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Why have the miners surged on Thursday and Friday?

Australia’s largest miners have extended their gains today after surging on Thursday, to lead the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO) to a 1.2% gain.

BHP Billiton Limited  (ASX: BHP), Rio Tinto Limited  (ASX: RIO) and Fortescue Metals Group Limited  (ASX: FMG) are each up 2.8%, 1.1% and 2.3% respectively, after climbing between 2.1% and 3.8% yesterday. Meanwhile, Woodside Petroleum Limited  (ASX: WPL) and Newcrest Mining Limited  (ASX: NCM) have also risen strongly.

There was plenty of news on Thursday to spur the gains on. Rio Tinto reported a lift in full-year iron ore production whilst also reducing capex by over $1 billion (the target had been $750 million), while Fortescue signed a gas transportation agreement in which it contracted Monadelphous Group (ASX: MND) to build the pipeline. Woodside Petroleum also posted a lift in full-year production, which saw its shares climb 2.7% yesterday and a further 1.1% today.

Foolish takeaway

Following on from a poor 2013, a number of analysts are bullish on the resources sector this year, amid expectations of an improving global outlook and strong demand for commodities.

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