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Top 5 Junior Copper Stocks on the TSXV in 2023

Copper has faced ups and downs in 2023, but as of mid-July prices were higher than where they started the year.

Many experts are optimistic about the red metal’s future because of its role in the energy transition, but in the short term it’s facing concerns about the health of economies around the world — especially China, which is a key consumer of copper.

Despite those challenges, some small-cap copper stocks have been making big moves this year.

The top junior copper stocks list below was generated on July 14, 2023, using TradingView’s stock screener, and it shows the TSXV-listed copper companies with the biggest share price gains year-to-date. Only companies with market capitalizations greater than C$10 million at the time data was gathered are included. Read on to find what’s been driving these stocks.

1. Minsud Resources (TSXV:MSR)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 357.69 percent; market cap: C$179.46 million; current share price: C$1.19

Minsud Resources is an exploration company focused on its flagship Chita Valley copper-molybdenum-silver-gold project in Argentina, which it owns via its wholly owned subsidiary Minera Sud Argentina (MSA).

In 2019, South32 (ASX:S32,LSE:S32,OTC Pink:SHTLF) subsidiary South32 Aluminum signed an earn-in agreement with MSA that gave it the option to acquire up to a 50.1 percent direct interest in MSA at the end of a four year earn-in period. On April 13, South32 Aluminum exercised its earn-in right for MSA. Completion of the acquisition will take place either on February 14, 2024, or at the completion of the fourth year of exploration at Chita Valley — whichever comes first.

Minsud’s share price has trended up throughout the year, but it really began to move at the end of April. It reached its 2023 peak on June 29, hitting C$1.51, but has since moved lower. The latest news from the company came in May, when it released results from a Phase 4 scout drilling program at Chita Valley and granted stock options.

2. Camino Minerals (TSXV:COR)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 216.67 percent; market cap: C$16.47 million; current share price: C$0.095

Camino Minerals is a Peru-focused copper explorer that is working to build a portfolio of advanced copper assets; it currently holds the Los Chapitos copper project, the Maria Cecilia copper porphyry project and the Plata Dorada copper-silver project. Camino is primarily focused on advancing Los Chapitos, which is located in an iron oxide-copper-gold (IOCG) belt in the Coastal Cordillera region.

The copper company’s share price has soared this year after starting 2023 off at C$0.03. Camino’s first news came on February 1, when it announced a letter of intent for a partnership with Nittetsu Mining (TSE:1515); the latter company could earn 35 percent of Los Chapitos over three years for total payments and expenditures of C$10.1 million. According to the release, Nittetsu’s Atacama Kozan copper mine in Chile was developed from an IOCG deposit like Los Chapitos.

Camino continued to move upward as the year progressed, hitting its 2023 high point of C$0.12 on two occasions in April and one in May. On June 14, the company made its deal with Nittetsu official with a definitive agreement.

“Nittetsu is an experienced copper mining operator and a partner that is focussed on funding our Los Chapitos Project towards a development decision,” said Camino President and CEO Jay Chmelauskas.

Most recently, Camino received additional drilling permits for Los Chapitos, increasing its permitted area to 6,012 hectares. The company said this will allow it to pursue copper exploration in new areas of known mineralization.

3. DLP Resources (TSXV:DLP)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 208.7 percent; market cap: C$47.58 million; current share price: C$0.71

Exploration company DLP Resources is focused on base metals and cobalt projects in Southeast BC and Peru. In 2023, much of its work has been focused on the Peru-based Aurora porphyry copper-molybdenum project.

DLP’s share price performed consistently for much of Q1, moving in the C$0.27 to C$0.30 range. The company saw its first significant jump of the year to C$0.395 on March 21, two days before it announced a non-brokered private placement to raise gross proceeds of C$1,500,000. DLP later upsized the placement to C$1,712,500 on March 24, and closed it on April 6.

DLP has released drill results from Aurora periodically in 2023, and as of June 12 had shared findings from six holes in total. The company has described the copper-molybdenum mineralization as ‘very encouraging.’ On June 20, the company announced plans to drill a 1,700 meter hole at the NZOU critical metals project in Southeast BC, Canada

DLP hit C$0.71, its highest share price so far in 2023, on both July 10 and July 14.

4. Collective Mining (TSXV:CNL)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 126.44 percent; market cap: C$312.39 million; current share price: C$5.91

Collective Mining describes itself as a copper, silver and gold exploration company. Founded by the team that developed and sold Continental Gold to China’s Zijin Mining (OTC Pink:ZIJMF,HKEX:2899), the company has options to acquire two projects in Colombia. Its flagship is Guayabales, which hosts the Apollo target, and Collective also holds the San Antonio project.

Collective has been active at Apollo this year, and began a Phase 2 drill program on January 17. Company shares took off toward the end February, around the time it announced assay results for hole APC-31, the first to test the mineralized outcrop of the Apollo porphyry system. Collective reported an intersection of 384.7 meters at 2.46 grams per metric ton (g/t) gold equivalent (consisting of 1.17 g/t gold, 43 g/t silver and 0.37 percent copper), including 109.8 meters at 4.14 g/t gold equivalent from surface.

The company’s share price rose to its highest level in 2023 on May 9, reaching C$7, although it has remained elevated since then, staying close to C$6. Collective has continued to release results from Apollo, and most recently shared assay results from two holes designed to test depth extensions and high-grade mineralization within the system.

‘The Apollo system continues to deliver unusually high-grade intercepts for a porphyry deposit over significant core lengths with today’s results being two of the longest holes ever drilled by the Company,’ said Executive Chairman Ari Sussman.

5. NGEx Minerals (TSXV:NGEX)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 126.54 percent; market cap: C$1.2 billion; current share price: C$7

NGEx Minerals is focused on copper and gold. Its primary asset is the Los Helados copper-gold project in Chile, and the company also has a portfolio of exploration properties in Argentina, including the Valle Ancho copper-gold project and the Potro Cliffs copper-gold exploration target near Los Helados. In February, NGEx was named to the TSX Venture 50 list.

On March 31, NGEx released its 2022 full-year results. The company provided a summary of its activities throughout last year, including its discovery of the Fenix and Alicanto zones at Los Helados and the December receipt of permits for its maiden drill program at the Potro Cliffs target; the program commenced in January.

NGEx’s share price jumped from C$4.40 to C$5.49 on April 4, when the company announced a new discovery at Potro Cliffs. According to a release, NGEx interpreted the results as the “first intercepts into the edges of a major new copper-gold system.” One highlight interval was 60 meters at 5.65 percent copper, including 10 meters at 14.19 percent copper equivalent.

NGEx confirmed its discovery at Potro Cliffs on July 4, when it shared the results from the final seven drill holes completed in the area for the season. The company has named the high-grade copper-gold-silver find Lunahuasi, and said it is the Lundin Group’s fourth greenfields discovery in the Vicuña district — the three others are the Filo del Sol, Los Helados and Josemaria deposits.

Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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