Gold nuggets surrounded by stock performance graphs
(Source: Adobe Stock. Generated by AI.)

Canadian mining investors are in a privileged position when it comes to gold stocks thanks to the country’s long history of production and high-grade discoveries, particularly in Quebec, Ontario, Newfoundland and British Columbia.

Gold production reached 204 tonnes or C$13.2 billion in 2022, representing about a 100 per cent jump since 2013, ranking us as the fourth-largest global producer behind Russia, Australia and China. Numerous projects being explored to improve our position in the coming years.

With gold reaching an all-time-high in May, roughly doubling since 2019, and the metal’s price expected to remain elevated as inflation slowly descends from its post-pandemic fervor, now is the perfect time to highlight the best-performing stocks in Canada’s gold industrial complex that offer the potential for outsized returns.

How we picked Canada’s best-performing gold stocks

Our stock selection process began with The Globe and Mail stock screener. We set the screener to sort for companies in the basic materials sector with the highest year-over-year returns and a maximum market capitalization of C$4 billion to leave room for further growth. For comparison, the largest gold stock with operations in Canada and listed on a Canadian exchange is Barrick Gold (TSX:ABX) at C$41.35 billion.

We then scrutinized the list, beginning from the highest return, for gold stocks with at least one project in Canada. Here they are, in brief:

  • Pacific Empire Minerals: 75 per cent return.
  • Orogen Royalties: 113.73 per cent return.
  • Northisle Copper and Gold: 118.75 per cent return.
  • American Eagle Gold: 123.33 per cent return.
  • Pegasus Resources: 150 per cent return.
  • Benton Resources: 166.67 per cent return.
  • Sanatana Resources: 183.33 per cent return.
  • PJX Resources: 250 per cent return.
  • Troubadour Resources: 300 per cent return.
  • Bedford Metals: 4,060 per cent return.
  • (Returns, prices and market capitalizations are as of July 8, 2024).

To build a little anticipation, let’s begin with the last Canadian gold stock on our list, a district-scale explorer on the West Coast looking to break ground in the fall.

10 best-performing Canadian gold stocks

10. Pacific Empire Minerals: 75 per cent return

Pacific Empire Minerals, market cap C$4.89 million, explores primarily for copper, as well as gold and silver, across its 22,541-hectare portfolio in central British Columbia.

The junior miner’s 6,618-hectare Trident porphyry project features multiple mineralized zones and high-grade historical drilling as high as 2.18 grams per tonne (g/t) of gold over 3 metres and 2.73 per cent copper over 2 m.

Its 15,478-hectare Pinnacle project is notable for its widespread gold mineralization and historical intercepts of 6 m grading 6.4 g/t gold in 1990, 94 m grading 0.34 g/t gold in 2015 and 41.3 m of 0.42 g/t gold in 2016. More drill targets are currently being developed.

Management plans to drill a new major copper-gold porphyry target on Trident in September 2024 identified from a recent airborne geophysical survey.

Pacific Empire Minerals stock (TSXV:PEMC) last traded at C$0.035 per share.

9. Orogen Royalties: 113.73 per cent return

Orogen Royalties, market cap C$219.06 million, is a generator and acquirer of royalties on precious and base metal discoveries in western North America. The company’s flagship net smelter return royalties include:

  • 2 per cent on First Majestic Silver’s Ermitaño gold and silver mine in Sonora, Mexico, which achieved record 2023 production of 100,000 ounces of gold and 1.2 million ounces of silver and boasts substantial exploration upside.
  • 1 per cent on AngloGold Ashanti’s Expanded Silicon project in Nevada, which houses 13.3 million ounces of gold resources, representing one of the largest discoveries in the United States over the past decade.

These properties are part of a larger global portfolio composed of 25 royalties, including five gold and copper royalties in British Columbia and Northwest Territories, in addition to eight properties under option, 11 available projects and one exploration alliance, with four drill programs expected in 2024 alone.

Since forming in 2020, Orogen has reached profitability, pulling in C$840,000 in 2022 and C$3.04 million in 2023, with up to C$5 million in royalty revenue expected in 2024, and C$18.5 million in cash as of Q2 2024 for management to actively evaluate a growing project pipeline.

Orogen Royalties stock (TSXV:OGN) last traded at C$1.09 per share.

8. Northisle Copper and Gold: 118.75 per cent return

Northisle Copper and Gold, market cap C$81.85 million, owns one of Canada’s most promising copper and gold porphyry projects; namely, the more than 34,000-hectare North Island Project near Port Hardy, B.C.

The project’s 2021 preliminary economic assessment (PEA) derives a C$1.1 billion net present value (8 per cent) from annual production of 96 million pounds of copper and 100,000 ounces of gold over a 22-year mine life. These figures, based on base-case prices of US$3.25 per pound of copper and US$1,650 per ounce of gold, are significantly understated at current prices of about US$4.60 and US$2,360, respectively.

Northisle will develop North Island toward a new PEA through drilling and an updated resource estimate scheduled for later this year, offering catalysts for the stock to build upon its 483 per cent return since 2019.

Northisle Copper and Gold stock (TSXV:NCX) last traded at C$0.35 per share.

7. American Eagle Gold: 123.33 per cent return

Our next Canadian gold stock, American Eagle Gold, market cap C$89.15 million, is exploring its NAK copper-gold porphyry project in west-central B.C. Historical drilling and exploration work at NAK dates back to the 1960s, but tested only to shallow depths, revealing a near-surface copper-gold system measuring over 1.5 km x 1.5 km.

American Eagle’s drilling campaigns in 2022 and 2023 yielded large intervals of high-grade copper-gold mineralization beyond historical results – including 302 m of 1.09 per cent copper equivalent (CuEq) within 606 m of 0.74 per cent CuEq – setting it up to move closer to an economically extractable resource with 2024 drilling.

The gold stock broke ground on a 15,000-m drilling program in May to link, better define, and expand upon 2022 and 2023 results backed by C$15 million in its treasury, and has already discovered new outcropping copper mineralization to the southeast. Investors can expect assay results to be released into 2025, including through the winter, thanks to NAK’s year-round infrastructure.

American Eagle Gold stock (TSXV:AE) last traded at C$0.67 per share.

6. Pegasus Resources: 150 per cent return

Pegasus Resources, market cap C$3.65 million, is a diversified junior mining stock focused on uranium, copper, vanadium, silver and gold properties in North America. Highlight assets include:

  • The 1,560-hectare Energy Sands uranium project in Utah, where Q1 2024 sampling reached as high as 18.87 per cent uranium and 6.21 per cent vanadium, granting management numerous prospective targets for drilling in Q3.
  • The 6,029-hectare Pine Channel property in Saskatchewan, which is underlain at shallow depths by the Tanto Domain and its numerous uranium, copper, nickel and gold occurrences, and benefits from historical work dating back to the 1970s.
  • The almost 7,000-hectare Golden project in British Columbia, where historical work can be traced back to the 1930s, and 2023 exploration returned seven samples over 0.13 g/t gold, extending a gold-bearing quartz vein to up to 200 m along strike.

Management is primarily focused on developing its uranium projects in 2024, but is actively evaluating follow-up exploration at Golden contingent on available capital.

Pegasus Resources stock (TSXV:PEGA) last traded at C$0.18 per share.

5. Benton Resources: 166.67 per cent return

Benton Resources, market cap C$31.21 million, offers exposure to a diversified portfolio of 10 properties across Canada spanning gold, copper, silver, platinum, palladium and nickel, in addition to numerous large equity positions in other miners.

The junior miner’s flagship high-grade Great Burnt project in Newfoundland boasts a mineral resource estimate of 53.2 million pounds of copper indicated and 28.4 million pounds of copper inferred.

In terms of future growth, Great Burn has yielded six known copper-gold-silver zones over a combined 15 km, each of which is open for expansion across extensive untested geophysical targets and copper-gold soil anomalies. Highlights from ongoing phase-3 drilling on the property include:

  • Expanding copper mineralization by 150 m down plunge at the Great Burn deposit.
  • Trench samples at the South Pond area returning up to 9.91 g/t gold.
  • Regional soil sampling identifying a new 2-km-long trend of anomalous gold to be immediately followed up on.

Benton Resources stock (TSXV:BEX) last traded at C$0.16 per share.

4. Sanatana Resources: 183.33 per cent return

Sanatana Resources, market cap C$7.90 million, is building shareholder value through the exploration and development of its 31,077-hectare Oweegee Dome copper-gold porphyry property in B.C.’s Golden Triangle.

Sanatana exploration campaigns at Oweegee have substantiated a porphyry system over 4 km long, as highlighted by an interval of 214.5 m of 0.204 g/t gold from 2022 drilling. This bodes well for investors given the project’s geologically similar neighbors only 40 km to the east, including the globally significant KSM-Brucejack-Treaty Creek base and precious metal deposits (slide 7).

The gold and copper stock will begin a 3,000-m drilling campaign later this month targeting the richly mineralized 1-km-by-2-km Junction-induced polarization anomaly.

Sanatana Resources stock (TSXV:STA) last traded at C$0.085 per share.

3. PJX Resources: 250 per cent return

PJX Resources, market cap C$54.96 million, holds eight projects spanning more than 68,000 hectares prospective for gold, silver, zinc, lead, copper and nickel in the historical Sullivan mine district and Vulcan gold belt near Cranbrook and Kimberley, B.C.

The junior miner has identified more than 20 gold and base metal targets across its portfolio, which it believes to be located within a new potentially major gold mining camp. These are highlighted by:

  • The Dewdney Trail property’s large-tonnage gold prospects.
  • The Vine property’s historical non-NI-43-101 resource estimate of 1.3 million tonnes grading 2.2 g/t gold, 36.3 g/t silver, 3.12 per cent lead, 3.12 per cent zinc and 0.11 per cent copper.

A recent C$3.6 million financing will allow PJX to pursue new exploration efforts in the hopes of generating positive news flow – such as January’s high-grade zinc discovery at Dewdney – and capturing more leverage above the price of its target commodities.

PJX Resources stock (TSXV:PJX) last traded at C$0.32 per share.

2. Troubadour Resources: 300 per cent return

Troubadour Resources, market cap C$4.12 million, is a North American mineral explorer and project acquirer specialized in battery and precious metals. The company’s focus is on drill-ready properties with high upside and expansion potential, as evidenced by its pair of projects in Southern B.C.

The high-grade 3,215-hectare Texas gold and silver project features multiple near-surface polymetallic veins and bulk-tonnage potential, with only 10 per cent of the property having seen detailed exploration to date. Phase-1 drilling returned a highlight of 9.13 g/t gold and 25.70 g/t silver over 0.9 m, including 627 parts per million (ppm) copper, 147 ppm lead and 2,681 ppm zinc.

The 6,201-hectare Amarillo project resides in close proximity to and is geochemically similar to some of Canada’s most important copper producers. This includes the past-producing Brenda Mine, which yielded 278,000 tonnes of copper, 66,000 tonnes of molybdenum, 125 tonnes of silver and 2 tonnes of gold over a 20-year mine life.

Drilling at Amarillo in 2019 encountered extensive lengths of highly anomalous copper, zinc, molybdenum, silver and gold, allowing the company to build a robust set of targets for further field work and drilling guided by a property-wide airborne geophysical survey.

Troubadour Resources stock (TSXV:TR) last traded at C$0.20 per share.

1. Bedford Metals: 4,060 per cent return

Bedford Metals, market cap C$82.49 million, is a junior miner on the hunt for gold and uranium across three properties indicative of long-term shareholder value.

Its 687-hectare Margurete gold project, 200 km northwest of Vancouver, contains gold at surface grading up to 6.18 g/t and benefits from exploration work in the surrounding region dating back to 1986.

Its 1,382-hectare Ubiquity Lake uranium project resides next to numerous rich deposits on the southern edge of Saskatchewan’s Athabasca Basin, the world’s premier region for uranium production. The property features high-grade outcrop and float samples aligned with anomalies from historical electromagnetic surveys. Bedford announced a multi-phase work program in May composed of surveying, mapping and sampling.

Finally, the company’s 245-hectare Close Lake uranium project on the eastern side of the Athabasca Basin adjoins claims held by Cameco, the largest uranium producer in the world.

The rapid ascent in Bedford’s share price can be attributed to its recent acquisition history, with the transactions for Ubiquity and Close Lake closing in April and May 2024, respectively. A third uranium property, Sheppard Lake, is currently undergoing due diligence towards a definitive agreement.

Bedford Metals stock (TSXV:BFM) last traded at C$2.08 per share.

The risks of investing in gold stocks

Before we get into the nitty gritty of turning your cash into shares, it’s only right to paint a well-rounded picture of what you’re getting into.

The main point of note about investing in gold stocks is that gold is a sentiment-based asset used primarily for investment and jewelry, with minimal applications across the industrial and technology sectors.

Consequently, the price of gold will mirror whether the global economy encourages or disincentivizes people from piling on the bling, as it will with the rate of inflation, driven by the yellow metal’s popular but unpractically long-term capabilities as a hedge against rising prices.

Additionally, while the price per ounce has risen from about US$64 in the early 1970s to almost $2,400 as of Monday, gold has produced negative returns over multiple decades, and has in fact merely preserved its value since ancient times. A globally diversified portfolio of stocks, on the other hand, has averaged about 5 per cent above inflation over the past century.

All this is to say that you should prepare to endure extreme volatility as a gold investor, which will only be magnified by junior gold stocks’ pre-revenue operations, high reliance on financing and heightened sensitivity to macroeconomic pressures. This is why it’s paramount for every stock to go through extensive due diligence before landing in your portfolio.

A step-by-step guide to buying Canadian gold stocks

  1. Risk-adjust your investment by evaluating the gold stock’s business plan and keeping your allocation small enough to sleep well at night.
  2. Chose the right account depending on your financial goals. Canadians enjoying a robust set of options, including:
    • The Registered Retirement Saving Plan, or RRSP, where investors can deduct contributions from their taxable income, subject to certain limits, and defer taxes on their investments.
    • The Tax-Free Savings Account, or TFSA, which allows you to invest subject to yearly limits and pay no taxes on any investment gains.
    • Canadians also have access to taxable, disability and education-centric accounts depending on their needs.
  3. Sign up with a reputable low-cost provider such as Questrade or Wealthsimple if you feel capable of investing with no help or advice. You can also sign up for a managed account with these providers or with Canada’s Big Six banks – Royal Bank, TD Bank, Bank of Montreal, Scotiabank, CIBC and National Bank – to have someone oversee your investments for you.
  4. Input your order by locating the trading or buying section of your chosen provider’s platform and typing in the company’s stock ticker, which you can find by using the search bar on Stockhouse. Then specify the number of shares you’d like to buy and a limit price one or two cents above the ask price to ensure your order is filled. Finally, set the order to be good through today and hit the “buy” button.
  5. Rebalance by keeping your gold stock allocation in line with the figure determined in step 1. To keep costs low, you can achieve this exclusively through new purchases, avoiding any transaction costs associated with selling shares.

Where do you stand on gold’s role in a portfolio? What other explorers and producers should investors know about?

Join the discussion: Find out what everybody’s saying about these Canadian gold stocks on the Orogen Royalties Inc., Northisle Copper and Gold Inc., Pegasus Resources Inc., American Eagle Gold Corp., Sanatana Resources Inc., Pacific Empire Minerals Corp., PJX Resources Inc., Benton Resources Inc., Troubadour Resources Inc. and Bedford Metals Corp. Bullboards, and check out Stockhouse’s stock forums and message boards.

The material provided in this article is for information only and should not be treated as investment advice. For full disclaimer information, please click here.

(Top photo, generated by AI: Adobe Stock)

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