Capital expenditure by the top 40 companies in the global mining industry has hit its lowest point in at least 15 years, professional services firm PwC says in its latest annual mining survey. It expected the outlook for 2017 to be similar, casting doubt on future growth in mineral supplies, PwC said. The survey of the world’s top 40 mining firms by market capitalisation shows capex fell to $49bn in 2016, down from $138bn in 2012, with at least half of 2016’s spending going towards sustaining existing operations rather than growth. A large amount of money was spent at the top of the commodity cycle, particularly on iron-ore projects, which were now coming into production, PwC assurance partner Andries Rossouw said. "There was overinvestment at the top of the cycle," he said on the sidelines of the Junior Indaba mining conference in Johannesburg. "The reality is that if we don’t invest now, we won’t be able to increase production in the future. That’s the nature of the beast and why ...

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