The world’s 40 largest mining companies were expected to increase returns to shareholders to record levels during 2018 despite spending more on their assets to make up for the past few lean years, PwC said in its Mine 2018 report. Dividends paid by the top 40 global mining companies by market capitalisation grew 125% to $36bn in 2017 from the previous year on the back of a 23% increase in revenue to $600bn, creating a problem with governments and other stakeholders wanting to grab a slice, said Andries Rossouw, a partner at PwC’s energy and mining assurance group. "For 2018 we forecast a quite substantial increase in dividends and distributions to shareholders, including share buy-backs. We expect it to be at record levels," Rossouw said. He noted that the market capitalisation of the 40 companies had swollen 30% to $926bn during 2017.

Of the 40 companies, there was a strong presence of Chinese, Australian, Canadian and UK-based companies. Only two had listings in SA, being An...

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