Metals and mining companies saw a median gain of 10.9% over the last year, with precious metals companies booking a median gain of 52.5% overall and occupying 12 ranks among the top 15 performers, based on an analysis of companies with market capitalization exceeding US$500 million at the end of 2019.
All top 15 performers saw triple-digit growth in their stock during the year, with increased demand for precious metals resulting in part from recession fears and geopolitical tensions including trade issues between the U.S. and China.
Canada-based New Pacific Metals Corp. posted the highest stock price gain for the year, up 328.8%. BMO Research gave the company an "outperform" rating on "strong underlying fundamentals" in August 2019. The company owns the early stage Silver Sand project in Bolivia and the Tagish Lake gold-silver project in Canada.
Another precious metals company to see a fourfold increase in stock price in 2019 was South Africa-based Impala Platinum Holdings Ltd., which has a market cap of US$8.03 billion. The platinum producer saw its stock gain 302.3% for the period.
Australia-based Fortescue Metals Group Ltd. and South Africa-based Anglo American Platinum Ltd., some of the largest metals and mining companies by market cap, also ranked among the top performers in 2019, gaining 154.3% and 149.9%, respectively.
Base metals producer Katanga Mining Ltd.'s stock lost the most during the year, dropping by 73.7%. The company is 99%-owned by Glencore PLC and headquartered in Switzerland, with mining operations producing refined copper and cobalt in Congo. Katanga Mining's stock price decline reflected copper prices falling over trade war skepticism in 2019.
Poland-based Jastrzębska Spółka Węglowa SA, or JSW, saw the second-largest decline with its stock dropping 68.5% during the year. JSW recently signed a five-year deal to deliver coking coal a Liberty House Ltd. steel plant in Romania beginning in 2020 as it works to diversify coke sales.