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Mining stocks are extremely volatile. However they can return handsome gains if the commodity prices rise. In recent years due to high demand from many developing countries, commodity prices like iron ore, copper, gold, etc. have soared.

Copper prices rose by almost 140% last year. The rise is attributed to “Unprecedented levels of Chinese imports, new investor cash, improving economic data and a weaker dollar.” Similarly gold gained around 25% in 2009 and closed at $1,096.20 an ounce.

The 2009 gains of other precious metals are listed below:

  • Platinum = 58.7%
  • Palladium = 220%
  • Silver = 49.1%

Overall in 2009, commodities recorded their best year since 1973. It must be noted that while most of the mining stocks listed below had impressive gains last year, they fell hard during the global credit crisis in 2008. For example, Vale (NYSE:VALE) was down 61% in 2008.

The complete list of mining ADRs with their 2008 performance is listed below:

S.No. Company Ticker Country 2009 Returns
1 AngloGold Ashanti AU South Africa 45.00%
2 BHP Billiton BHP Australia 78.51%
3 BHP Billiton BBL United Kingdom 65.50%
4 Compania de Minas Buenaventura BVN Peru 68.02%
5 DRDGOLD DROOY South Africa 22.80%
6 Gold Fields GFI South Africa 32.02%
7 Harmony Gold Mining HMY South Africa -7.29%
8 Lihir Gold LIHR Australia 33.20%
9 Randgold Resources GOLD Jersey 80.19%
10 Rio Tinto RTP United Kingdom 142.26%
11 Vale SA VALE Brazil 143.50%
12 Yanzhou Coal Mining YZC China 190.29%

Note: Canadian stocks are not included here as they trade as inter-listed stocks in the U.S.

Source: 2009 Performance Review and Complete List of Mining ADRs (ex-Canada)