A bright and bushy welcome to 2022 for investors in large mining houses, who have taken succour from iron ore’s promising end to 2021.

Having sagged as low as US$87/t late last year, iron ore is back trading above US$120/t for 62% fines, a level at which the Pilbara giants are printing cash.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) was up 3.33% and BHP (ASX:BHP) 2.12%, although Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) was a notable laggard.

China’s manufacturing PMIs were better than expected, rising above 50 (indicating growth in industrial output) for the first time since July.

Lithium miners were also up big, with AVZ Minerals (ASX:AVZ) 12.9% higher, and Pilbara Minerals (ASX:PLS) up 10% to a record $3.52.

Mineral Resources (ASX:MIN), which has the best of both worlds in its mid-tier iron ore business and lithium assets in WA, led the large caps with a 4.79% gain, up to $58.68.

MinRes is now up ~34% on the back of iron ore and lithium price runs.

The Materials index slightly outpaced a bullish ASX 200, finishing the day up 2.19%.



Monsters of Rock share price today:




Vulcan Energy up on project expansion news

Vulcan Energy (ASX:VUL) is fresh from its bruising encounter with short seller J Capital, after receiving a settlement and apology from the activist short seller over a report accusing the lithium company of making empty promises around its Zero Carbon Lithium Project in Germany’s Upper Rhine Valley.

The company had strenuously denied the allegations made in the report.

Despite a dip in the value of its shares after the report’s release in late October, Vulcan remained one of the fastest growing mid-cap resources stocks of 2021.

It has a host of binding offtake deals with European carmakers, including Renault and Volkswagen for lithium hydroxide from its proposed geothermal brine lithium operations, which are currently the subject of a DFS.

Vulcan was on the up today after announcing plans to expand its tenure around the Zero Carbon Lithium Project, where it plans to have its DFS completed by the second half of 2022 and be in commercial production by 2024.

The five new granted exploration licences for geothermal energy and lithium add up to 325km2, increasing its land package by 50% to over 1,000km2.

“We have increasing demand from our customers for further supply,” Vulcan’s Francis Wedin said.

“These new exploration licenses give us significant potential to further scale up our project as the market continues to grow, whilst also meeting the increasing demand for renewable heat and power.”



Vulcan Energy share price today: