Unearthing the miners' dirty cost secrets

Miners who let expenditure soar and productivity plummet during the boom now face the awkward task of telling investors just what it'll cost to adapt to the new environment.

Last night the fall in copper and oil prices sent a shiver through most Australian mining chief executives because they harbour a deep secret which they know will adversely affect share prices when it is revealed.  

Somehow they need to tell their shareholders that substantial funds are required to improve the productivity of their mines so they can survive in the looming low-price environment.

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