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|A Norbridge review of 25 top mining companies highlighted financial problems for many firms. To better understand these results, Norbridge benchmarked 17 mining companies to understand the problems that companies face, the methods being used to improve performance, and the results that have been achieved. The study indicates that many mining companies in three sectors-coal metals, and non- metallic minerals-have implemented new strategies to improve performance. Many of these strategies supplement traditional initiatives with two types of process improvement efforts, facility-specific and company-wide, to help generate performance gains. The study compares the results of these strategies in each sector. INTRODUCTION imes are tough in the mining industry. Norbridge reviewed financial results of 25 top mining companies for the past 2 years-seven coal companies, twelve metals companies, and six non-metallic minerals firms.*The study found that 40% lost money in 2002, and * Coal companies include Alliance Resource Partners, Arch Coal, Consol Energy, Massey Energy, North American Coal, Peabody Energy and Westmoreland. Metals producers include Barrick Gold, Cleveland-Cliffs, Coeur d'Alene, Falconbridge, Freeport McMoran, Grupo Mexico, Inco, Newmont Mining, Noranda, Phelps Dodge, Placer Dome, and Teck Corninco. Non-metallic firms include Florida Rock, IMC Global, Martin Marietta Materials, Oglebay Norton, PotashCorp and Vulcan Materials. Information is from public sources, e.g., annual reports, company Web sites.|