As SA mining companies struggle to get through the doors of North American investors to make a pitch, boards are increasingly pushing to change the way they manage their cash, debt, asset pipeline and rewards for shareholders. At the Joburg Indaba mining conference, a number of finance directors and investor relations officials spoke about the changes wrought on their business and a shift in shareholder sentiment towards resource companies, which, by and large, have had a dismal track record in capital allocation and returns for shareholders. Chairing a panel discussion, Anglo American director and former fund manager Jim Rutherford spoke of his past frustration in dealing with mining companies, particularly in the gold sector, which were obsessed with growth at the expense of investors. “The worst thing that happened for the gold industry is when the growth company concept was created in North America alongside a 0% dividend yield. The model was: give us loads of your capital and y...

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