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“Some of it’s battery metal exposure, it’s construction,” he said. “But also on the supply side, the lack of development projects and the higher permitting risk combined with more geopolitical risk in two of the major producers, Chile and Peru. They might have issues with production into a market (where) demand might grow.”
The list below shows the top-performing TSX-listed copper stocks by share price performance so far this year. It was generated on June 13, 2022, using TradingView’s stock screener, and only TSX copper companies with market capitalizations greater than C$50 million at that time are included.
Year-to-date gain: 75.33 percent; current share price: C$22.39
Filo Mining is focused on advancing its Filo del Sol copper-gold–silver project in Chile along the Chile-Argentina border. It is currently performing drill programs at the project. According to the company, “(Filo del Sol’s) complex geological history has created a heterogeneous orebody which is characterized by zones of very high-grade copper +/- gold +/- silver mineralization within a large envelope of more homogeneous, lower-grade mineralization.”
Filo’s share price began to see significant growth in mid-March after it closed a C$100 million strategic investment from BHP Western Mining Resources, which is a subsidiary of BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BHP). The company’s share price rose to reach a peak of C$24.44 on April 18 before falling through mid-May to C$16.62, during which time it shared its first quarter results. However, the day after that low, Filo’s share price rocketed back up on positive drill results that extended the Breccia 41 zone.
“A remarkable result; hole 57 extends the bonanza-grade Breccia 41 mineralization another 175m to the north, building on the potential volume of this extremely high-grade rock,” President and CEO Jamie Beck said. “Prior to reaching target depth, the hole ended in the highest-grade copper we’ve ever reported at Filo del Sol.” Further positive exploration news continued to drive the company’s share price, culminating in a year-to-date high of C$26.58 on June 2. On June 3, Filo shared that it has been included in the S&P/TSX Composite Index.
2. Turquoise Hill Resources (TSX:TRQ)
Year-to-date gain: 71.63 percent; market capitalization: C$7.41 billion; current share price: C$35.70
Turquoise Hill Resources operates the Oyu Tolgoi copper-gold mine in Mongolia, which it claims has the potential to operate for 100 years from five deposits. Oyu Tolgoi is jointly owned by Turquoise Hill (66 percent) and Mongolian government-owned entity Erdenes Oyu Tolgoi (34 percent). Turquoise Hill itself is 50.8 percent owned by Rio Tinto (ASX:RIO,NYSE:RIO,LSE:RIO), which is the operator of Oyu Tolgoi. The mine has been in production since 2013.
The company performed positively through mid-March, when Rio Tinto proposed a plan to buy the remaining 49.2 percent of Turquoise Hill that it does not already own for C$34 per share. The news drove Turquoise Hill’s share price even higher, rising from C$25.68 on the previous trading day to C$34.02 on the day of the announcement. Shares have only gained from there, hitting a year-to-date high of C$38.58 on April 13. On April 7, Turquoise Hill shared that it had created a special committee to review the proposal, although that should not be considered a guarantee that the deal will be completed. On May 18, the company announced amendments to the arrangement.
In other news, Turquoise Hill shared its Q1 operating results for Oyu Tolgoi, as well as its financial results for the same period. Copper and gold production came in lower year-on-year, but that was expected and numbers are still in line with previous guidance. The company’s most recent news came on June 14, when it announced that on June 17 the first drawbell of the Hugo North mine at Oyu Tolgoi is scheduled to be fired.
Year-to-date gain: 13.01 percent; market capitalization: C$294.51 million; current share price: C$1.65
Amerigo Resources operates its MVC project in Chile. The company produces copper and a molybdenum by-product using fresh and historic tailings from Codelco’s El Teniente mine. The company is strongly focused on environmental, social and governance tenets, and as of 2020 all of its electricity was from renewable sources.
Amerigo’s share price has been slowly ascending throughout 2022. The company started the year with the release of its 2021 production results and 2022 guidance, in which it shared that its copper production for 2021 came in 4 percent over guidance at 63.4 million pounds. Then, on February 24, the company announced it had achieved record revenue in 2021 of US$199.6 million, up from its 2020 revenue of US$126.4 million.
Amerigo saw its strongest share price performance through the news-less month of March, when it rose to a year-to-date high of C$1.92. The company went on to share its Q1 production results, reporting 16.5 million pounds of copper, as well as its Q1 financial results, achieving net income of US$15.5 million. Since its March highs, the company’s performance has weakened, but it is still up year-to-date.
4. PolyMet Mining (TSX:POM)
Year-to-date gain: 8.52 percent; market capitalization: C$371.38 million; current share price: C$3.44
PolyMet Mining’s flagship project is its NorthMet copper-nickel project, which is also expected to produce cobalt and precious metals. NorthMet has proven and probable reserves of 290 million metric tons (MT) grading 0.288 percent copper and 0.083 percent nickel. The future mine is located in Minnesota, US, in the Duluth Complex. The company is working to secure permits that will allow it to begin mining.
Although PolyMet’s share price performed relatively flatly for the early part of the year, it saw a spike from C$3.74 on March 7 to C$5.06 the following day; the company released no news to accompany this spike. PolyMet fell back down to the C$4 to C$4.50 range in the following weeks, during which time it shared its 2021 financial results and a Q1 business update. Its share price did experience another spike, hitting a year-to-date high of C$5.17, this time following the March 29 news that Senior Vice President Richard Lock was moving on. Since then, PolyMet has fallen significantly. The only news since then is its Q1 financial results and a business update.
5. First Quantum Minerals (TSX:FM)
Year-to-date gain: 5.98 percent; market capitalization: C$23.69 billion; current share price: C$32.08
First Quantum Minerals employs over 20,000 people globally, and has seven copper operations across Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, as well as a nickel mine in Australia. It is one of the top 10 copper producers in the world, and produces gold, zinc and cobalt in addition to copper and nickel. As part of its climate change policy, the company has set out a path to achieve a 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
First Quantum’s share price has seen multiple peaks so far in 2022. Its highest performance came in late March, during which time the company released multiple pieces of news, including an updated technical report for its Ravensthorpe nickel project. The company saw a year-to-date high of C$44.96 on April 4. Later that month, it announced its Q1 results, including copper production of 182,210 MT in Q1, down 10 percent from Q4 2021. The company also shared that its board of directors appointed a new CEO, Tristan Pascall, and approved the S3 expansion at the Kansanshi copper mine. A new processing plant and larger mining fleet will bring the mine’s annual throughput to 53 million MT per year.
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Securities Disclosure: I, Lauren Kelly, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.
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