The reason investors buy shares in diversified mining companies is to lower the risk presented by volatile and cyclical commodity markets. That approach, however, seems to be suffering something of an identity crisis, judging from Anglo American CEO Duncan Wanblad’s bold declaration in February.

Closing the presentation of the group’s 2023 results, which showed that basic earnings fell a disappointing 58%, he said he was determined to “once and for all” transform Anglo into a “through-the-cycle” earnings generator. Anglo is more than a century old, but Wanblad probably has in mind the past two years, during which he was the group’s CEO. In this time Anglo has gone from sector leader to laggard. Barclays Capital calculates that the mining group is trading at a 35% discount to the sum of the parts...

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