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Anglo American has booked more than $2bn of impairments related to its diamond and nickel mines as annual profits dropped by a third on lower commodity prices, in another setback for the British mining group.

The FTSE 100 group confirmed writedowns of $1.6bn for De Beers, its diamond-producing unit, and $500mn for its Barro Alto nickel mine in Brazil because of weak prices for these commodities.

Anglo American said it would halve its dividend payout compared with a year earlier to $1.2bn after earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation slid 31 per cent to $10bn on lower prices for some of its key commodities, beating analysts’ consensus forecasts.

The annual results come after a December investor update revealed unexpected production cuts and warned of the impairments, sending the company’s shares on their biggest one-day slide since the 2008 financial crisis.

This week, the group announced almost 4,200 jobs would be under threat at its South African platinum group metals and iron ore mines, as it seeks to cut costs.

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