There are four ASX mining stocks with a consensus ‘strong buy’ rating from at least five brokers and research providers, according to Commsec.

This data, sourced from and calculated by Morningstar, normalises broker ratings on a 5 point scale and presents an average score with 1 being ‘strong buy’ and 5 being ‘strong sell’.

Stocks only appear in the ‘strong buy’ list if five or more brokers and research providers have contributed to the score within the last six months.

“The consensus rating helps to determine the stock’s average rating by professional brokers or research providers,” CommSec says.

“This can be helpful in identifying where to research next, based on what research providers and brokers are seeing in the market.”


Morningstar’s Broker Picks: Mining

In Morningstar’s Strong Buy list the most popular with brokers — by a country mile — is oil and gas giant Santos (ASX:STO) with 18 recommendations, but we’re here to talk about the four miners and project developers, which are diversified across gold, silver, lithium, and nickel.

Resolute Mining (ASX/LSE:RSG)

Commodity: Gold

Strong Buy Recommendations: 5

Dividends? Yes

Market Cap: $970m

The debt-laden African miner had been leaking market cap since peaking in 2019.

A particularly tough two-year period — thanks to serious underperformance at the Syama gold mine in Ghana — culminated in a heavily dilutive $170m capital raising at 16c in December last year.

But since bottoming out at ~16c/sh the stock has been the up and up, recently hitting 50c/sh for the first time since August 2021. It currently pays 46c.

With their balance sheet restored, a fresh management team and improving operational performance, it appears RSG’s fortunes may be turning the corner, RM Corporate Finance director Guy Le Page said in January.

RSG expects to produce 350,000oz at US$1480/oz in 2023.

“There is still significant risk in the operations, however the new look batting line up led by MD and CEO Terry Holohan (who has a background in metallurgy) seems to be delivering results after shareholders received a right royal rogering last year,” Guy says.

“Macquarie had a valuation of 24 cents back in November last year with gross operating cash flow of around $96 million for FY 2023.

“I am thinking that might be a little conservative.

“The operational turnaround, lift in gold prices and sentiment might give RSG a much-needed shot in the arm as we move into 2023.”

Katana Asset Management portfolio manager Romano Sala Tenna also sees value.

“This is speculative but if investors like the gold price and think it is going to kick from here, Resolute is a high-risk and potentially high return play because they are producing 350,000 ounces and their market capitalisation is only $800 million,” he said late March.

“They’ve got a lot of leverage for that market capitalisation producing 350,000 ounces per annum.”



Commodity: Gold & Silver

Strong Buy Recommendations: 10

Dividends? Yes

Market Cap: $4.7bn

US-based SSR listed on the ASX in 2020 after finalising a $5bn merger with local listed gold producer Alacer Gold.

The Sprott-backed miner now has four producing assets with a cumulative ~8.3Moz (gold eq) in reserves: Seabee in Canada, Copler in Turkey, Marigold in the USA and Puna in Argentina.

After nearing 800,000ozpa in 2021, the company missed original 2022 guidance (700-780koz at US$1120-US$1180/oz) by quite a margin, producing 624,000 gold equivalent ounces at $1,339/oz ASIC.

But SSR is confident it can produce 700,000-780,000oz for the 2023 calendar year, at AISC of US$1,365 to US$1,425/oz.

Production in 2023 is expected to be ~55% weighted to the second half, with the strongest production period in the third quarter.

Investors will get a better indication how things are tracking in early May, when SSR releases its Q1 report.

SSR expects to maintain an average production base of ~700,000oz gold equivalent ounces per year through 2025.

It is also hoping a concerted exploration drive across all projects will pay longer term dividends.

And speaking of dividends – last year, SSR returned US$158.8 million to shareholders, representing a 4.9% yield, through dividends and share repurchases.

At the end of 2022, SSR had a healthy cash and cash equivalent balance of US$655.5m.


Centaurus Metals (ASX:CTM, OTCQX:CTTZF)

Commodity: Nickel

Strong Buy Recommendations: 5

Dividends? No

Market Cap: $360m

One of a handful of companies on the ASX that could become a nickel sulphide producer of scale via its 108Mt Jaguar project in Brazil, which it bought for a pittance in 2020 from mining giant Vale.

There are two main types of nickel deposits, sulphide and laterite.

Sulphides, like those found at Jaguar, are the holy grail for explorers because they are easier and cheaper to process into battery quality nickel.

A 2021 scoping study envisaged a +20,000tpa nickel sulphate operation over an initial 13-year mine life.

While capex (US$288m) and opex costs may’ve risen since then, the returns still look strong – at current prices, post tax NPV would be $2.6bn with an unheard-of 102% IRR.

CTM jumped straight to a DFS. This was originally due for release at the end of 2022, then mid 2023, has now been pushed back to end of 2023 due to delays in completing test work and processing design for its refinery.

A FID has been pencilled in for Q3, 2024.

“While delays are always regrettable, our primary focus is on maximising the long-term value of this exceptional asset for our shareholders and delivering a project that will successfully ramp up to full production and stand the test of time,” MD Darren Gordon said in March.

“The resource industry globally, including all of the consultants and service groups that support it, are currently working at capacity, and we have to be pragmatic about this, while also ensuring that we never compromise on the quality of work undertaken for this very important phase of the DFS for the sake of timelines.

“The team is confident that we can meet the revised timeline of late Q4.”

Meanwhile, the project continues to grow with a massive new step drilling program (seven rigs working double shifts) recently hitting a highlight 20.4m at 3.94% Ni from 612.7m, including 9.5m at 5.59% Ni.

The 938,500t of contained nickel at Jaguar could tip over the 1Bt mark with a new resource update due later this year.


Piedmont Lithium (NASDAQ:PLL, ASX:PLL)

Commodity: Lithium

Strong Buy Recommendations: 7

Dividends? No

Market Cap: $1.6bn

PLL has its fingers in a bunch of pies as a lithium major in the making.

While it has been stuck in a community relations quagmire at its flagship Carolina lithium project in recent years, PLL has the support of the US Government via a conditional US$141 million grant for a proposed 30,000tpa lithium hydroxide plant in Tennessee.

If it can’t produce its own primary supply from Carolina, PLL plans to use a network of supply agreements to service its downstream needs.

It holds a 25% stake in Sayona Mining’s (ASX:SYA)  North American Lithium (NAL) operation where it is the main offtaker, and a 14% stake in $1.7bn capped SYA itself.

SYA recently completed the US$80 million ($120m) NAL restart, with first commercial shipments targeted for Q3 this year.

PLL is also a backer and the main offtake partner for Atlantic Lithium’s (ASX:A11) Ewoyaa project in Ghana, where a PFS indicated a project after tax NPV and IRR of $1.33bn and 224%, respectively.

Accusations by US short seller Blue Orca Capital that Atlantic had engaged in “textbook corruption” to obtain mining rights in Ghana and was unlikely to receive ratification only impacted the PLL and A11 share prices briefly, with both quickly refuting the claims in March.