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There'll always be a certain romance in the story of the more than 100-year-old Anglo American, its founding family, and its relationship with the South African tale that's still being written. Along with Eskom, it has been arguably the most important company in the industrialisation of this country. Today, while we all fret about the future of the younger, 1923-founded electricity firm, it wasn't long ago that we were wondering whether Anglo would reach its centenary. The Ernest Oppenheimer-founded mining company emerged battered and bruised after the last global recession, which saw commodity prices plummet from their record highs. While China's insatiable appetite for raw materials would remain to offset the groggy growth plaguing certain geographies in the West, the good old days of the "super-commodity cycle" were over. Since then, there have been many questions about Anglo's future, especially as it is — more than any other global mining giant — largely exposed to the story of...

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