Global miner Anglo American saw its underlying earnings for last year halve from 2011 as profits fell in all parts of its business.
It also had to write off three billion euros from the value of its flagship Minas Rio iron ore project in Brazil.
The company promised it would be more cautious in its spending in future but departing chief executive Cynthia Carroll said she had no regrets, and defended the purchase of Minas Rio where delays and permit troubles have dramatically driven up costs.
South African strikes, particularly at platinum mines, have been a large part of Anglo’s troubles. Earlier this month its platinum unit posted its first ever annual loss.
‘Just doing my job’
Questioned about Minas Rio, Carroll, who departs at the end of next month to be replaced by Australian Mark Cutifani, said she had simply been doing her job.
“We did not go after a huge acquisition, or an enormous company. We did not have attempted acquisitions and then failed acquisitions, like some of our competitors. What we did do, and this was the mandate I was given when I arrived, was to pursue iron ore,” she told reporters.
“Minas Rio is a resource that has increased fourfold since we have gone into it and it is going to be bigger. The quality of this resource is phenomenal.”
Carroll promised the company had heard shareholders’ concerns and would proceed with caution, adding partnerships would be considered for complex, greenfield projects.
“We will have to be that much more selective about where we are going to spend our money. The shareholders have spoken, it is clear they are looking at the very short term and we have to strike the right balance,” she told analysts.
The miner also sought to pacify investors with a 15 percent increase in its dividend, which helped lift its shares.