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BHP Billiton was formed from two large mineral resource companies: the Australian Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited and the Anglo-Dutch Billiton plc.
The new logo was a literal metaphor for the merger of the two companies, presented as a set of two metallic blobs periodically merging creating a new entity. The logo at the time cost around $800,000 to produce at the time. While this icon's meaning overtime has become more moot, it still is one of the most prominent and recognisable symbols of the mining business.