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Facebook’s plans to go public are a headline grabber, but in terms of fundamental global economic impact, the proposed US$90 billion merger between two Zug, Switzerland-based firms—mining giant Xstrata and premier global commodity trader Glencore—deserves much closer attention. People can live well without a Facebook account, but life gets a lot harder if prices for the copper that brings power to their computer suddenly climb when a large miner/trader acquires the potential capacity to squeeze the market. Combining and integrating the two firms’ global network of mines, smelters, warehouses, transportation assets, and savvy traders creates a range of opportunities for the new company to use its market intelligence and sheer size to extract premium prices from consumers of the vital raw materials it produces. Chinese commodity buyers could face a…