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7 Mining Stocks to Watch

2. Vale (VALE - Get Report) is a Brazilian diversified metals and mining company with a product portfolio that includes nickel, iron ore and iron ore pellets, manganese ore, ferroalloys, aluminum, fertilizers, copper and coal, among others. It has mineral exploration in 24 countries. In addition to being the largest logistics operator in Brazil, Vale generates and supplies electric energy to the steel sector.

For the second quarter of 2011, the company reported iron ore production of 80.3 metric tons production -- the best performance ever. Moreover, for the first half of 2011, production stood at 146.5 metric tons, almost 47% of the targeted output for 2011. Copper production for the first half increased to 133,000 metric tons compared to 74,000 metric tons in the year-ago period. During the quarter, gold and silver production was up 1,145.3% and 49.8%, respectively.

Second quarter 2011 net earnings increased 74.1% to $6.45 billion, or $1.22 per share, as compared to the same quarter last year. Operating revenue for the quarter increased 13.3% to $15.3 billion, the highest quarterly result in its history. In mid-August, the company paid an additional dividend to its shareholders totaling to $3 billion equivalent, or approximately 58 cents per share. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter stood at $13.2 billion, vs. $6.2 billion in the year-ago quarter.

Recently, it was known that Petroleo Brasileiro (Petrobras) (PBR), Brazil's state-controlled oil giant, and Vale are in talks for a potential operation involving the miner's nitrogenous assets. As per the deal, Petrobras may obtain the nitrogenous assets in Parana state from Vale's fertilizer arm Vale Fertilizantes, in exchange for a potassium mine to which Vale is seeking rights.

Of the 23 analysts covering the stock, 87% recommend a buy and the rest rate a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. Analysts polled by Bloomberg expect the stock to gain an average 41.6% to $39.67 over the next 12 months.
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