Great Bear Resources Ltd. (TSX: V.GBROTCQB: GTBDF)

One of the biggest winners in the world of mining over the past year is a junior gold exploration company, Great Bear Resources. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words”. In this case, however, mining investors may choose to abbreviate the chart below with a single word: “ten-bagger”.

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The Company’s Dixie Gold Project has been generating a series of exciting drilling intercepts. This has propelled GBR’s share price from roughly $0.50 a year ago to a new all-time high above $4 per share in recent days.

Wallbridge Mining Company Limited (TSX: WMOTCQB: WLBMFForum)  +400% 1-year return

This is another junior gold mining company that is generating considerable “buzz” through exceptional high-grade drilling results. But while Wallbridge hasn’t risen as far as Great Bear over the past year (its shares have ‘only’ quadrupled), WM’s drilling results have arguably been even stronger.

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Here are some of the numbers that have been pushing the Company’s share price higher:

  • 260.4 g/t Au over 7.02 meters
  • 311.1 g/t Au over 3.06 meters
  • 141.2 g/t Au over 7.06 meters
  • 137.63 g/t Au over 4.10 meters

Huge numbers. And Wallbridge is currently harvesting some of this ultra-high grade gold in a “bulk sample” that is expected to yield in excess of CAD$30 million.

Royal Nickel Corp. (TSX: RNXOTCQB: RNKLFForum)  +250% 1-year return

Now doing business as “RNX Minerals”, this is another high-flying mining company that has soared higher from its gold mining operations. A major discovery at RNX’s Beta Hunt Mine in 2018 caused the share price to explode.

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Year-over-year, the Company has recorded roughly a 250% gain, but that misses part of the story here. Its current share price ($0.63) is 9X above its 52-week low of $0.07. And for any fortuitous investor who bought in at the bottom on September 7, 2018, could have reaped as much as a 1700% gain if they sold at the high on September 24, 2018 – just 2 ½ weeks. For these reasons, RNX has consistently topped Stockhouse’s list of most popular Metals & Mining stocks over recent months.

Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (TSX: KLNYSE: KLForum)  +250% 1-year return

Also generating a strong return for investors over the past year is large-cap gold producer, Kirkland Lake Gold. While the world’s very largest gold producers are notorious for being bloated, under-performing behemoths, Kirkland Lake is simply a well-run gold mining company.

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The Company is cresting to a new 52-week high on the back of “record earnings and cash flow” for both Q4 and the full-year 2018.

Gran Columbia Gold Corp. (TSX: GCMOTCQB: TPRXFForum)  +100% 1-year return

This mid-tier gold mining company isn’t only benefitting from a rising gold price. This is a successful turnaround story where management has raised output, significantly reduced cash costs, and dramatically cleaned up its balance sheet.

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The market has been rewarding GCM for its success on the operational front. Meanwhile, the Company provides investors with a big long-term upside as it moves its huge Marmato Deposit (~8 million ounces gold) toward full production.

First Majestic Silver Corp (TSX: FRNYSE: AGForum)  +38% 3-month return

More recently, some of the silver mining companies have started to move, with large-cap producer First Majestic Silver setting the pace. First Majestic is one of the purest silver producers on the planet, and most of its non-silver byproducts are gold credits.

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With six-producing mines located in Mexico (the global capital for silver production), a high commitment to mine efficiency, and a rising production profile, First Majestic’s share price has been leveraging recent gains in the price of silver.

Silvercorp Metals Inc. (TSX: SVMNYSE American: SVMForum)  +38% 3-month return

This is a mid-tier silver producer based in China that also has a very high ratio of silver in the production from its three mining complexes (the Ying Mine District is actually a collection of four, separate mines). Thus this is another company that can provide strong leverage on a rising silver price.

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Like First Majestic, this is a silver mining company that has just started to move higher and (like First Majestic) is well off of historic highs – despite steadily advancing operations. Silvercorp’s management also has a strong efficiency focus and has introduced innovative mine protocols to boost output.

Why mention these silver mining companies, instead of selecting additional gold mining companies with more robust 1-year returns? Think “the Tortoise and the Hare”.

When precious metals start to rally, it’s generally gold (and gold mining companies) that jump out of the starting blocks first. But in any major precious metals rally, it’s always silver that crosses the finish line first. Always. And a recent Stockhouse feature shone the spotlight on this most-brilliant precious metal.

The gold sector has been generating some strong returns (unevenly) for several months, and longer than that for some of the stronger performers. Silver mining stocks have only begun to rally. For investors who believe that “this is the year” for precious metals, the vast majority of these precious metals mining companies remain very cheap.