It is curious that just as metals prices turn down, shares in miner BHP should spring back to life. CEO Andrew Mackenzie has brought the group through the worst of its problems, including a dam disaster at its Brazilian iron ore joint venture and activist demands for BHP to rethink its entire structure. Yet rising costs should still be cause for concern. First the good news. The numbers in Tuesday’s full-year results were a tad lower than expected, but most of the damage came via extraordinary charges in the second half of the year. These included the impairment to BHP’s US onshore business, including any goodwill, plus charges for the Samarco accident in Brazil and the impact of the US tax reform on its balance sheet. Adjusted for all of those, the miner delivered profits of $8.9bn — up a third on the previous year. BHP agreed to divest its US shale oil assets to BP in July for $10.5bn. Its shares have rebounded in 2018, outrunning the FTSE all share mining index by 18%. Not even a...

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