Miners sharpen marketing strategies in hunt for marginal gains – by Barbara Lewis and Gavin Maguire (Daily Mail/Reuters – December 20, 2016)


LONDON/SINGAPORE, Dec 20 (Reuters) – The world’s big mining groups are sharpening their marketing strategies in a post-crisis scramble for even tiny increases in profit, seeking marginal gains much like cycling teams in the Tour de France or Olympic velodrome.

Anglo American, BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto are using varying tactics to boost profitability on commodities such as copper, iron ore and coal, as the traditional model of simply producing more is under strain and the recovery from a deep downturn remains tentative.

The one thing in common is a philosophy championed by cycling coach Dave Brailsford: achieve marginal gains in as many areas as possible and the overall performance of the rider – or in this case the business – will improve significantly.

BHP and Rio Tinto, the biggest miners, have both appointed executives this year to extract the maximum value from every stage of their business process, from the mine to the consumer.

For BHP and Anglo American, the strategies include commodity trading – although on a far smaller scale than their rival Glencore, which began life as a pure trader and says income from this business helped it through the commodity slump.

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