to build an empire. Rome, we know, wasn’t built in a day — try a millennium. And in mining, it often takes more than a century to build a powerhouse. BHP Billiton, for example, was incorporated as Broken Hill Proprietary in 1885 to mine silver and lead in Australia, before growing to become the world’s largest mining company.

And it was in 1917 that Ernest Oppenheimer established Anglo American, the SA gold mining company that today is a diversified multinational worth R740bn...

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