China Minmetals Co has merged with China Metallurgical Group Co to create a new conglomerate bigger than the asset value of any of the three global mining giants. China Minmetals is one of China’s largest mining groups by asset value and overseas projects with operations in 34 countries and regions.

China Metallurgical, the largest metallurgical engineering contractor and service provider in China, will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Minmetals. The company will no longer be directly administered by the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council.

The new company will have 240,000 employees, 29 national-level research and development centres and institutes, and mines in Africa, Australia, Latin America and Asia. It will have mining and mine-related construction projects in more than 60 countries and regions.

China Minmetals’ chairman He Wenbo said the move would help the new company optimize its business structure and further ensure China’s resource security in the current global business and political situation.

“The new company will deploy more resources and manpower to accelerate the construction pace of developing copper, zinc and nickel mining projects in overseas markets to meet China’s demand in these specific mining resources, as well as developing its modern logistics, financial services and equipment manufacturing businesses.”

The combined sales revenue of the two Chinese companies reached 430 billion yuan (US$65.36 billion) in 2015. The move is part of the ongoing restructuring of State-owned enterprises.

China Metallurgical’s former chairman and now China Minmetals’ general manager Guo Wenqing said the merger would help the new company have a more diversified operational model that could take full advantage of the opportunities likely to come from the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as strengthen the company in its competition with established foreign rivals in overseas markets.