What are the best copper stocks on the TSX so far this year? These five companies have seen the biggest gains year-to-date.
The copper price has fallen from grace in 2018, dipping below the $3-per-pound mark, but some companies focused on the base metal have still enjoyed gains.
With Q3 over and done, the Investing News Network has rounded up the best copper stocks on the TSX by share price performance so far this year. All have experienced positive momentum at their copper assets in 2018, with the biggest gainer being up nearly 100 percent year-to-date.
All year-to-date and share price information was obtained at close of day on October 8 from TradingView. All companies listed had market caps above C$50 million at that time.
1. Nevsun Resources (TSX:NSU,NYSEAMERICAN:NSU)
Year-to-date gain: 88.56 percent; current share price: C$5.77
With roots dating back to 1965, Nevsun Resources is a Canadian mining company focused on base metals. It currently runs two primary operations: the Bisha copper-zinc mine in Eritrea, and the Timok copper-gold project in Serbia. Nevsun also owns exploration properties in these areas and in Macedonia.
Nevsun’s biggest news in recent months has been a stunning takeover bid from Zijin Mining (HKEX:2899), which came in at C$1.86-billion in September. While fellow miner Lundin Mining (TSX:LUN) put forth a formal bid for Nevsun in July, the company advised shareholders to take no action. Nevsun’s board of directors has since unanimously recommended company shareholders accept the Zijin offer.
2. Trilogy Metals (TSX:TMQ,NYSEAMERICAN:TMQ)
Year-to-date gain: 80.58 percent; current share price: C$2.51
Once a subsidiary of NovaGold Resources (TSX:NG,NYSEAMERICAN:NG) and named NovaCopper during its 2011 incorporation, Trilogy Metals has since emerged as an explorer with a focus on assets in Alaska. The company has two projects in the state’s Ambler Mining District, Arctic and Bornite. While Bornite is made up of copper and cobalt, Arctic features copper, zinc, lead, gold and silver.
While the company’s third quarter primarily saw news of Q2 financial results and a cobalt resource estimate for Bornite, Trilogy’s share price saw gains following August drill results. The company rose over 11 percent the day after it announced drilling a mineralized interval of 16.4 meters grading 5.34 percent copper and 0.21 cobalt at Bornite.
3. Atalaya Mining (TSX:AYM,LSE:ATYM)
Year-to-date gain: 68.65 percent; current share price: C$4.25
Originally named Eastern Mediterranean Resources Public when it began trading on the AIM in 2005, today Atalaya Mining is primarily focused on its wholly owned Proyecto Riotinto copper mine in Spain. The company is also involved in an earn-in agreement to acquire 80 percent of the Proyecto Touro copper project, also located in Spain.
Atalaya’s third quarter came with some necessary housekeeping, like operation updates and financial statements, but also saw growth in Proyecto Riotinto’s mineral resources and reserves. An update to the project’s resources and reserves estimate brought a 29-percent increase in mineral reserves, with contained copper growing 21 percent to 822,000 tonnes.
4. Ero Copper (TSX:ERO)
Year-to-date gain: 50.79 percent; current share price: C$11.43
A copper producer with assets in Northeastern Brazil, Ero Copper’s primary focus is ongoing production at its MCSA Mining Complex in the country’s Bahia State. The company is also working on a development project, Boa Esperanҫa, located in Pará State with first production docketed for 2022.
While Ero saw a relatively quiet third quarter, things ramped up near the end with announcements of new discoveries and increased reserves and resources. Early September brought an updated mineral reserve and resource estimate for its Vale do Curaçá property, part of the MCSA Mining Complex, which grew over 100 percent. Meanwhile, in late September, the company found a new mineralized zone east of its Vermelhos mine, discovered after the intersection of 76.7 meters grading 2.2 percent copper.
5. Sierra Metals (TSX:SMT,NYSEAMERICAN:SMTS)
Year-to-date gain: 16.84 percent; current share price: C$3.47
Formerly known as Dia Bras Exploration, Sierra Metals began exploration and development work in Mexico in 2003. Since then, the company has expanded and now owns the Bolivar copper-zinc-silver mine and the Cusi silver-lead mine in Mexico, along with an 82-percent share of the Yauricocha silver-lead-zinc-copper-gold mine in Peru. The company also has ongoing exploration activity in both countries.
One of the major highlights for Sierra in Q3 came in July through the results of a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) at Bolivar, which indicated potential for a 67-percent output expansion to 5,000 tonnes per day. According to the report, this would yield a return on investment of 550 percent. Sierra’s share price surged almost 10 percent on August 22, a day before the company filed a technical report on the aforementioned PEA.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Olivia Da Silva, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.