Long-term investors keen on gaining exposure to the potentially lucrative mining sector more often than not look to the FTSE 100 and plant their hard-earned cash on Anglo-Australian giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton.
But there's another diversified miner and former member of the blue-chip index that I believe is definitely worth considering.
More than meets the eye
Until just a few years ago Vedanta Resources(LSE: VED) was rubbing shoulders with London's other diversified mining giants, but the commodities crash hammered the share price and relegated the group to the mid-tier FTSE 250 index, where it has been languishing ever since.
Vedanta has always been known as an India-focused diversified mining company, but it is much more than that. The group also has operations in Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Ireland, Liberia and Australia, producing aluminium, copper, zinc, lead, silver, and iron ore. And since the acquisition of Cairn India from Cairn Energy in 2011, oil & gas production is also now a significant part of the business.
The group's third quarter update was very encouraging, with revenues and earnings pushed up as a result of higher commodity prices and a ramp up in production. Total revenues for the third quarter increased 26% year-on-year to $3.06bn, with earnings (before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) surging to $882.3m, 79% higher than the same period a year earlier.
As a key supplier to the Indian market, the group is well positioned to benefit from the country's growing demand for commodities. The shares performed very strongly in 2016, but I believe the sharp retracement over the past few weeks provides a great opportunity for new investors to climb on board. The forward P/E ratio of 19 looks demanding, but this falls to just eight after strong anticipated growth for the forthcoming year.
Take a chance on Kaz
Vedanta offers exposure to a vast array of commodities, but for those who are particularly keen on copper the FTSE 250 index offers a 'pure play' copper miner in the shape of Kaz Minerals(LSE: KAZ). The Kazakhstan-focused mining group is a great way to gain exposure to the copper market, as its share price is highly correlated to the price of the red metal.
The mid-cap mining group posted a strong set of results for its last completed financial year to the end of December 2016. Operating profit was up by a staggering 142% to $218m, while gross revenues climbed 43% to $969 million, compared to $677m for the previous year.
The recent recovery in copper prices and the combination of increasing output, higher prices and low operating costs means the company is well positioned to deliver further growth in the years ahead. With an attractive valuation at below 10 times earnings for 2017, I believe this could be a good time to take a chance on Kaz.
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Bilaal Mohamed has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Rio Tinto. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.