The odds are stacked against small cap ASX stocks growing into the top echelon of the bourse – the ASX 200 – but it’s possible.

Many companies fail due to unexpected hurdles, others are acquired before reaching their full potential. But if you can back the right one, the gains can be enormous.

In the past five years, the list of top ASX 200 stocks consists of 12 companies which have gained 1,000% or greater.

Here’s a list of the top ASX 200 stocks since 2016…

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1. PPK Group (ASX:PPK)

Once a mining services business, this firm has never looked back since partnering with Deakin University to develop Boron Nitride Nanotubes (BNNT), a fibre substantially stronger than steel.

It has benefited not just from its own work but from shares it has held in other companies which present potential applications for its technology.

One of these is Li-S Energy (ASX:LIS) which listed on the ASX in its own right just last month.

PPK Group (ASX:PPK) share price chart


2. Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW)

This company listed on the ASX in 2015 and had a very disappointing start to listed life from a share price perspective.

But things gradually turned around toward the back end of the 2010s and COVID-19 has represented a roaring trade for the business.

The shift to spending more time at home – working and living – as well as less money being spent on travel resulted in an unexpected flurry of people investing in their home products.

In FY21, the company grew its revenue to $326.3 million and its profit to $14 million, up 85% and 165% on the year before.

The company told shareholders at its AGM earlier this week the best was yet to come with less than 10% of the furniture and homeware market being online.

Temple & Webster (ASX:TPW) share price chart


3. Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR)

This company, which is not the only one on this list to have had Tim Goyder involved, took off in 2019 with its Kathleen Valley lithium deposit.

It timed its run perfectly with the growth in the electric vehicles market resulting in demand for lithium and other battery metals.

Liontown has also excited shareholders with efforts to find another Ni-Cu-Pg discovery similar to Julimar – Liontown’s West Yilgarn project – but it recently spun it out into a separate company Minerals260 (ASX:MI6).

Liontown Resources (ASX:LTR) share price chart


4. Imugene (ASX:IMU)

Although this oncology biotech is still only at a clinical stage, it has substantially taken off this year off the back of its clinical trial advances.

Arguably what makes it stand out is having multiple assets and biotech industry baron Paul Hopper as chairman.

Imugene (ASX:IMU) share price chart


5. Chalice Mining (ASX:CHN)

In case you’ve been living on Mars for the past couple of years, Chalice has grown thanks to its Julimar discovery made in March 2020 right as the world was shutting down.

At the time, it excited investors due to nickel and comparisons were made to Sirius Resources’ Nova nickel discovery. But it is also Australia’s first major palladium discovery and it has just kept getting bigger as the company has explored its project further.

Prior to COVID-19, the company was best known for selling off major discoveries but it now has dozens of companies chasing its tail to find a similar deposit as the Julimar area had never been prospected for these minerals before.

Chalice (ASX:CHN) share price chart


6. Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL)

Five years ago, this company picked up the Bellevue Gold mine which had been offloaded by Barrick.

Since then it has had substantial exploration success at Bellevue and is eventually looking to develop the project.

Bellevue currently has indicated and inferred resources of 9.4 million tonnes at 9.9g/t for 3 million ounces of gold.

Bellevue Gold (ASX:BGL) share price chart


7. Champion Iron (ASX:CIA)

This company is in the iron ore space and rode the wave of the latest boom.

It made a CA$464 million profit in FY21, up 419% from FY20 and it produced over 8 million tonnes of 66.4% Fe concentrate.

Champion Iron (ASX:CIA) share price chart


8. De Grey Mining (ASX:DEG)

Just like Chalice, De Grey has never looked back since a major discovery – in this company’s case the Hemi gold discovery in WA’s Pilbara region.

Hemi’s initial evaluation has shown annual gold production potential of over 450,000 ounces over the first five years at an average AISC of A$1,111 ounces.

De Grey (ASX:DEG) share price chart


9. Australian Ethical (ASX:AEF)

Australian Ethical has also grown its share price just as its assets have grown – except rather than mineral deposits, it is in the wealth management space.

It has hit $6.54 billion in funds under management and just over 70,000 customers. This is well up from five years ago when it only boasted $1.5 billion in funds under management.

The company has benefited from the rise of ethical and ESG focused investing particularly since COVID-19.

Australian Ethical (ASX:AEF) share price chart


10. Lynas (ASX:LYC)

Turning back to resources and Lynas was already a large cap five years ago but has grown further in the past few years.

This company is in the rare earths space which is critical for electric vehicles – among other industries – and it is one of the few companies outside China with such promise. The company has traditionally mined in Malaysia but is looking to build up its operations in Australia.

Lynas (ASX:LYC) share price chart


11. City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX)

This company, once known as Specialty Fashion Group, has never looked back since a 2018 name change and divestment of most of its other brands.

Since then the plus size fashion retailer has grown in conjunction with the growth in ecommerce as well as acquisitions which has established it in the US and European markets.

City Chic Collective (ASX:CCX) share price chart


12. Ioneer (ASX:INR)

Rounding out the list of top ASX 200 stocks in the past five years is another lithium stock.

Again it has rocketed as the demand for battery metals like lithium has grown.

But this lithium play is one of the few to have a project in Nevada, right in Tesla’s country.

While it hasn’t been as lucky as other companies to win a contract with Tesla (yet), it has taken steps to establish itself.

Last month the company entered a 50/50 joint venture agreement with Sibanye Stillwater Ltd to advance its Rhyolite Ridge project facilitating for Sibanye-Stillwater to contribute $US490 million to the JV, in exchange for a 50% stake in the project although Ioneer will still be the operator.

Ioneer (ASX:INR) share price chart


At Stockhead, we tell it like it is. While De Grey Mining is a Stockhead advertiser, it did not sponsor this article.