In PricewaterhouseCoopers latest Mine:PwC report, it outlines how the industry has wasted much of the boom, with the top forty miners squandering around US$427 billion since 2010.
The report unveiled that of the US$623 billion in capital expenditure invested over the five year period from 2010 to 2015, nearly 32 per cent, or US$199 billion, was booked as impairments.
PwC blamed a “lack of capital discipline”.
It went on to state all the ground gained during the boom was effectively negated, adding that “the collapse was all the more painful for producers in 2015 because the value destruction was perceived as self-inflicted”.
WoodMac’s coal analyst Andy Roberts was more succinct for the reasons behind the wasting of the boom: “Too much stimulus. Too little demand. A suspension of reason.”
However, despite this PwC believes the industry has taken action to right the mistakes of the past five years.
“A positive focus on cost reduction resulting in a 17 per cent drop in operating costs against a backdrop of higher production volumes and lower input costs – an impressive achievement given the production increases seen during 2015.”
This has been driven by cost-cutting exercises by the majors, such as BHP, Rio Tinto, Anglo American (which has taken some of the most drastic measures), Vale, and Fortescue.
Below Australian Mining has collected together the top 40 miners globally, showing who is the largest of them all, and which companies are still performing despite the downturn.
Unsurprisingly, Australia and China feature heavily on the list.