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Austerity on Anglo American's agenda

Editorial
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Anglo American is the latest miner to flag austerity measures with chief executive Mark Cutifani looking to add $US3.5 billion of value to the company by 2016.

It is expected about 37 per cent or $1.3 billion of which will come through corporate and operational savings.

The miner announced the $US1.9 billion ($AUD2.07bn) Queensland Grosvenor project which has incurred a $US250 million cost blowout will be the last of any potential coking coal expansions for the time being, The Australian reports.

"It's crazy to put volumes on a market that's sliding the wrong way," Cutifani said.

"We were a fair way down the road on Grosvenor, so we'll finish and support that project, but I'm not looking to add volumes into a market that at the moment looks to be a little oversupplied."

The decision will see four potential expansion options, including Drayton South, Dartbrook, Moranbah South and Foxleigh Plains be shelved.

"There are projects that will be pushed back, there are projects that will be sent back to the drawing board," Cutifani said.

Where the majority of the savings will come from the miner would not confirm but it is expected to be detailed in an operational review due out in November.

"We've got a lot of work to do and we've got to get our arses into gear and start making a real difference," Cutifani said.

He explained asset sales would be considered but said he did not believe extensive changes are needed.

"We do not require wholesale change to our portfolio, but we do need to become much more disciplined, more effective and more efficient to drive a step-change in delivery to extract greater value and returns for our shareholders," Cutifani said.

Anglo American will however restructure its business units, moving to consolidate operations into six groups, down from ten.

The most significant change will be the grouping of its metallurgical and thermal coal businesses which is scheduled to take effect from January 2014.

The company's business units will now consist of Kumba Iron Ore, Iron Ore Brazil, Base which includes copper, nickel, niobium and phosphates, De Beers and Platinum.

Along with the realignment, there will be a number of senior management changes including the appointment of Tony O’Neil to the position of technical group director and the retirement of Brian Beamish who was the mining and technology group director, and David Weston who headed up business performance and projects.

Cutifani said the changes are aimed at improving organisational efficiency and agility.

“These decisive changes will enable us to drive through the necessary step change in operational performance and align our organisation tightly to our strategic objectives,” he said.

“We have organised our ten current businesses into six natural groups, ensuring that we more effectively harness the operational and commercial benefits of Anglo American’s scale and diversification.”

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