Those of us who tell our Foolish friends in writing about companies' results read an untold number of corporate earnings releases. And since most of those are clearly written in the shadow of regulatory and legal concerns, few even rise to the level of effective communication.

I'm therefore pleased to be able to point to an exception in Rio de Janeiro-based Vale (NYSE: RIO), a huge mining and resources company that's told us about its solid quarter and has done so with far more clarity than typically emanates from corporate pens. And not only that, but the company is careful to disclose its earnings in acceptable U.S. GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) form.

For the quarter, the company used a combination of high demand and increasing prices for its metals and other commodities and services to increase its net earnings 59% to $2.57 billion. Revenues rose 12.2% to $8.4 billion in the quarter. Its adjusted EBIT margin increased 440 basis points year over year to 32.9%. For the full year, that margin was 40.9%.

Vale travels in an important group of companies that are attempting to serve the world's increasingly voracious appetite for such metals and minerals as iron ore, nickel, copper, gold, silver, aluminum, and platinum. That group includes such metals and mining companies as big London-based Rio Tinto (NYSE: RTP), which is being pursued by even bigger Melbourne-headquartered BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP).

The mining behemoths have been formed by nearly a decade of intense acquisitions activity. For its part, Vale has recently offered $87 billion for U.K.-based Xstrata Plc, the world's fifth-largest mining player, which itself posted strong results today. For perspective on the Wild West nature of acquisitions in this space, consider that, last year, Freeport McMoRan (NYSE: FCX) bought Phelps Dodge, a copper company twice its size.

So the beat goes on in this crucial and fascinating sector. My strong inclination, given the demand for the metals and minerals the companies produce, is to suggest that Fools slip the shares of one or more of the companies listed above into their portfolios.

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith does own shares in Freeport McMoRan, but, unfortunately, not in the other companies mentioned. He welcomes your questions or comments. The Fool has a disclosure policy.