Country’s top dry-fuel miner Coal India (CIL) has become the sixth-largest mining company in the world in terms of market capital, says a recent PwC report.

Earlier, the company was at the eighth spot among top 40 global mining firms, according to the report.

Another state-run company, NMDC, the country’s top iron ore miner which also figures in the list, has improved its position by coming to the 21st slot from 24th earlier.

The report "Mine 2015", which analyses the financial performance of the top 40 mining companies by market capitalisation, says though there have been improvements in most financial statement metrics across the top 40 companies, market values continued to decline.

"The top 40 miners lost USD 156 billion, or about 16 per cent of their combined market value, in 2014," the report said, adding that the good news is that it is only half of last year’s slide.

The market capitalisation for the top 40 was USD 791 billion at the end of 2014, which is where it sat 10 years ago, it said.

"That’s a drop of 16 per cent from USD 947 billion at the end of 2013. It’s the second consecutive year of decline.

Incredibly, the market capitalisation of the top 40 is only about half of its value four years ago," it added.

The decline in market value in 2014 was driven largely by iron ore miners, in particular the diversified companies with large exposure.

"It was a better year financially for the top 40, despite a continued dip in almost all commodity prices, as various cost initiatives, fewer high-dollar impairments, and lower input costs helped to improve the bottomline.

"Commodity prices remained under pressure, as iron ore, coal, and copper took another tumble in 2014," it said.

Iron ore was the hardest hit in 2014 with prices falling by half due to oversupply and a negative short-term demand outlook.

About coal, it said coal miners in the BRICS countries saw their value increase 19 per cent over the period, recovering under half of the value they lost in the prior year.

There was greater diversity in share price performance among the top 40 in 2014, with 15 miners seeing their values appreciate, while 25 witnessed a decline.

The average ROCE (return on capital employed) is largely below the minimum hurdle investment rate of 15 per cent to 20 per cent set by several companies, the report said.

"Only six of the top 40 exceeded the 15 per cent benchmark. They include Coal India (coal), Norilsk Nickel (nickel), NMDC (iron ore), Randgold (gold), Shandong Gold (gold), and Newcrest (gold)," the report said, adding that further actions are needed around capital allocation and cost control.

In 2014, the top 40 made no significant new investment commitments, but some moved to significantly increase production.