Anglo American chief executive Cynthia Carroll.

London - Anglo American reported a loss for 2012 after writing down $4 billion from the value of its Minas-Rio iron-ore project in Brazil.

The net loss was $1.49 billion in 2012 compared with net income of $6.17 billion a year earlier, Anglo American said in a statement today.

Underlying earnings declined to $2.84 billion, or $2.26 a share, from $6.12 billion, or $5.06.

Chief executive Cynthia Carroll quit in October after cost blowouts at Minas-Rio.

Anglo last month raised its spending for the mine for a sixth time to $8.8 billion.

The $5.1 billion acquisition of the project was Carroll’s most expensive bet in the more than five years before she resigned.

AngloGold Ashanti chief executive Mark Cutifani replaces her in April.

Anglo’s performance was “a result of markedly weaker commodity prices, ongoing cost pressures and an operating loss in our platinum business,” Carroll said in the statement.

Sales fell 10 percent to $32.8 billion, beating the $30.3 billion average estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Anglo will pay a dividend of 53 cents, up 15 percent.

Iron-ore and platinum output declined last year on strikes in South Africa, while coal and copper rose, Anglo said January 25.

Output at its Kumba Iron Ore unit fell 19 percent to 9 million metric tons, mainly because of a walkout at the Sishen mine.

Anglo’s equivalent refined platinum output, smelted from mined ore and bought metal-in-concentrate, slid 29 percent to 416,000 ounces on halts at the Rustenburg, Amandelbult and Union mines.


Mine Strikes


Strikes that started in South African platinum mines in August spread to gold, coal and iron-ore operations, with about 120,000 workers downing tools across the industry at the peak of the unrest, according to the country’s Chamber of Mines.

Kumba on February 12 said full-year profit slumped 28 percent to 12.2 billion rand ($1.4 billion) as costs climbed, output decreased and prices declined.

Anglo American Platinum on February 4 posted a loss of 1.47 billion rand for 2012 and kept its dividend suspended.

The company last month proposed closing four shafts to cut costs and stem losses after the strikes.

The plan to cut about 7 percent of global output was put on hold after criticism from the government.

The delay allows for talks with unions and the department of mineral resources.

Anglo advanced 2.2 percent to 281.5 rand in Johannesburg trading. - Bloomberg