Top 5 Canadian Silver Stocks of 2024

Silver demand is forecast to reach its second highest level ever in 2024 at 1.2 billion ounces, driven by industrial market segments such as photovoltaics and electric vehicles.

This high demand is coming alongside flat production growth, and is creating a situation that would seemingly be ripe for a price breakout. However, the first months of the year saw the metal trade in the US$22 to US$24 per ounce range.

The beginning of March brought a shift in the market, and silver started to make gains. Following its sister metal gold higher, silver hit a quarterly high of US$25.71 on March 20 before reaching an 11 year high of US$28.85 on April 14.

How has this price movement benefited silver stocks on the TSX and TSXV? The five companies listed below have seen the biggest gains since the start of the year. Data was gathered using TradingView’s stock screener on April 2, 2024, and all companies listed had market caps over C$10 million at that time.

1. GR Silver Mining (TSXV:GRSL)

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Year-to-date gain: 137.5 percent; market cap: C$49.63 million; current share price: C$0.19

GR Silver Mining is a small-cap explorer and developer that is working to advance its Rosario Mining District in Sinaloa, Mexico, to production. The district consists of three core mining areas: Plomosas, San Marcial and La Trinidad.

The company’s primary focus has been the development of Plomosas and neighboring San Marcial, a 9,764 hectare land package that hosts a past-producing silver, gold, lead and zinc underground mine.

In March 2023, the company released an updated resource estimate for Plomosas showing total indicated quantities of 97 million silver equivalent ounces, with additional inferred quantities of 53 million silver equivalent ounces.

Shares of GR Silver saw significant gains in the first quarter alongside a rising silver price and a March 4 news release. In the announcement, GR Silver reported that it had started small bulk sampling and test mining at Plomosas. The company said it will use existing permits and infrastructure to undertake the sampling, with up to 4,500 metric tons (MT) of ore per month being used for metallurgical sampling from historic mine sites.

GR Silver reached a quarterly share price high of C$0.17 on March 28.

2. Defiance Silver (TSXV:DEF)

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Year-to-date gain: 54.17 percent; market cap: C$34.4 million; current share price: C$0.185

Explorer Defiance Silver is working to advance its district-scale Zacatecas silver project in Zacatecas, Mexico.

The project consists of a 4,300 hectare land package and includes four project areas: San Acacio, Lucito, Panuco and Lagartos. Both San Acacio and Lagartos have seen previous exploration and mining activity.

On January 15, the company announced results from its 2023 drill program at the San Acacio target, reporting well-developed silver and zinc values with elevated gold and copper. This includes a highlighted assay of 223.53 grams per MT (g/t) silver over 12.82 meters with an interval of 306.86 g/t silver over 7.79 meters.

The most recent news from the project came on April 15, when the company provided an update on a surface-sampling campaign at the Lucita target. The results show widespread high-grade polymetallic mineralization, with Defiance highlighting grades of up to 795 g/t silver from Lucita North and 2,350 g/t from Lucita South. The company said the results reinforce the district-scale potential at Zacatecas.

Shares of Defiance reached a quarterly high of C$0.135 on March 18.

3. Avino Silver and Gold Mines (TSX:ASM)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 42.25 percent; market cap: C$132.6 million; current share price: C$1.01

Avino Silver and Gold Mines is a precious metals miner with two primary silver assets: the producing Avino silver mine and the neighboring La Preciosa project in Durango, Mexico.

Avino, the company’s only producing asset, features 2,500 MT per day ore-processing capabilities, and according to its management’s discussion and analysis for 2023, was responsible for the extraction of 928,643 ounces of silver, 7,335 ounces of gold and 5.3 million pounds of copper. While within the company’s guidance, there was a 6 percent decrease in silver production over 2022, when it produced 985,195 ounces in the same time frame.

In addition to its mining operation, Avino is working to advance its La Preciosa project toward the production stage. The site covers 1,134 hectares, and according to a February 2023 resource estimate, holds measured and indicated quantities of 98.59 million ounces of silver and 189,190 ounces of gold.

On February 28, the company provided an update for La Preciosa, saying it was preparing for the first phase of production at the Gloria and Abundancia veins. Avino also said it has the equipment necessary to commence operations at the site once it receives the necessary environmental permits, which it expects later in 2024.

Avino’s share price marked a quarterly high of C$0.84 on March 28.

4. Southern Silver Exploration (TSXV:SSV)

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Year-to-date gain: 40.63 percent; market cap: C$56.85 million; current share price: C$0.225

Southern Silver Exploration is a focused on the advancement of its Cerro Las Minitas project.

Located in Durango, Mexico, the project is comprised of 25 mining concessions covering an area of 34,450 hectares within a region that has produced more than 3 billion ounces of silver. To date, Southern Silver has conducted more than 97,384 meters of drilling across 226 holes and has identified seven mineral deposits.

The company’s most recent resource estimate, published in March 2023, shows indicated quantities of 140 million ounces of silver from 12.5 million MT of ore with average grades of 106 g/t silver, and additional inferred quantities of 210 million ounces from 21 million MT of ore with average grades of 118 g/t silver.

No further updates about the project have been provided since the start of the year. Shares have been trading alongside a sharp gain in the silver price and reached a quarterly high of C$0.175 on March 13.

5. Gatos Silver (TSX:GATO)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 39.21 percent; market cap: C$793.84 million; current share price: C$11.93

Gatos Silver is a silver-focused production and exploration company. Its flagship asset is the Cerro Los Gatos mine and district located south of Chihuahua City, Mexico.

The site consists of 14 predominantly silver, lead and zinc mineralization zones, and is a joint venture with Dowa Metals and Mining, which holds a 30 percent stake in the operation; Gatos owns the remaining 70 percent.

On February 21, the company released its full-year results for 2023, indicating it had produced 9.2 million ounces of silver, marking a decline from the 10.3 million ounces produced in 2022. However, the company said it improved operational efficiencies to offset inflationary pressure, lowering all-in-sustaining costs (AISC) to the lower end of 2023 guidance.

In the release, Gatos also notes that it expects similar production totals for 2024. It is looking for a range of 8.4 million to 9.2 million ounces of silver at an AISC of US$9.50 to US$11.50 per payable ounce. The company anticipates that exploration efforts at the South-East Deeps target will further extend the life of the mine.

In an update on April 9, the company reported that production through Q1 was near the top end of guidance with 2.37 million ounces produced, slightly off the 2.43 million ounrces from the same period in 2023.

Shares of Gatos reached a quarterly high of C$11.63 on March 20.

Securities Disclosure: I, Dean Belder, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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