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29 January 2013updated 22 Oct 2020 3:55pm

Anglo American’s write down – not quite as bad as Rio Tinto’s

Miner setback.

By New Statesman

Seems like all the mining giants are suffering write-downs at the moment. Earlier this month it was Rio Tinto, and now it’s Anglo American, which has written down the value of its Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil by $4bn.

This looks odd against the positive production figures that both companies posted in the last quarter – but the mining industry is cyclical – and the move anticipates a bit of a tougher season.

So far only Rio Tinto have had to get rid of their chief exec though: their mistake  – a $3bn writedown on an African coal project – was just too big.
Cynthia Carroll of Anglo American is unlikely to see the same fate as Tom Albanese. Here’s the FT:

Ms Carroll’s mistake over Minas Rio in Brazil was more forgivable than Mr Albanese’s. She underestimated the ability of Brazilian bureaucracy to delay development work. But the mine remains a valuable asset, expected to produce ore at a cash cost of $30 a tonne compared with a forecast 2013 average sale price of $120. Mr Albanese overestimated the quality of Rio’s coal reserve in Mozambique. That undercut his credibility as a miner.

But it’s the season to be cautious. BHP have written down asset values, and there is speculation that Xtrata could be on its way.

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