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BlackRock World Mining Trust: April 2023 update

Investment Analyst Josef Licsauer shares our analysis on the manager, process, culture, ESG integration, cost and performance of the BlackRock World Mining Trust.

Important notes

This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

This article is more than 6 months old

It was correct at the time of publishing. Our views and any references to tax, investment and pension rules may have changed since then.

  • Evy Hambro is an industry veteran, clocking up almost three decades of investment experience
  • The trust aims to provide long-term income and capital growth by investing in mining and metal assets worldwide
  • 2022 has been the second-best year in the trust’s history for income, narrowly beaten by the dividends it paid out to investors in 2021

How it fits in a portfolio

BlackRock World Mining Trust aims to maximise the total return to investors through a combination of capital growth and consistent dividends. The managers achieve this by investing in mining and metals assets across the globe, including some higher risk emerging markets. While they mainly invest in shares, they’ll also look at other assets including mining royalties, bonds and some physical metals to help with diversification.

Investing in the trust could help boost a portfolio’s long-term growth potential but this is a specialist area so adds risk. We think funds and investment trusts investing in a specific sector, should usually only form a small part of a well-diversified investment portfolio. Investors in investment trusts should be aware the trust can trade at a discount or a premium to its net asset value (NAV).


The trust is co-managed by Evy Hambro and Olivia Markham.

Hambro has been in the industry since 1994, spending time with Mercury Asset Management and Merrill Lynch, before they merged with BlackRock in 2006. Some other responsibilities include being Head of Global Thematic and Sector Investing and Head of the Natural Resources Equity Team.

Markham became co-manager of the trust in 2015. She’s a member of the Natural Resources team and her coverage spans an array of sectors including precious metals and mining. Markham started her career at BlackRock in 2011, having previously held the position of Head of the European Mining Team at UBS. She also co-manages the BGF World Mining Fund and the Commodities Income Investment Fund.

Both managers can draw upon the resources available to them at BlackRock, including access to the broader Natural Resources Team, six of which are dedicated to the mining and gold sectors.


Hambro and Markham closely monitor over 300 mining companies, a number which has been growing more as industries align with the energy transition. They’ll invest in companies with strong cash flows, healthy balance sheets, high-grade reserves and high-quality management teams.

While adopting a blended style of top down and bottom-up research is crucial to the process, they place more emphasis on bottom up, individual company analysis. Coupling this with onsite meetings enables them to speak to company employees, not just management, providing an opportunity to physically assess the sites or mines they invest in.

The trust has around 92% invested in mining and metals shares, including mining group BHP and precious metals producer Freeport McMoran. Some of the larger investments have been reduced more recently, including mining groups Rio Tinto and Glencore. After concerns around environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, as well as weaker operating performance, Rio Tinto was reduced. Glencore was reduced following a strong run of performance.

The rest of the trust is invested in bonds, debentures (a type of bond or debt instrument), and royalties to provide a higher and more diversified yield.

Over the course of 2022, the team were busy growing the unquoted part of the portfolio - companies that are not currently listed on the stock market. The unquoted investments include Vale Debentures, Jetti Resources, MCC Mining and OZ Minerals.

Vale Debentures offers a return linked to iron ore prices and the managers have increased the amount invested due to their positive outlook on iron ore. OZ Minerals is the main royalty investment, offering a share in revenues from a specific copper and silver mine in Brazil. BHP Group have agreed to buy OZ Minerals, with the deal looking to complete sometime in 2023.

Ivanhoe Electric and Bravo Mining used to be classed as unquoted investments, but both companies completed an initial public offering (IPO) in 2022. They will no longer be reported in the unquoted section.

Investors should be aware these unquoted assets are higher risk and tend to be more difficult to buy and sell than listed shares. The trust can also borrow money to invest with the intention of increasing returns (known as gearing) and use derivatives. These could magnify losses in a falling market and increases risk.


BlackRock is the largest asset manager in the world, with around $8.6 trillion of assets under management globally. The company was founded in 1988 by eight partners including current CEO Larry Fink and is known for both active and passive strategies across the world. Employees at BlackRock are encouraged to hold shares in the company so that they are engaged with helping the company perform well and grow.

The culture within the teams across BlackRock is also strong. At all levels, debate and challenge is encouraged, and the team works closely together daily. Managers make good use of the overlap between other teams, which helps with idea generation but also spurs conversation around industry trends.

ESG integration

In recent years, BlackRock has increased its focus on stewardship. The Investment Stewardship Team aims to vote at 100% of meetings where it has the authority to do so, meaning they vote at around 17,000 meetings on 165,000 proposals each year. The Investment Stewardship team engages with companies, in conjunction with fund managers, and the results of proxy votes can be found on the BlackRock website.

BlackRock was an early signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) and has offered ESG-focused funds for several years, including through its iShares range of passive products. However, it only made a company-wide commitment to ESG in January 2020. The firm has also courted controversy in recent years for failing to put its significant weight behind shareholder resolutions aimed at tackling climate change. It responded by committing to be more transparent on its voting activity and providing rationales for key votes. The firm also outlines its work on voting and engagement in annual and quarterly Stewardship reports.

The metals and mining industry is considered a relatively challenging sector from an ESG perspective, so the managers instil this focus into their investment process. They don’t tend to invest in companies with high ESG risks, who in their opinion, have no plan in place to address these issues. However, they believe it’s an industry that can help accelerate the transition to cleaner and more sustainable practices, so feel simply divesting from these companies isn’t the best course of action.

Instead, they engage with executives on board issues, ensure sites are following correct labour and human rights standards and push companies on their plans to achieve net zero by 2050.


The ongoing charge, over the trust's financial year to 31 December 2022, was 0.95%. This remains unchanged from the previous year. Investors should refer to the latest annual reports and accounts and Key Information Document for details of the risks and charging structure.

If held in a SIPP or ISA the HL platform fee of 0.45% (capped at £200 p.a. for a SIPP and £45 for an ISA) per annum also applies. Our platform fee doesn't apply if held in a Fund and Share Account. As investment trusts trade like shares, both a buy and sell instruction will be subject to our share dealing charges within any HL account.


Since the trust launched in December 1993, it’s delivered good returns for investors. It’s also delivered good returns under Hambro’s tenure. He took the helm in September 2000 and over this time the trust’s NAV and share price has risen 1179.00% and 1478.70%*, respectively. Past performance isn’t a guide to the future.

Over the trust’s most recent financial year (December 2021 to December 2022), the NAV and share price grew by 17.7% and 26.0%, respectively. This puts the trust ahead of its broader benchmark, though it hasn’t been a completely smooth ride.

Performance was split into distinct periods over this period. It started the year strongly, struggled during the summer and rallied towards the end of the year. The volatility was caused by difficult market conditions, particularly around the conflict in Ukraine, China’s zero COVID-19 policy and high levels of inflation and interest rates.

Despite the turbulence, the unquoted investments held up well. Ivanhoe Electric and Bravo Mining completed their IPOs and the share price of both companies rallied. Vale Debentures had a better period of production, despite lower iron ore prices year-on-year, which helped boost performance.

On the flip side, some of the trust’s precious metals producing investments took a hit. While copper plays a pivotal part in the energy transition, supply has been tight, production’s been cut and new copper projects haven’t received enough funding. Aluminium prices suffered a similar fate but were also impacted by the resulting restrictions from China’s zero COVID-19 policy and Ukraine conflict.

On the income front, OZ Minerals boosted the trust's dividend as it benefited from the ramp-up of the Pedra Branca mine. At the time of writing, the trust yields 6.16% but yields are variable and aren’t a reliable indicator of future income.

Annual percentage growth
Feb 18 – Feb 19 Feb 19 – Feb 20 Feb 20 – Feb 21 Feb 21 – Feb 22 Feb 22 – Feb 23
BlackRock World Mining Trust PLC -4.80% -5.83% 97.71% 29.12% 2.10%

Past performance is not a guide to the future. Source: *Lipper IM to 28/02/2023.



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    Important notes

    This article isn’t personal advice. If you’re not sure whether an investment is right for you please seek advice. If you choose to invest the value of your investment will rise and fall, so you could get back less than you put in.

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