STORY: Mining company Anglo American has rejected BHP Group's last ditch request for more time to discuss a $49 billion takeover offer.

And that decision on Wednesday (May 29) likely brings to an end a five-week pursuit by the bigger rival.

Anglo had granted BHP a one-week extension to submit a binding offer, after rejecting three takeover proposals.

Its concerns have been over the structure of the proposed deal - namely the unbundling of its South African platinum and iron ore units before the takeover.

Anglo was founded in Johannesburg more than a century ago and is synonymous with South African mining.

It employs 40,000 South Africans.

Any withdrawal would be a further economic blow to a country where jobs and investment in the mining sector have been cut as platinum falls out of favor.

South Africans were voting in a general election on Wednesday in which anger over high unemployment and a stagnant economy have been key issues.

JP Morgan analysts have estimated a takeover of Anglo by BHP could lead to outflows of $4.3 billion from South Africa and weaken the rand.

BHP had said it needed more time to engage with Anglo, while outlining its commitment to minimize regulatory risk in South Africa.

That included job security for employees in the country.

BHP also said it would shoulder the cost of increased South African employee ownership that is expected to be required in any demerger.

But Anglo signaled those commitments were not enough.

The London-listed miner has also outlined its own plan to divest less profitable assets and focus on expanding copper output.