The Move to Greater Value Creation
In 1917, mining companies accounted for six of the top US corporations by asset value. By 1948 there were only three in the top group and by 1994 there were none.
Compared to other industries, mining companies are poor at creating shareholder value over the long term. The S&P 500 Index reveals that for the 1982-1998 period the average annual shareholder return was 14%. The Morgan Stanley index of nonferrous metals shows a much lower figure—an averaged return of only 2% over the same 16 years.
It is generally agreed that a high percentage of the industry’s projects and acquisitions do not meet the cost of capital. There is an increasing reluctance to commit hard-won capital to operations that do not contribute quickly to the bottom line.