Rich seam of dividends is big attraction at BHP

Those investing in the world’s giant miners know better than to get used to the extraordinary cash returns that have been generated amid the squeeze on supplies of the past two years. BHP is set to pay out a record dividend thanks to the commodities boom, but higher spending on maintenance and development and shakier demand probably will cause the market to temper its expectations for free cashflow and the magnitude of future cash payouts.

The world’s biggest mining group churned out $29.3 billion in cash from its operations, a rise of 13 per cent on the previous year and ahead of analysts’ expectations. Higher average realised copper and coal prices were the key drivers, with the price of thermal coal rising more than threefold

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