Artemis Resources has made new progress in efforts to process Pilbara gold through its Radio Hill plant, but a review of the top Pilbara gold stocks show investors are staying away from the sector.

Scroll down for our table showing how Pilbara gold stocks have fared so far this year.

Artemis (ASX:ARV) — one of the pioneers of last year’s Pilbara gold nugget rush — has optimised its Weerianna resource of 1 million tonnes at 2.2 grams per tonne at a gold price of $1650 per ounce to assess the potential first four months of feed.

Artemis is targeting a rate of 50,000 tonnes per month starting in June.

“Current plans are to kick-off with a gold only strategy to commission the plant’s new gold circuit for a number of months,” executive chairman David Lenigas told investors.

“Weerianna, Silica Hills and the gold-bearing conglomerates in the area are all currently being assessed.”

The optimisation of the Weerianna deposit, which is 35km from the Radio Hill plant, identified two initial starter pits – the stage-one East pit and the North West pit.

A reverse circulation drilling program is planned for Weerianna in April to infill the resource and test for extensions along strike and down dip.

Artemis hopes to have an updated resource before the end of June.

The shares closed Monday down 3 per cent at 18.5c.

Artemis and Canadian partner Novo Resources are responsible for kicking off the Pilbara gold rush in July last year, when they revealed they had found gold nuggets at their Purdy’s Reward joint venture south of Karratha.

The initial find and subsequent discoveries by other players in the area were well received by investors and saw many ASX-listed explorers enjoy substantial share price gains.

However, as our table below shows, the majority of the Pilbara gold players have lost ground so far this year.

Scroll table for full list.

ASX Code Name Price change 2018 (Jan-Mar) Price Mar 9 52Wk Low 52Wk High Market Cap
DGO DGO GOLD -0.472222222222 0.57 0.21 2.45 6019983
ARV ARTEMIS RESOURCES -0.321428571429 0.19 0.055 0.595 119050848
TNO TANDO RESOURCES 0.591836734694 0.39 0.205 0.54 11895215
CHN CHALICE GOLD MINES -0.0540540540541 0.175 0.145 0.26 45711800
DEG DE GREY MINING -0.193548387097 0.125 0.034 0.38 40749432
SUH SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE -0.446153846154 0.072 0.03 0.22 6129802
DGR DGR GLOBAL -0.24347826087 0.087 0.084 0.16 53346824
TAR TARUGA GOLD 1.2 0.22 0.042 0.395 25259792
MRR MINREX RESOURCES 0 0.073 0.045 0.21 6694907.5
RTR RUMBLE RESOURCES -0.197183098592 0.057 0.021 0.094 20193282
SRK STRIKE RESOURCES -0.0333333333333 0.058 0.038 0.087 8429388
KAI KAIROS MINERALS -0.162790697674 0.036 0.011 0.135 30123844
VKA VIKING MINES 0.075 0.043 0.011 0.052 13489868
WWI WEST WITS MINING -0.25 0.018 0.016 0.033 12921258
CZR COZIRON RESOURCES -0.111111111111 0.016 0.01 0.037 28568820
IPT IMPACT MINERALS -0.0588235294118 0.016 0.013 0.034 21146876
VXR VENTUREX RESOURCES -0.117647058824 0.015 0.0039 0.026 53976520
HDY HARDEY RESOURCES -0.615384615385 0.005 0.005 0.052 5096578
MZN MARINDI METALS -0.166666666667 0.01 0.0049 0.0277 17804600
SPX SPECTRUM RARE EARTHS -0.0909090909091 0.01 0.005 0.02 5965155

The exceptions were Taruga Gold (ASX:TAR), which has climbed 120 per cent in the first three months of the year, along with Tando Resources (ASX:TDO) and Viking Mines (ASX:VKA), which are up 59 per cent and 7.5 per cent, respectively.

Hardey Resources (ASX:HDY), however, has slumped 61.5 per cent, DGO Gold (ASX:DGO) wiped off 47 per cent and Artemis is down 32 per cent.