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Top Australian miners end 2012 on a high

Australia’s top five mining companies ended the last quarter of 2012 with their highest market capitalisation in more than a year, according to Deloitte’s latest Mining League Table.


Deloitte mining leader Stephen Reid said the firm increase in market capitalisation at the top of the table was largely due to BHP and Rio adding around $45 billion in value by the end of 2012.

“Iron ore prices rallied at the end of the year, prompting the value of all six iron ore miners in the top 25 to follow that upward trend,” Mr Reid said

“The resurgence in Chinese demand that is continuing to drive ore prices up is due to an extremely cold winter that limited China’s domestic supply and that no doubt contributed to a strong finish to the year.

"However, it’s difficult to predict how long this upward trend in prices will continue with 2012 expected to show China’s slowest growth in a decade and no consensus as yet on what 2013 will bring.”

Overall, the top Australian miners recorded a combined growth of 11.4 per cent in market capitalisation. 

"But despite an overall strong end to the year, there were some disappointments,” Mr Reid said.

“Gold miners suffered with [the third quarter's] biggest upward mover, St Barbara, dropping almost $350 million in the fourth quarter to finish the year with a market capitalisation of around $700 million. 

"The world’s biggest goldminer, Newcrest, also dropped in value during [the fourth quarter], down almost 24 per cent to $17 billion.”

Mr Reid said copper and coal prices had also suffered in the fourth quarter.

“Benchmark coking coal prices, in particular, decreased by almost 25 per cent to US$170 per tonne, consistent with soft steel demand and metallurgical coal oversupply,” he said.

The recently released Mining League Table also tracked some changes in the top 25 primary minerals mining companies listed on the ASX.

Moving into the top 25 were Arrium Limited (in at 18, up from 37), Sundance Resources Limited (in at 21, up from 27) and Independence Group NL (in at 23, up from 28).

Falling out of the top 25 were Perseus Mining Limited (down to 27 from 19), Medusa Mining Limited (down to 26 from 23) and St Barbara Limited (down to 39 from 25).

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