The combined group would be the world's largest producer of zinc, control just under a third of the coal used for power stations and trade wheat, sugar and oil in more than 40 countries around the world, putting it at the centre of the global trade in vital commodities.
Is this a good idea? Tony Blair thinks so. And so does pretty much everyone involved, provided the terms are right for them, about which some metaphorical blood is likely to be spilt. Money talks, but not always in a single language. Our ex-Prime Minister is perhaps more fluent among the state-backed investment money of the Qataris and the quasi-state money of large American banks (especially as J P Morgan pays him about $2 million a year for his advice and influence), where the revolving door between senior corporate and senior government posts is never stationary. Perhaps the hard-core accents of Glencore and Xstrata are just a little different.