Mine the Surprising Mineral Shortage

Buy the stocks of the companies that we know can meet demand.
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This column was originally published on RealMoney on Jan. 23 at 10:54 a.m. EST. It's being republished as a bonus for TheStreet.com readers.

Mineral shortage?

I sit here and peruse the downgrades and worries and handwringing about Newmont (NEM) - Get Report and Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) - Get Report and Phelps Dodge (PD) - Get Report, and it gets pretty darned obvious to me that we don't have enough minerals to go around.

This is a new problem, everybody. I always figured that when copper kicked in, we would simply flood the market worldwide with production. I also believed that Newmont had unlimited supplies. Now I wonder if all the consolidation activity in minerals is because companies are tapped out.

This is amazing.

Despite the runs in

Companhia Vale do Rio Doce

(RIO) - Get Report

,

BHP Billiton

(BHP) - Get Report

and

Anglo American

(AAUK)

, I would continue to buy these if only because we know they all have more. They can meet demand.

But these other companies are running short.

If it weren't for the pro-Che man next door, I also would buy

Southern Copper

(PCU)

right here, right now. Only Anaconda fears -- anyone old enough besides me to remember that mining concern? -- and nationalization, ahem, keeps me from bulling that one right here right now.

Mineral shortage. Who woulda thunk it?

At the time of publication, Cramer was long BHP Billiton and Anglo American.

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