That thump you heard coming from London this week was the sound of another dividend domino falling in the mining sector.
Australian giant Rio Tinto became the latest to ditch its progressive dividend - a payout that is guaranteed to rise or stay the same each year - recognising, finally, that in this era of plunging commodity prices, it was simply unsustainable.
In fact, Rio backed away from its progressive policy very much in the manner of a bystander edging away from a howling car alarm.
"Nothing to do with me, mate, I'm just walking here," Rio boss Sam Walsh might have said, but didn't.
What he did say was that a progressive dividend was "not appropriate" for a cyclical industry such as mining, which is prone to so many ups and downs.
Rio has listened to critics of the policy - one which miners have tried to cling to despite the unprecedented collapse in the price of raw materials. "That criticism was worthy," Walsh said. "In the down cycle it becomes very, very difficult [to maintain]."
Rio will still pay a dividend for last year - maintained at 2014 levels - but future payouts will be related to how much profit it makes. Except - confusingly - for 2016, when it will implement a "transitional" policy, promising a pay-out at a fixed level, to soften the blow for investors.
Rio Tinto is not alone in its dividend epiphany.
First out of the traps last September was its FTSE 100 peer Glencore, which suspended dividends while it tackles its debt mountain. In December, Anglo American cut its dividend for next year and vowed that future payouts would be performance- linked; boss Mark Cutifani likewise blamed the cyclical nature of the industry.
It's almost certain that Rio's Australian rival BHP Billiton will follow suit at the end of this month - not least because it has the perfect cover to do so. Vale, the Brazilian miner, has also indicated its dividend is for the chop.
Still, the market was shocked that Rio felt the need to get in on the act.
Generally regarded as having the strongest balance sheet of all the big, diversified miners, Rio could have toughed it out for longer, and further set itself apart from its rivals.
Instead it has seen the light - and recognised what seems perfectly obvious to everyone else: that a progressive policy is an intolerable burden when you're under extreme pressure.
Until very recently these same miners were telling London dealing rooms that progressive dividends were sacrosanct.
"We are absolutely committed to the progressive dividend," Walsh said a year ago.
As recently as August, the progressive dividend was up there next to sustaining capex as the company's chief goal for distributing its capital.
It's easy to be wise after the event - and no one predicted the extent to which commodity prices would fall, but given that we've known all along that mining is a cyclical industry, it's a little convenient to suddenly seize upon that excuse, as if it's only just occurred to you, to tear up a long-standing policy.
Clearly the miners never expected the boom in China to peter out. If they had, they might have been wary of building up the oversupply that is now pushing down prices.
For years the progressive dividend made them an attractive bet, boosting their equity in the up cycle (as a miner might call it), and leading to a massive share price slump once investors noticed that the good times were over.
The move towards sustainable payouts can only be a good thing, restoring sanity where it was needed. Investors may not like it in the short term, but they may grow to prefer stakes in firms on a sounder financial footing.
In fairness, the big Australian miners are serving two masters, catering to investors in London who generally want them to preserve payouts and cut expenditure, and to shareholders in Sydney who prefer them to keep investing in their business.
Rio is walking a middle ground, slimming down both shareholder payouts and expenditure. Despite asserting its commitment to exploration - that is, finding the next resources to dig out of the ground - capital expenditure is nonetheless significantly lower: down to $US4.5 billion in 2015, compared with $US17.6 billion in 2012.
That drop in capex is a measure of the steps Rio has taken under Walsh, who was tasked with slashing costs and turning the company around after it slipped to a loss in 2013 on the back of huge writedowns in its aluminium business.
At one point Rio was a takeover target for Glencore, before the latter ran into problems of its own. Rio is now in a position to be eyeing up assets that its rivals might be keen to sell (or even those they are not).
One of the sellers could be Anglo American, which reports full-year results next week and which is looking to raise another $US2 billion from disposals.
Meanwhile, the iron giant continues to bet that its sheer size and efficiency will enable it to weather the commodities storm.
Rio will continue to increase production of iron ore and other metals in 2016, even as prices fall. Glencore, by contrast, confirmed yesterday it would be slimming down its production targets.
Rio's iron-ore business still generates a lot of money. A tonne of the stuff costs it a remarkable $US13.20 to produce; the spot price is currently $US41 - though it stood at $US64 a year ago.
"We can't wait for a price recovery," said Chris Lynch, Rio's chief financial officer. "Hope is not a strategy."
Walsh added: "We're playing our own game, what suits us."
This week's watchword started with "pro-". But it was "proactive" not "progressive".
The Daily Telegraph, London