Australian stocks closed higher on Thursday amid rising iron ore prices and reports that China will lift a series of restrictions on coal supplies from Australia, pushing mining stocks higher.
In addition, shares of Australian cannabis growers skyrocketed after the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted on December 2 to remove it from Schedule IV of the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.
The S&P /ASX200 closed with a rise of 0.4% to 6,615.3 points, continuing the rise for the third session in a row.
The Mining Index soars 4.6% to its highest level in over eight years.
Depressive production forecasts for Brazilian mining company Vale SA have added fuel to the flames of higher iron ore prices, driven mainly by strong demand from China's leading steelmaker and partly by concerns about a possible supply shortage.
Rio Tinto, the world's largest iron ore producer, jumped 7.2% to its highest level since May 2008 and was the largest gain on the index, while Fortescue Metals Group jumped 13.9% to record levels.
Coal producers were encouraged by rumors that China intends to allow the supply of Australian thermal coal to the country, despite the imposed ban on such imports amid escalating tensions between Beijing and Canberra.
BHP Group Ltd, the world's largest mining company trading in both iron ore and coal, rose more than 5% to its highest level in more than 10 months.