This year’s group of mining companies increased production, boosted cash flow, paid down debt, and provided returns to shareholders at near record highs. And there was still cash left to increase capital expenditure for the first time in five years. All while delivering significant value to stakeholders (employees, governments and communities), as well as supplying raw materials underpinning global economic growth. The benefits of mining have flowed far and wide.
Stakeholders, however, are still concerned for the industry. They challenge mining's position on vital issues such as safety, the environment, technology and consumer engagement. So despite this year's stellar performance, both investors and consumers are down on the brand of mining. They question whether the industry can responsibly create sustainable value for all stakeholders. Discrete events, such as safety or environmental incidents, have contributed to these challenges.
The mining industry has a window of opportunity over the next few years, created by strong operating fundamentals, to adapt to the growing and changing expectations of stakeholders. By utilising technology to operate safely and more efficiently, addressing global concerns, and maintaining a disciplined strategy to create ongoing value for its stakeholders, the industry can forge a better future for all beneficiaries of mining – industry, consumers, communities and other stakeholders.
The Top 40 continued to see steady growth in revenue and profitability, as predicted in our forecast last year. Dividends to shareholders are at an all-time high and balance sheets are strong.
Partner, Global Consulting Mining Leader, PwC Australia
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