The surge in the prices of coal and iron ore, two commodities that Anglo American wanted to exit, provided most of the firepower to pay down its debt and resume paying dividends six months sooner than expected.

The group announced a US48c/share dividend for the six months to June and a new policy of paying out 40% of underlying earnings. Shareholders were delighted, pushing the shares up almost 5% to R211.51 after the announcement.

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