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ICMM: Trends in the Industry

October 21, 2012 Comments off

The International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) published 2 new reports this week:

Trends in the Mining and Metals Industry

This 16-summary of where the industry is coming from and where it is going mainly gives an interesting perspective on geographic developments in the mining industry. The report shows how center of mining activity has shifted from Europe, via the US, to the BRIC countries and new frontiers. At the same time the report illustrates how a large part of processing capacity still is located in the developed world, though China’s processing surge is instrumental in changing this situation.

The report in summary:

  • Center of mining is shifting to new frontiers, including BRIC countries;
  • Iron ore, gold, and copper continue to account for roughly two-thirds of value of global mined metals;
  • Large companies are responsible for an increasing share of global production;
  • With lower average ore grades, bulk open-pit mining is more and more the mining method of choice;
  • Human resource challenges are becoming restrictive;
  • China-led nationalized mining is leading to a global increased in state participation in mining companies.

The role of mining in National Economies

This report presents a Mineral Contribution Index (MCI), ranking countries’ dependency on the mineral industry. The index includes:

  • The percentage contribution of the mineral industry to export value;
  • The change in this contribution over a 5 year period;
  • The mineral production value as percentage of GDP.

The top 25 countries according to the ranking with their respective scores are displayed below.

BHP results underline financial strength

August 25, 2010 2 comments

“BHP Billiton, the Anglo-Australian miner that last week launched a $39bn hostile bid for Canada’s PotashCorp, has reported its second best full-year net profit on record fuelled by strong growth in earnings from its petroleum and base metals operations.

The Melbourne-based miner, the world’s biggest, underlined its financial clout when it said on Wednesday that it generated $17.9bn in cash flow from its operations, with net debt falling to $3.3bn and a gearing ratio of 6 per cent.

Profits on a pre-tax basis rose from $11.6bn to $19.6bn in the year ended June on revenues that increased from $50.2bn to $52.8bn. After-tax profits grew from $5.9bn to $12.7bn, falling short of forecasts of around $13.3bn.”

Source: Financial Times, August 24, 2010

Observations:

  • BHP has managed to increase output by $2.9bln while improving operating performance by $0.3bln. The improvement vs. 2009 is mainly explained by higher copper, base metals & petroleum margins. Revenues and profits do not yet come close to pre-downturn levels, mainly because of lower iron ore prices in the second half of 2009.
  • The published project pipeline shows that the Navajo St. Energy Coal project has been dropped in the feasibility stage in the past year.

Implications:

  • Main take-away from the executives’ Outlook presentation is the expected slowing of government-driven growth in China and Europe. The board appears to be trying to lower expectations for next year’s results.
  • The net gearing of the company of 6% is stressed to demonstrate the ability to increase debt in order to purchase PotashCorp. This figure is the most positive leverage-related ratio from the balance sheet. The regular debt-to-equity ratio (debt/equity) is 80% and will exceed 100% after the acquisition.

©2010 | Wilfred Visser | thebusinessofmining.com

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