Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO) and BHP (ASX:BHP) were two of the best performers among the large caps as iron ore prices steadied overnight.

The weightiest stocks in the mining industry were up more than 3%, leading the Materials sector to a handy 2.4% gain to pare its five day trading losses back to 2.14%.

Fortescue Metals Group (ASX:FMG) shut its Solomon iron ore hub in the Pilbara today after the death of a worker, pending investigations into the ground collapse incident from Mines Department inspectors, the company and the WA Police. It finished the day up 1.1%.

Dalian Iron Ore Futures were up as well today amid suggestions China wanted bankers to support its ailing property market.

Concerns amount the mountain of debt clouding its second biggest developer, Evergrande, had been the trigger for a major sell off last week that coincided with iron ore’s temporary dive under US$100/t.

While iron ore’s retreat from the unsustainable highs seen earlier this year will see its contribution to Australia’s trade surplus contract in 2021-22, that will be more than made up by LNG and coal export earnings, as Stockhead reported today.

Canberra’s forecasters from the Resources Department’s Office of the Chief Economist say a big rise in prices stemming China and Europe’s evolving energy crises will see Australia’s export earning strike a record $349 billion this financial year.



$16 billion capped South32 was one of the top performing miners on the ASX, up 3.8% after announcing a deal to acquire an additional 25% of the Mozal aluminium smelter in Mozambique off Japan’s Mitsubishi.

Aluminium prices are on a tear right now as Chinese power rationing and pollution controls stem output in the Middle Kingdom.

South32 now owns 72.1% of Mozal, which will lift its share of its aluminium producing assets by 15% or 145,000t to 1.14Mt a year.

The Australian miner will pay US$250m for Mitsubishi’s stake.

A customer of South32’s Worsley Alumina refinery near Perth, the Mozal business has an ESG metric to it as well, with access to hydroelectric power.

S32 boss Graham Kerr said the firm is also looking to restart the Alumar refinery in Brazil with renewable energy.

“Both investments are consistent with our strategy to increase our exposure to the base metals required for the critical transition to a low carbon future,” Kerr said.


South32 share price today: