Gold and gold companies have had a tumultuous year following insolvency in the banking system and tensions continuing between Russia and Ukraine and violence starting during Q4 in the Middle East.
Simultaneously, economic forces from central banks attempts to control 40-year high inflation levels saw interest rates pushing investors away from the yellow metal.
Despite opposing market elements, the price of gold remained elevated in 2023 and approached record prices in May and November before breaking them in December. The high prices have been a boon for gold mining companies, helping drive profits and fund projects and expansions.
The five stocks below have seen the largest share price gains in the gold sector year-to-date on the TSX. The list was generated on November 27, 2023, using TradingView’s stock screener, and all companies listed had market caps above C$50 million at that time.
1. Collective Mining (TSXV:CNL)
Year-to-date gain: 52.49 percent; market cap: C$249.86 million; current share price: C$3.98
Collective Mining is a gold, copper and silver exploration company with focused interests in Caldas, Columbia. Its two projects, Guayabales and San Antonio, consolidate large portions of a mineral belt that surrounds Aris Mining’s (TSX:ARIS,NYSE:ARMN) Marmato mine and within a region with 10 operating mines.
The first quarter of the year saw Collective shares make significant gains on the back of exploration results at the Apollo target at its Guayabales project. The first of these on February 15, came from four step-out holes that extended the breccia system to a width of 395 meters and a depth of 915 meters with the deposit beginning at surface.
Testing results from the last of these holes, APC-31, was released on February 23 revealed the high grades at the Apollo target consisting of a 384.7 meter intercept with 1.17 grams per metric ton (g/t) gold, 43 g/t silver and 0.37 percent copper.
The company’s share price climbed steeply to reach a year-to-date high of C$7 on May 9 following a pair of press releases on March 30 and April 11 that indicated drilling results from Apollo had revealed higher quantities at near-surface depths. Executive Chairman Ari Sussman said he was “impressed with the sheer quantity and quality of mineralization.” Consistent results through Q2 and Q3 helped maintain prices around the C$6 mark.
Prices began trending down at the beginning of September along with a broader decline in the gold market despite continued good results from Guayabales, including news on October 11 of a new precious metal discovery, the Plutus target. Exploration at the site has been limited to one drill, but the company said one hole had encountered a large intercept of 0.97 g/t gold, 20 g/t silver and 0.04 percent copper over 136.45 meters.
On October 30, Collective also reported its best hole to date from a subzone at Apollo expanding the system to the north, west and at depth, with an intercept with 2.12 g/t gold, 36 g/t silver and 0.1 percent copper over 519.1 meters.
Shortly after, on November 7, the company announced it had encountered a high-grade tungsten deposit from the shallow portion of Apollo
2. Equinox Gold (TSX:EQX)
Year-to-date gain: 50.76 percent; market cap: C$2.1 billion; current share price: C$6.95
Equinox Gold is a mid-tier gold producer formed in late 2017 that is operating seven mines in the Americas: four in Brazil, one in Mexico and two in California, US. Additionally, the company is currently in the process of constructing its Greenstone project in Ontario, Canada, as well as undertaking expansions of three of its mines, namely Castle Mountain in California, Aurizona in Brazil and Los Filos in Mexico.
Shares in Equinox climbed at the beginning of 2023 alongside gains in the gold price, during which time it released its preliminary 2022 results, which included annual production of 532,319 ounces. These numbers were confirmed on February 21, when Equinox released its final 2022 report and provided its 2023 production guidance of 555,000 to 625,000 ounces of gold.
Equinox’s primary focus for the year was the construction of its Greenstone project, at which it expected to begin pouring gold in the first half of 2024. The mine will have annual production of over 400,000 ounces of gold per year in the first five years of its initial 14 year mine life.
In the company’s Q1 financial results released on May 2, Equinox President and CEO Greg Smith reported a good start to the year, with Greenstone ending the quarter 73 percent complete and permitting for Castle Mountain underway. Operations for the quarter produced 122,746 ounces of gold and brought in C$234.1 million in revenue.
The company’s share price shot up on May 2, as did the gold price, and Equinox hit a year-to-date high of C$7.76 on May 8. Share prices largely continued to track the price of gold throughout Q2 and Q3 as well.
On August 2, Equinox released its Q2 results showing the company was on track to meet its guidance targets. During the first half of the year, the company saw record production and revenue, having produced 260,408 ounces of gold and generated C$506 million in revenue during the H1 period.
Its most recent financial report released on October 31, the company reported another record-setting period, delivering its strongest third quarter yet, with production of 149,089 ounces of gold and revenue of C$285 million.
As for its most recent update on Greenstone, on November 20 Equinox reported it was 96 percent complete and that commissioning is underway. “The priority is now on completion and commissioning of the process plant, commissioning of the (tailings storage facility) and ramp up of mining and operations,” Smith stated.
3. Mawson Gold (TSX:MAW)
Year-to-date gain: 48.89 percent; market cap: C$101.97 million; current share price: C$0.335
Mawson Gold is a gold exploration company with two projects in Scandinavia. In Finland, Mawson wholly owns the Rajapalot gold-cobalt project and in Sweden it has an earn-in agreement for up to 85 percent of the Skellefteå North gold project. It also owns 51 percent of Southern Cross Gold (ASX:SXG,OTC Pink:SXGDF), which is focused on the Sunday Creek project in Australia.
Mawson experienced significant changes within its management team in 2023. On March 21, the company announced that then-CEO and Director Ivan Fairhall had resigned and would be replaced by Noora Ahola as interim CEO. Additionally, independent directors were announced on February 13 and October 27.
With no news being released from its operations in Sweden and Finland in 2023 and management instability, share prices trended down for the first three quarters of the year.
However, positive news for the year came from its subsidiary as Southern Cross posted several strong assay results from the Sunday Creek project in Victoria.
Despite strong results starting on February 28, with an intersect of 4.1 g/t over 18.6 meters, Mawson’s share price wasn’t affected until September 4, when Southern Cross announced its best hole drilled to date at Sunday Creek. The drill core contained 5.1 g/t gold over 404 meters, with 7 intersections containing over 100 g/t, including 2,679.8 g/t gold over 0.4 meters. After ending August at C$0.19, Mawson’s share price climbed to C$0.34 by September 13.
Mawson announced a plan on October 31 to split into three separate companies to create value for shareholders. The terms would see the sale of its Finnish assets to Springtide Capital Acquisitions, while Mawson would focus on its gold and uranium properties in Sweden, the latter of which it acquired in Q1. Lastly, Mawson’s shares in Southern Cross would be distributed to Mawson shareholders.
4. Eldorado Gold (TSX:ELD)
Year-to-date gain: 44.04 percent; market cap: C$3.33 billion; current share price: C$16.68
Eldorado Gold is a gold mining company with mines in Türkiye, Greece and Canada: the Efemçukuru underground and Kışladağ open pit gold mines in Türkiye, the Olympias gold-silver-lead-zinc mine in Greece and the Lamaque underground gold mine in Québec, Canada. The company is also developing its Skouries gold-copper project in Greece.
Shares in Eldorado have tracked with the price of gold this year, with highs being hit in early May as the price of gold climbed to near-record highs on the back of the banking crisis in the US.
The company also posted strong results throughout the year starting with the year end results for 2022 on February 23. In the release, Eldorado noted it had a full year gold production of 453,916 ounces of gold, with production climbing quarter by quarter following a challenging start to the year. Ultimately, production came in just 1 percent below its 2022 guidance.
The news coincided with the release of its 2023 production guidance outline and its five year growth profile. The company stated it expected to produce between 475,000 and 515,000 ounces of gold in 2023, with plans to grow production to 700,000 ounces by 2027.
In the company’s Q1 results posted on April 27, Eldorado indicated it was on track to meet guidance and had experienced a 21 percent increase over Q1 2022, with 25 percent higher production at its Kışladağ mine.
The company’s Q2 results were released on July 27, showing it was well positioned to meet guidance for the year, but the 109,435 ounces in the quarter was a 4 percent decrease over the same quarter due to wildfires near its Lamaque site in Quebec, Canada and lower gold grades at Olympias in Greece.
In its Q3 results released on October 26, Eldorado stated it had produced 121,030 ounces of gold, a 2 percent increase over Q3 2022, which the company attributed to “the enhanced materials handling circuit at Kışladağ, (and) productivity initiatives and associated improvements at Olympias.” However, production at Lamaque was impeded by wildfires in Q2.
Eldorado also reported on April 5 that it had closed a 680 million euro financing deal for the development of the Skouries project in Northern Greece. The deal provides 80 percent funding for the project with the remaining 20 percent coming from Eldorado and its wholly owned subsidiary Hellas Gold. The project has proven and probable reserves of 3,630,000 ounces of gold.
Shares in Eldorado reached year-to-date highs of C$17.60 on November 27.
5. Calibre Mining (TSX:CXB)
Year-to-date gain: 43.96 percent; market cap: C$593.49 million; current share price: C$1.31
Calibre Mining is a growth-focused mid-tier gold producer focused on the Americas with assets at every stage of development, from exploration to production. The company currently has four gold mines in Nicaragua: Limon, Libertad, Pavon and Eastern Borosi. Additionally, it has the Pan gold mine in Nevada, US, and several development and exploration projects in Nicaragua and the US, specifically Nevada and Washington state.
Shares in the company have performed well since the start of the year following a series of strong financial results, with Q3 results indicating it has increased cash on hand to US$97 million and had a fourth consecutive quarter of record production totals, including a year-over-year increase of 50 percent to 73,485 ounces compared to 49,081 ounces in the previous period.
Production totals were further supported by the opening of the Eastern Borosi gold-silver mine in Nicaragua, which the company reported on May 30.
Calibre’s most significant business news of the year came on November 13 when it announced it would be acquiring Marathon gold (TSX:MOZ,OTCQX:MGDPF). The combined companies would create a mid-tier miner with a projected 500,000 ounce per year of gold production. According to Calibre, its strong cash flow would allow the company to fully fund the construction of Marathon’s Valentine gold project in Central Newfoundland through to production.
Calibre’s performance has been further buoyed by strong results from its exploration this year. The company’s share price began its ascent in January, which saw initial drill results from Calibre’s Golden Eagle project in Nevada project, including a highlight of 4.3 g/t gold over 92.4 meters.
As for its Limon mine complex in Nicaragua, May assays from Limon’s Talavera deposit included a highlight of indicated 15.46 g/t over 6.7 meters, and September exploration news from the mine’s Atravesada underground deposit included a highlight of 9.67 g/t over 13.3 meters.
The company also announced on September 18 it had delineated another open pit gold deposit 5 kilometers from its Libertad mine site with indicated and inferred resources of 161,000 ounces.
Securities Disclosure: I, Dean Belder, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.