January 3, 2023 - Coal miners were king in 2022, as Russia's invasion of Ukraine disrupted energy markets and sent the price of the fossil fuel soaring.
Of the 500 companies in the Australian Stock Exchange's All Ordinaries index, the four with the best share-price performance over the year were all thermal coalminers.
Topping the list was Whitehaven Coal, which benefited investors with a 275 per cent return in 2022, including dividends.
That's even though WHC's year-end closing price of $9.42 was well off the $11 levels set in October.
"It is extremely rewarding to see you being rewarded for your patience," chairman Mark Vaile told Whitehaven shareholders in October at its annual general meeting.
Fellow coalminers Stanmore Resources, New Hope Corporation and Yancoal in 2022 had gains of 218.9 per cent, 201.3 per cent and 168.5 per cent, respectively.
Metallurgical coal producer Cornado was the eighth-best performer, with a 106.9 per cent return.
Sandwiched between the four thermal coal producers and the metallurgical one were Silex Systems, Arfura Rare Earths and Neuren Pharmaceuticals.
Silex, whose shares were up 155 per cent, is working to commercialise a laser system for the use in enriching both uranium and silicon, for nuclear energy and quantium computers.
In an ASX filing on December 20, Silex said it was making progress on its first full-scale commercial pilot demonstration system for its uranium enrichment laser technology at a facility in North Carolina owned by its US partner and licensee, Global Laser Enrichment.
Arafura Rare Earths, which is progressing with a plan to open a $1.5 billion mine in the Northern Territory 135km from Alice Springs, was the sixth-best performer with a 126.8 per cent return.
Neuren Pharmaceuticals rose 108.7 per cent in 2022, making it the seventh-best performer.
The Melbourne company is enrolling children in phase 2 clinical trials for a potential treatment for several rare, serious neurological disorders that emerge in early childhood and have no approved medicine.
Core Lithium, which began loading its first shipment of lithium on a ship in Darwin Port bound for China on Friday, saw its shares climb 74.3 per cent during the year.
Among Australia's 50 biggest companies, Woodside Energy and Origin Energy were the standouts. Their shares rose 74.1 and 52.3 per cent over the course of 2022, respectively.
On the flip side, Atomos was the worst-performing stock in the All Ordinaries in 2022, with a 93.4 per cent decline.
The Melbourne company, which makes video hardware, has been involved in an ugly legal battle with its former chief executive and in early December said its Black Friday sales had been below expectations.
Plus-sized retailer City Chic Collective, book e-retailer Booktopia, artificial intelligence dataset company Appen, betting platform Bluebet and online cosmetics retailer Adore Beauty also had their share prices smashed over the course of the year.
The best and worst performers for 2022 among the 500 components of the All Ordinaries.
1. Whitehaven Coal, +275%
2. Stanmore Resources, +218.9%
3. New Hope Corporation, +201.3%
4. Yancoal, +168.5%
5. Silex Systems, +155%
6. Arafura Rare Earths, +126.8%
7. Neuren Pharmaceuticals, +108.7%
8. Coronado Global Resources, +106.9%
9. Argosy Minerals, +81%
10. Core Lithium, +78.3%
1. Atomos, -93.4%
2. City Chic Collective, -91.4%
3. Australian Strategic Materials, -87%
4. Booktopia Group, -84.8%
5. Anteotech, -78.5%
6. Appen, -77.4%
7. Andromeda Metals, -76.2%
8. Bluebet Holdings, -75.1%
9. Adore Beauty, 74.8%
10. Australian Ethical, -70.7%