World’s biggest mining companies continue to thrive in 2018: PwC report

The world’s 40 largest mining companies enjoyed another year of steady growth in 2018, according to global auditing firm PwC’s annual industry review, titled Mine 2019 report: Resourcing the future.

PwC said that the top 40 consolidated on a stellar performance in 2017, with group revenue increasing by 8% and production rising by 2%. They also boosted cash flows, paid down debt and provided a record US$43 billion dividend return to shareholders.

There was also a significant jump in share buybacks to $15 billion, compared to $4 billion in 2017, with Rio Tinto and BHP accounting for 70% of the total activity returning proceeds of non-core disposals to shareholders.

However, investor sentiment towards the sector remained low, with the total market capitalisation of the top 40 mining firms falling 18% to $757 billion over 2018.

“Mining requires more than good financial performance to continue to create and realise value in a sustainable manner,” said PwC Australia mining leader Chris Dodd.

“We believe that the market has reservations about the mining industry’s ability to respond to the risks and uncertainties of a changing world.

“With strong balance sheets and cash flows, now is the time for the top 40 to more actively address the issues weighing down market values: Climate change, shifting consumer sentiment, and technology adoption.”