London — Anglo American has quietly become a commodities trader. In just five years, the century-old miner assembled marketing operations that now sell more metals than the company produces. Yet the trading business gets barely a mention at presentations by Anglo executives or in analyst reports, taking a back seat to mines that produce everything from copper and platinum to diamonds. Anglo’s move into trading goes against a long-standing industry maxim: miners do not trade. For much of the last two decades, investors wanted producers’ shares to track soaring metals prices and resisted anything that might get in the way. The orthodoxy was challenged when Glencore broke into the big leagues of global mining with the acquisition of Xstrata in 2013, roughly when Anglo started building its trading unit.

Trading its own production allows Anglo to save money and get insight into metals markets, said Peter Whitcutt, the company’s head of marketing. It’s built a network that stretches...

BL Premium

This article is reserved for our subscribers.

A subscription helps you enjoy the best of our business content every day along with benefits such as exclusive Financial Times articles, Morningstar financial data, and digital access to the Sunday Times and Times Select.

Already subscribed? Simply sign in below.



Questions or problems? Email helpdesk@businesslive.co.za or call 0860 52 52 00.