Strong start to year for top miners


The New Year has got off to a better start than it did in 2017 for the industry’s top mining companies. Of the 25 largest companies, 21 recorded gains in valuation during January. Overall, these 25 companies were worth an aggregate US$818.2billion at the end of January, a 15.5% increase compared with the corresponding month in 2017 when the same companies held a value of US$708.5billion. A similar group of companies that held the top 25 positions at this time a year ago was worth an aggregate US$680.83billion.

The ranking of the top five companies remained unchanged compared with year-end 2017, and BHP Billiton Group remained the world’s most valuable mining company – with its market value increasing more than 6.8% to US$124.9billion.

A year ago, China Molybdenum Co. Ltd. and Shaanxi Coal Industry Co. Ltd. were both ranked outside the top 25 mining companies, being placed 36th and 43rd respectively. However, they entered into the top 25 companies with the help of triple-digit percentage improvements in market valuation year over year.

Shaanxi Coal saw the second-largest improvement in market cap, jumping 106.3% to US$15.9billion and advancing to 20th place. The company said on Jan. 19 that it expected net attributable profit for 2017 to have jumped by between 263% and 285% to reach between 7.25 billion Chinese yuan and 7.85 billion yuan.

The two companies also rose sharply month over month. Shaanxi Coal was up 26.8% and China Molybdenum was up 13.9% compared with end-December. Zijin Mining Group Co. Ltd. (17.8%), Anglo American Plc (15.1%), Coal India Ltd. (14%) and South32 Ltd. (12.6%) were the other companies with significant increases in market cap since the end of 2017.

London-listed Anglo American and PJSC Norilsk Nickel Co. swapped positions at No. 6 and No. 7, as the latter’s market value only grew 9.7% compared with Anglo’s 15.1% improvement. Norilsk Nickel reported Jan. 31 that it had completed a reconfiguration programme at the Talnakh concentrator, and this increased ore processing boosted the company’s fourth-quarter 2017 metals output across the board.

Chile-based lithium producer Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile SA experienced a decline in its market cap to US$14.8billion, and as a result recorded the steepest drop in the rankings – slipping four places since end-December to 21st place. Barrick Gold Corp., Franco-Nevada Corp. and Fresnillo Plc – with respective market caps of US$16.7billion, US$14.1billion and US$13.9billion – were the other companies that suffered declines in market valuation.


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