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What to expect as world's top 5 miners report falling profits

Amid a slide in iron ore, coal and copper prices, global mining companies are set to post their biggest profit drops in more than a decade. Rio Tinto kicks off the reporting season Feb. 14. Here's the Top 5 lineup:

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FEB. 14: RIO TINTO. The miner is expected to report a 49-per-cent plunge in second-half profit to $3.93-billion (U.S.); analysts also expect more details on Rio’s stated goal of $5-billion in cost cuts by the end of 2014. (In photo: Remotely controlled tipper trucks operate at a Rio Tinto iron ore mine in Western Australia.)


2 of 5

FEB. 15: ANGLO AMERICAN. The company said last month it would write off $4-billion (U.S.) on its flagship Minas Rio asset; analysts expect operating profit of $6.3-billion for 2012, more than 40 per cent down from 2011; new CEO Mark Cutifani arrives in April. (In photo: Miners walk at the end of their shift at Anglo Platinum’s Khuseleka shaft 1 mine in Rustenburg, northwest of Johannesburg.)


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FEB. 20: BHP BILLITON. The company is expected to report a 43-per-cent slide in attributable profit before one-offs, to $5.69-billion (U.S.). Analysts are hoping for more cost-cutting targets, amid a slide in iron ore, coal and copper prices. (In photo: The BHP Billiton Mount Whaleback iron ore mine, in the Pilbara Region of Western Australia.)


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FEB. 27: VALE. The world’s top iron ore producer is expected to report a 44-per-cent drop in fourth-quarter net income, to $1.09-billion (U.S.). It would be the smallest quarterly profit at the Rio de Janeiro-based group in nearly three years. (In photo: A worker uses the tapping process to separate nickel ore from other elements at the nickel processing plant owned by PT Vale Indonesia in Sorowako, Indonesia.)


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MARCH 5: XSTRATA-GLENCORE. The miner and the commodities trader will release earnings separately but on the same day. Their merger is still awaiting regulatory clearance from China. Glencore is expected to continue its focus on spending with scrutiny of combined assets in Latin America, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Australia. (In photo: A logo of Swiss mining company Xstrata is shown at its headquarters in Zug.)


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