The world's five biggest miners (as opposed to processors) of zinc - Xstrata, Oz Minerals, unlisted Glencore, Teck, and Vedanta, all rank as diversified in interests, but this does not alter the discernible and significant inflow of investor portfolio funds into the subsector over the past ten days. Zinc and related stocks have soared, led by Australia's CBH Resources, which has moved up by 400% and more from its lows seen just months ago. There has also been significant flows into Chinese stocks with zinc interests, led by Hunan, Sichuan Hongda, Shenzhen Zhongjin, and Yunnan Chihong.Over the past ten days, inflows into zinc and related stocks have been the strongest and most positive among global mining subsectors, followed by classifications of specialist miners of nickel (as seen in the soaring stock price sample instances of Jien Nickel, Minara Resources, and European Nickel), copper (Chariot, Jiangxi Copper, and Pan Australian). tin (Yunnan Tin), diamonds (surprisingly, Pangea Diamondfields,  Kopane Diamonds, Stornoway Diamonds), molybdenum (Jinduicheng, China Moly), and coal in the Asian area (Bumi Resources, Shanxi Lu'an, SDIC Xinji). Among physical metals, price recoveries have been recently led by lead, now up by 82% from its January 2009 lows. METAL PRICES

Industrial, USD/lb

Low*

High*

Current

From low

Copper

1.28

4.06

2.19

71.1%

Aluminium

0.58

1.53

0.69

18.5%

Lead

0.39

1.32

0.70

82.0%

Tin

4.40

11.57

5.15

17.0%

Nickel

4.01

13.76

5.67

41.2%

Zinc

0.47

1.08

0.69

46.4%

Precious, USD/oz

Gold

682.41

1006.29

891.40

30.6%

Platinum

744.25

2225.50

1223.00

64.3%

Palladium

160.75

478.50

238.00

48.1%

Silver

8.46

19.48

12.78

51.0%

* 12-month

This development has been favourable for zinc miners, given that a good number of zinc miners also produce lead, as a by- or co-product. Oz Minerals, for example, produces zinc, lead, and also copper, gold and silver. Perilya, another Australian name, mines zinc, lead and silver; Hudbay Minerals mines mainly zinc and copper; Teck digs out copper, zinc, gold, coal and more, while Vedanta mines aluminum, cooper, zinc, lead and iron ore. China's Hunan also makes the category; its stock price has risen nearly 300% from recent lows.Price recoveries have been muted for aluminium (the biggest of the base metals) and tin (the smallest). Supply side cutbacks and closures instituted by miners have been strongest and deepest among miners of zinc, nickel and lead, and weakest in aluminium. While copper plunged from a record high of USD 4.06/lb in mid-2008, even at its lows of USD 1.28/lb seen late in 2008, more than 80% of copper miners were making profits at the cash level.Selected zinc and related stocks

Stock

From

From

Value

price

high*

low*

USD bn

Hunan

HKD 1.59

-53.6%

297.5%

0.335

Huludao Zinc

CNY 6.03

-34.5%

180.5%

0.980

Inmet

CAD 37.75

-62.1%

210.7%

1.513

Farallon

CAD 0.20

-76.2%

100.0%

0.068

Sichuan Hongda

CNY 16.95

-53.0%

344.9%

2.560

Oz Minerals**

AUD 0.62

-83.6%

53.8%

1.385

Shenzhen Zhongjin

CNY 18.45

-19.7%

204.5%

2.765

Redcorp Ventures

CAD 0.01

-96.0%

100.0%

0.003

Hindustan Zinc**

INR 490.00

-35.8%

127.9%

4.174

Zincox

GBP 0.67

-67.4%

191.3%

0.078

Griffin Mining

GBP 0.28

-70.9%

107.5%

0.075

Breakwater

CAD 0.14

-87.1%

125.0%

0.050

Noranda Income

CAD 2.88

-69.5%

28.0%

0.090

Jabiru Metals

AUD 0.28

-73.6%

209.0%

0.099

CBH Resources

AUD 0.10

-75.0%

400.0%

0.064

Hudbay Minerals

CAD 7.29

-64.4%

170.0%

0.926

Yunnan Chihong

CNY 21.87

-36.0%

224.0%

2.497

Perilya

AUD 0.32

-72.6%

270.6%

0.090

Terramin

AUD 0.72

-82.2%

130.6%

0.063

Kagara

AUD 0.86

-85.4%

191.5%

0.159

Averages/total

-64.9%

183.4%

17.974

Weighted averages

-55.6%

172.7%

Diversifieds with zinc

BHP Billiton

GBP 14.06

-36.2%

92.2%

126.826

Rio Tinto

GBP 24.33

-66.1%

144.5%

52.491

Anglo American

GBP 13.70

-62.8%

51.2%

27.488

Xstrata**

GBP 5.94

-76.4%

105.5%

26.008

Teck**

USD 8.96

-83.3%

244.6%

4.279

Western Mining

CNY 15.86

-42.7%

199.2%

5.532

Herald Resources

AUD 0.40

-86.6%

300.0%

0.058

Zijin

CNY 10.79

-51.0%

187.0%

16.640

Boliden

CAD 8.80

-32.3%

340.0%

1.998

Vedanta**

GBP 9.43

-66.2%

162.7%

3.918

* 12-month

** Among the biggest zinc miners

Source: market data; tables compiled by Barry Sergeant