Why the big three ASX 200 mining stocks are enjoying a banner day on Thursday

BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto shares are all catching some extra tailwinds today.

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Three miners wearing hard hats and high vis vests take a break on site at a mine as the Fortescue share price drops in FY22

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S&P/ASX 200 Index (ASX: XJO) mining stocks are enjoying a banner day today, offering a boost to the benchmark index.

In late morning trade on Thursday, the ASX 200 is up 0.5%.

Here's how the big three mining shares are tracking at this same time:

  • Fortescue Metals Group Ltd (ASX: FMG) shares are up 0.6%
  • BHP Group Ltd (ASX: BHP) shares are up 1.9%
  • Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX: RIO) shares are up 1.9%

Here's why the big Aussie miners are having a strong run today.

What's lifting the ASX 200 mining stocks?

BHP, Fortescue and Rio Tinto are all getting some extra tailwinds amid a big lift in copper and iron ore prices.

Iron ore counts as the top revenue earner for the ASX 200 mining stocks, with copper coming in at number two.

The iron ore price leapt almost 6% overnight to trade for US$115.85 per tonne.

The steel-making metal was trading for as low as US$100 per tonne on 4 April, down from US$143 per tonne at the beginning of 2024. Iron ore has come under pressure amid concerns over China's sluggish economic growth and struggling steel-hungry property markets.

The rebound in the iron ore price then looks to be linked to China's expectation of beating quarterly economic growth figures. The Middle Kingdom reported 5.3% growth, driven by a 6.4% increase in its manufacturing sector. That could bode well for steel demand moving forward.

Also helping lift the ASX 200 mining stocks today is the ongoing strength of copper prices, nearing 52-week highs. The copper price is up 1.2% again overnight, trading for US$9,582.50 per tonne. That's up from US$8,544.50 on 2 January.

Demand for the conductive metal is booming amid the global push for electrification.

"Likely London Metals Exchange withdrawals of Russian metal, and modest deficits should support prices around current levels over the next three months," broker Citi said (quoted by The Australian Financial Review).

And with demand growth looking to outpace new supplies over the medium term, Trafigura CEO Jeremy Weir believes the copper price will top US$10,000 per tonne to meet that demand.

What else are ASX 200 investors considering?

Separately, the BHP share price could be getting a boost after the ASX 200 mining stock released its third-quarter production update.

With the bullish picture for copper in mind, investors will have taken note of BHP's 465,900 tonnes of copper production over the quarter, up 7% year on year.

Coal production was also up, with metallurgical coal increasing 6% to 6 million tonnes and thermal coal production up 8% to 4.1 million tonnes.

Iron ore went the other way, down 7% to 61.5 million tonnes, with production impacted by inclement weather.

Motley Fool contributor Bernd Struben has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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