Five days after he ceased to be CEO of Anglo American, Mark Cutifani was about R200m poorer than he had been at his departure. The Anglo share price hit a record high of R804 on the day of the group’s AGM, his last after nine years at the top. By the end of last week the share had slumped to R703.47 and was heading lower.

The sharp drop had little to do with Cutifani, and it was certainly not an expression of concern by the market about the calibre of his successor, Duncan Wanblad. Covid-related absences and high rainfall in SA and Brazil had knocked production by 10% in the three months to end-March. Perhaps more worrying, costs were heading back upwards. Again, it had little to do with Cutifani or his replacement. It was down to currency fluctuations and inflationary pressures. Then came news that the Chilean environmental authorities had recommended rejection of a permit application to extend the life of one of Anglo’s copper mines...

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