Anglo American was whacked by 4.6bn dollars-worth of impairments in 2012, while underlying earnings took a hit from falling commodity prices, ongoing cost pressures and a loss-making platinum business.
However, with expectations low coming into the results announcement, the company was able to beat forecasts, leading shares
to rise on Friday morning. The stock was up 1.61% at 2,045.5p by 10:47.
The company swung into the red in the 12 months to December 31st, recording a loss before tax of $239m, compared with a profit of $10,782m the year before.
The firm took an impairment worth $4.0bn (post-tax) in relation to its Brazilian Minas-Rio project, which was found to need $8.8bn more in capital expenditure after a detailed cost and schedule review.
Chief Executive Cynthia Carroll said: "Despite the difficulties we have faced that have caused a significant increase in capital expenditure, we continue to be confident of the medium and long term attractiveness and strategic positioning of Minas-Rio and we remain committed to the project.
"The first phase of the project will begin its ramp-up at the end of 2014, with operating costs expected to be highly competitive in the first quartile of the FOB cash cost curve, generating significant free cashflow for many decades to come."
Meanwhile, a number of platinum projects that were said to be "uneconomical" resulted in a further $0.6bn of impairments.
Last month, the company proposed a major restructuring plan at is South African platinum division, Amplats, which was hit by strikes and falling prices in 2012. The shake-up would see the company close down some mines and consolidate certain assets, a move that would affect 14,000 jobs.
On an underlying basis, group earnings dropped by 54% from $6,120m to $2,839m. Underlying earnings per share fell from $5.06 to $2.26.
Meanwhile, revenues decreased by 10% from $36,548m to $32,785m as the company said that there was a decline in realised prices across the majority of commodities it produced.
DQE Entertainment posted an 8.5 per cent rise in revenues for the last nine months of 2012 as the company received high ratings for its range of cartoon series.
Revenues rose to $25.91m, up from $28.64m the previous year after the group signed licensing deals and expanded its portfolio with the production and distribution of shows including Peter Pan, Charlie Chaplin and Iron Man.
A major contributor to revenues was the success of the 3D, CGI animated TV series The Jungle Book Season One, produced by DQE. The show aired in 165 countries across the globe and attracting more than 100 licensees worldwide across publishing, gaming, digital, apparel, accessories, home furnishings, back-to-school and Halloween.
Key licensees and promotional partners include Burger King, Wal-Mart, Hachette, Toys R Us and Universal Music.
Despite the jump in revenues, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation fell 7.0% to $11m and profits after tax dropped 44% to $2.58m.
The group blamed the drop on the "financial liquidity squeeze in the global market" which resulted in delays in the recovery of receivables.
DQE is working to reduce its debtors and expects to improve its receivables position by year end.
Chief Executive Officer and Chairman and Managing Director, Tapaas Chakravarti, said: "A humbling and inspiring validation of our work is the high ratings received by our productions such as The Jungle Book and Peter Pan on various international networks such as TF1- France, France Televisions, ZDF TV Germany, Kika Germany, Noga Israel, ABC Australia, TVO Canada and several others worldwide.
"I am particularly happy to share the recent excellent ratings and audience response to our series Peter Pan, that was launched in the French Language at the end of December 2012 in France, on France 3. Each broadcast has attracted an average of 800,000 viewers, giving a market share ranging between 24.1% and 34.8% for the 4-10 year old audience segment - similar to that of the hugely popular series Garfield."