• Sentiment in the junior mining and exploration space is improving after years in the doldrums
  • April was the first time in a long time that metals prices gained as a group
  • Most popular metals in April: gold, copper, rare earths, lithium, niobium
  • Best performing ASX resources stocks: Rincon (208%), Renegade (200%), Western Mines (159%)


“The mining sector, and particularly exploration, has started to come back to life after a terrible two years in the doldrums,” says James Chirnside, managing director at April Top 50 winner Dart Mining (ASX:DTR).

“The outlook for metals, both precious and industrials, looks very constructive with tightening supply against a backdrop of forecast higher demand,” he says.

“In some ways we could be approaching the perfect storm in terms of higher prices and profitability for miners across the board.”

Couldn’t have said it better. April was the first time in a long time that most metals and commodity prices gained as one.

Astounding, says Josh Chiat.

While the broad-based rally comes too late for bankrupt miners Galena Mining (ASX:G1A) (lead, silver), Austral Resources (ASX:AR1) (copper) and most of WA’s nickel sulphide cohort, sentiment amongst investors more generally is on the improve.

Still, it’s hard for many investors to shift away from a defensive mindset in the face of an emerging boom market.

“It is always at the top and the bottom of the market cycles that investors have difficulty in adjusting to the new ground rules,” says Warwick Grigor, veteran stock picker at Far East Capital.

“At the peak of a trend they see falls in markets as corrections rather than the beginning of the bear market. It is not until many share prices have fallen by 20% that they start to take it seriously.”

The inverse psychology dominates the bottoming out of the market, Grigor says.

“That, and the fact that portfolios and investable capital have shrunk dramatically makes many investors defensive and unable to recognise the opportunities before them,” he says.

“It becomes more of a watching game and will remain so until it becomes obvious what they have missed out on.

“Then, eventually, FOMO will kick in and the whole cycle starts again.”


Most popular commodities: April

Here are the top 50 ASX resources stocks for the month of April >>>

Scroll or swipe to reveal table. Click headings to sort.

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WA1 Resources (ASX:WA1) and all the nearologists

WA1 Resources is up 12,335% since mid 2022, when it hit  high grade niobium in its very first hole at the Arunta west project in remote WA .

From 14c to $17.41 currently, in less than two years. Amazing stuff.

‘What’s niobium?’ everyone asked at the time, including us.

Well, now we know.

Current global production of ferroniobium– mostly used to strengthen steel, but also in high-performance alloys and emerging technologies – is just under 100,000tpa from a handful of operations globally.

But it fetches over US$45/kg.

The word ‘discovery’ is bandied around far too loosely by exploration stocks, but the Luni deposit has potential to be one of the best niobium mines globally.

WA1’s ongoing success – hyped by brokers like Argonaut and Cannacord — is a boon for surrounding explorers, which hope to find a Luni of their own.

At least five stocks in our top 50 are West Arunta explorers.

Rincon Resources (ASX:RCR) tops the lot after uncovering a ‘bullseye’ target at its project  “of similar size and character” to the Luni carbonatite, and IOCG deposits like Prominent Hill and Ernest Henry.

Lycaon Resources (ASX:LYN) now has final permission to drill its Stansmore project, a proverbial stone’s throw from WA1.

To the south of WA1, explorer  Norwest Minerals (ASX:NWM)  has a large project called Arunta West, where a ground gravity survey on tenement E80/5031 to find IOCG, carbonatite, kimberlite and other critical mineral drill targets has just been finalised.

Then there’s Encounter Resources (ASX:ENR), which is backing up early drilling success with a massive 20,000m drilling program starting early May at its Aileron project.