Australia's New Gold Rush, Courtesy of China
Source: Fortune (11/19/07)
During the past five years the Australian stock market's benchmark index, the ASX 200, has produced a total return of 170%, reaching new highs regularly this fall. Over the same time span the ASX index of mineral stocks has doubled that performance, returning 340%.
What's driving all this is a mining boom unlike anything this natural-resources-rich country has ever seen. Prices of all kinds of metals have been skyrocketing in recent years -- in large part because of increasing demand from China.
Australia is the world's second-largest producer of gold (up 150% in price in the past five years), zinc (up 250%), and uranium (up 750%). It's the third-largest producer of nickel (which has more than tripled in price) and the fifth-largest producer of copper (which has almost quadrupled). In short, it's a good time to be digging stuff out of the ground Down Under.