What are the best copper stocks on the TSX so far this year? These five companies have seen the biggest gains year-to-date.
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After a turbulent first half of the year, with COVID-19 disrupting supply and demand around the world, copper prices were able to recover lost ground and head even higher in the second half of 2020.
Copper prices trended upward for most of the last six months of the year, with the red metal reaching a seven year high of US$7,764 per tonne on December 1.
Despite the current volatile environment, many analysts and companies expect the copper market to boom in the coming years, with electrification and electric vehicles growing in popularity and subsequently increasing the world’s appetite for copper and copper-mining stocks.
Some of the best copper stocks on the TSX have seen major year-to-date gains, which you can find on the list below. This best copper stocks list was generated on December 2, 2020, using TradingView’s stock screener, and only mining stock with market capitalizations greater than C$50 million are included.
1. Aura Minerals (TSX:ORA)
Current share price: C$14.20, year-to-date gain: 726.22 percent
Focused on copper and gold, Aura Minerals is a mid-tier producer working on multiple projects in Mexico, where its Aranzazu copper-gold-silver mine is located, as well as Honduras, Colombia and Brazil.
On March 3, Aura released updated resources and reserves estimates for its projects. Aranzazu currently holds total proven reserves of 1,494,000 tonnes of copper grading 1.6 percent, and measured resources of 3,249,000 tonnes of copper grading 1.71 percent.
Earlier this year, the company announced an initial public offering in Brazil, but plans were postponed due to the impact of COVID-19 on market conditions. The company resumed the process on June 1, giving more details on June 24; it finally announced on July 2 that the copper stock price per BDR, which represents one share, was set at R$820.
In November, Aura revealed a new offtake agreement with major copper producer Trafigura, which has agreed to purchase 100 percent of the copper and gold concentrate produced at Aranzazu effective as of the beginning of 2022 and continuing until the end of 2024.
2. Capstone Mining (TSX:CS)
Current share price: C$1.87, year-to-date gain: 153.95 percent
Capstone Mining is a base metals-focused company with two producing copper mines: Pinto Valley in the US and Cozamin in Mexico. In addition, Capstone has the large-scale, 70 percent owned copper-iron Santo Domingo development project in Region III, Chile, in partnership with Korea Resources. The company also holds a portfolio of exploration properties.
In January, Capstone released its 2019 production results, which were above its midpoint guidance range of 145 million to 160 million pounds of copper for the year; costs were below the bottom end of the company’s guidance range of US$1.80 to US$2 per pound of payable copper.
Due to COVID-19 challenges, the first quarter of the year saw Capstone report a net loss of $21.9 million, with copper production reaching 35.5 million pounds. During the second quarter of the year, the company took a turn and reported net income of $4.3 million and copper production of 38.5 million pounds, despite COVID-19-related production limitations at Cozamin.
In September, Capstone released an updated technical report for Cozamin, showing that proven and probable mineral reserves had increased by 97 percent. In October, the company announced Q3 production results for Cozamin, reporting output of 38.5 million pounds of copper.
3. Copper Mountain Mining (TSX:CMMC)
Current share price: C$1.55, year-to-date gain: 122.54 percent
Copper Mountain Mining’s namesake Copper Mountain mine in British Columbia produces about 90 million pounds of copper equivalent per year. The firm also holds a development-stage copper project in Queensland, Australia, and a 2,100 square kilometer land package in the Mount Isa area.
The company is currently undertaking a mill expansion for the Copper Mountain mine. Coupled with the integration of the New Ingerbelle pit, it is projected to raise production levels for the asset to 139 million pounds of copper equivalent each year over a mine life of 21 years.
The company announced in late November that it will increase that expansion to 65,000 tonnes per day with a resulting 60 percent or US$1 billion increase in the project’s net present value. The news had a significant on the copper miner’s stock price, pushing it to a yearly high of C$1.74.
4. Taseko Mines (TSX:TKO)
Current share price: C$1.34, year-to-date gain: 111.11 percent
Headquartered in Vancouver, Taseko Mines operates the Gibraltar mine, the second largest copper mine in Canada; it produces an average of 140 million pounds of copper and 2.5 million pounds of molybdenum per year. The company also holds the Florence, Yellowhead and Aley projects.
Q1 saw Taseko Mines achieve its 2019 guidelines at Gibraltar, with total production for the year reaching 126 million pounds of copper and 2.7 million pounds of molybdenum, both slightly higher than in 2018. In January, the company also updated its resource estimate for Yellowhead, resulting in a 22 percent increase in recoverable copper reserves and significantly improved project economics.
The company reported Q1 cash flows from operations at $17.7 million and adjusted EBITDA at $5.3 million, impacted by COVID-19. Its second quarter results, released in August, show that Gibraltar produced 36.8 million pounds of copper, a 14 percent increase over the first quarter. In August, the company also confirmed that the draft aquifer protection permit for its Florence project had been issued by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality.
Taseko’s Q3 financial results include C$32 million in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), and a cash position of C$73 million, up $9 million from the end of June. The company’s president, Stuart McDonald, attributed the strong EBITDA and cash flow generation to the recovery in copper prices in the second half of 2020.
5. Marimaca Copper (TSX:MARI)
Current share price: C$3.31, year-to-date gain: 103.69 percent
Formerly Coro Mining, Marimaca Copper announced its name change on May 27. The company name now aligns with its flagship development asset in Chile, the Marimaca project, which is one of the largest copper discoveries in Northern Chile.
In January, the company provided an updated and expanded mineral resource estimate for the asset. On June 1, Marimaca published the results of a detailed trade-off analysis for the development of its flagship; it was conducted by independent consultant Gestion y Economia Minera Limitada.
The most significant Q3 news for Marimaca came in August, when the company published the results of a preliminary economic assessment, showing average annual steady state copper production over the first six years of close to 40,000 tonnes of cathode.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.