Marius Kloppers collects $16m as he quits at BHP Billiton

Marius Kloppers, one of the biggest names in world mining, picked up $16m (£10m) in his final year leading BHP Billiton, it emerged yesterday.

Although the South African's six-year tenure as chief executive was tarnished by expensive failures to take over BHP's fierce rival Rio Tinto and Canada's Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, Mr Kloppers, still earned nearly $10.4m in long-term bonuses last year.

He officially leaves next month, but Andrew Mackenzie has been in the hot seat since May. To reflect the tough times mining has suffered in recent years, Mr Mackenzie is paid a base salary of £1.7m, nearly 25 per cent less than his predecessor.

Mr Mackenzie's pension contribution is also down on Mr Kloppers' 36 per cent of base salary to 25 per cent. There have also been cuts to bonuses for the group's leading executives.

In BHP's annual report yesterday the chairman Jac Nasser praised Mr Kloppers for making BHP a "safer and financially stronger" company. But he warned that oversupply of metals and minerals has "exerted downward pressure" on many commodity prices, a trend he expects will continue in the short-term.

In his chief executive report, Mr Mackenzie said it was "a challenging yet very rewarding time to be at the helm of the world's leading diversified resources company".

He added:"We believe our proven strategy, when combined with our great ore bodies and operational focus on productivity, will deliver stronger margins throughout the economic cycle, a simpler and more capital efficient structure, a substantial increase in free cash flow and growth in shareholder value."

Mr Kloppers, who served as a conscript in the South African army, is one of a number of big names in global mining who have left the industry this year. Mick Davis left Xstrata after it was taken over by Glencore and the oft-criticised Cynthia Carroll left Anglo American in April.