Anglo American to cut 35 percent of global workforce amid massive writedown
Anglo American is facing a steep uphill battle in 2015 and beyond as the mining company reported a $3 billion loss for the first half of the year. The news will force the global miner to cut 53,000 jobs from its workforce, including 6,000 office jobs, as well as sell upwards of 15 assets.
“The first six months of 2015 saw considerable price decreases for our products amidst a volatile market environment and economic uncertainty in certain key markets,” said Anglo American CEO Mark Cutifani.
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The miner reported a half-year profit before tax of $1.9 billion, 36 percent less than in the same period last year. Plunging commodity prices, including a one-time charge of $3.5 billion and $2.9 billion from a write-down on the value of Anglo’s Minas-Rio iron ore project in Brazil, have caused havoc among the mining firm.
Anglo American has used sales and closures to cut its portfolio from 68 mines to 55 mines within the past 18 months. It plans to further reduce its assets to 40, helping to generate at least $3 billion in proceeds from the sales.
“We will deliver on the $3 billion. Where we ultimately get it will depend on the market and the opportunities at the time,” Mr Cutifani said. “We will not sell high quality assets or assets we consider to be core to the business to cover the dividend . . . We would not look at cutting into the core of the business.”
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Anglo American is also expected to cut capital expenditure, targeting an additional reduction of $1 billion by the end of 2016.
"We have cut production and closed mines in coal in Canada and Australia in particular. We’ve shut three platinum shafts, cutting 24 percent of our own mine production and we’ve pulled back production guidance in diamonds,” said Cutifani.
"We are responding to the market and making the changes, unlike some who talk about it but don’t do that much."
In addition to job cuts and asset sales, Anglo is set to move out of its fancy headquarters in central London in an effort to save money.
“We are downsizing, we think it is appropriate . . . St James is a very expensive place to reside if you are mining company,” Mr Cutifani said.
Vale invests $150mn to extend life of Manitoba operations
Vale has announced a $150mn CAD investment to extend current mining activities in Thompson, Manitoba by 10 years while aggressive exploration drilling of known orebodies holds the promise of mining well past 2040.
Global energy transition is boosting the market for nickel
The Thompson Mine Expansion is a two-phase project. The announcement represents Phase 1 and includes critical infrastructure such as new ventilation raises and fans, increased backfill capacity and additional power distribution. The changes are forecast to improve current production by 30%.
“This is the largest single investment we have made in our Thompson operations in the past two decades,” said Mark Travers, Executive Vice-President for Base Metals with Vale. “It is significant news for our employees, for the Thompson community and for the Province of Manitoba.
“The global movement to electric vehicles, renewable energies and carbon reduction has shone a welcome spotlight on nickel – positioning the metal we mine as a key contributor to a greener future and boosting world demand. We are proud that Thompson can be part of that future and part of the low carbon solution.”
Vale continues drilling program at Manitoba
Coupled with today’s announcement, Vale is continuing an extensive drilling program to further define known orebodies and search for new mineralization.
“This $150mn investment is just one part of our ambitious Thompson turnaround story. It is an indicator of our confidence in a long future for the Thompson operations,” added Dino Otranto, Chief Operating Officer for Vale’s North Atlantic Base Metals operations.
“Active collaboration between our design team, technical services, USW Local 6166, and our entire Thompson workforce has delivered a safe, efficient and fit-for-purpose plan that will enable us to extract the Thompson nickel resources for many years to come.”
The Thompson orebody was first discovered in 1956 by Vale (then known as Inco) following the adoption of new exploration technology and the largest exploration program to-date in the company’s history. Mining of the Thompson orebody began in 1961.
“We see the lighting of a path forward to a sustainable and prosperous future for Vale Base Metals in Manitoba,” said Gary Annett, General Manager of Vale’s Manitoba Operations.