As the end of the 2015 approaches, both investors and mining companies are restructuring their portfolios, either via tax-loss selling through struggling investor portfolios, or cutbacks on production and spending by miners. This week saw a number of mining companies announce restructuring plans. This included Anglo American (AAL-LON), who announced it would cut approximately two-thirds of its workforce, sell a number of its assets, and cut its annual dividend to shareholders.

Similar measures were also announced by Freeport McMoRan (FCX-NYSE) days later. South32 (S32-ASX), BHP Billiton’s (BHP-ASX) spin-off company, announced it would lay-off approximately 400 workers from its African manganese operations; this followed BHP Billiton’s announcement last week to cut 36% of the workforce at its Olympic Dam operation in South Australia. Rio Tinto (RIO-LON) was another that announced changes, with further cut-backs on capital spending expected in 2016.

As major and junior miners alike struggle under the weight of depressed commodity prices, the past week did little to provide optimism in the short term. After gold’s brief rally last week, the yellow metal was down 1% to finish at $1,075 per ounce, while silver (↓4.5%), platinum (↓4.6%) and palladium (↓4.6%) were also down for the week, finishing at $13.92, $840 and $542 respectively. Base metals were mixed this week; copper and lead were up 2% and 2.5% respectively, while zinc was flat and nickel (↓3.3%) fell further to $3.93 per pound. WTI crude prices plunged further (↓13%) as over-supply concerns continue after OPEC scrapped its production targets, closing at $35/bbl, while the UxC Broker Average Price (BAP) of uranium was flat at $36.09 per pound.


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