The gold price started 2024 coming off December’s record highs. A combination of central bank buying and geopolitical uncertainty helped gold remain above US$2,100 per ounce for the first eight weeks of the year.

However, a rally in early March gave gold renewed momentum. Support came on the back of contracting US manufacturing numbers, which caused investors to speculate that the US Federal Reserve would start rate cuts in June.

This belief gained further strength when the central bank met on March 19 and 20, and indicated that it was done with rate hikes and was expecting to make three cuts before the end of 2024.

This news caused the gold price to see significant gains, setting a quarterly high of US$2,264.52 on March 31.

How have these gains affected gold stocks on the ASX? Read on to learn about the biggest gainers in Q1.

Data for this article was retrieved on April 2, 2024, using TradingView’s stock screener, and only companies with market capitalisations greater than AU$50 million are included.

1. WIA Gold (ASX:WIA)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 85.71 percent; market cap: AU$75.5 million; current share price: AU$0.08

WIA Gold is an exploration company focused on developing projects in Africa.

The company’s primary goal is to advance the Kokoseb deposit at its Damaran gold project. Kokoseb is located on WIA’s Okombahe exploration licence, which consists of 12 tenements across a 2,700 square kilometre area within the Damaran Belt in Northwest Namibia. WIA Gold holds an 80 percent stake in the exploration licence, with the remaining 20 percent owned by Namibian state-owned mining company Epangelo.

WIA Gold began exploration at the site in late 2021, with drilling commencing during the second quarter of 2022. On April 16, the company released an updated resource estimate for Kokoseb, reporting 2.12 million ounces of gold from 66 million tonnes at 1 gram per tonne (g/t) gold with a cut off of 0.5 g/t gold.

The company also owns the early stage Bouafle project in Côte d’Ivoire, which has been granted two exploration permits, with a third under application. On January 22, the company reported the discovery of mineralised trends at the site following the drilling of 142 aircore holes. Results returned a highlighted intercept of 6.04 g/t gold over 10 metres.

Shares of WIA Gold reached a quarterly high of AU$0.082 on March 21 alongside a rally in the gold price.

2. Southern Cross Gold (ASX:SXG)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 46.61 percent; market cap: AU$341.4 million; current share price: AU$1.84

Southern Cross Gold is an exploration company that is working to advance its flagship Sunday Creek project located north of Melbourne, Australia. The property covers an area of 19,385 hectares and hosted previous gold mining between 1880 and 1920. More recently, it has seen exploration work during the 1990s that was focused on shallow, previously mined workings. Since being spun out by Mawson Gold (TSXV:MAW,OTC Pink:MWSNF) in 2021, Southern Cross has drilled 110 holes for a total of 44,083 metres along 1,200 metres of strike.

To date, the company has not prepared a resource estimate for Sunday Creek, but exploration at the site has revealed high-quality assays. On March 5, the company reported the best hole drilled so far, with an interval of 7.2 g/t gold over 455.3 metres, including an intersection of 2,318 g/t gold over 1 metre.

The most recent exploration results from Sunday Creek came on April 15, when the company reported eight intervals over 50 g/t, including 327.7 g/t gold over 0.9 metres. Southern Cross said exploration at the site will continue as it works on an additional 10 holes focused on demonstrating the district-scale potential of Sunday Creek.

Shares of Southern Cross reached a quarterly high of AU$2.05 on March 11.

3. Theta Gold Mines (ASX:TGM)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 45.83 percent; market cap: AU$124.52 million; current share price: AU$0.18

Theta Gold Mines is an Australian gold development and exploration company with operations focused on the Eastern Transvaal gold fields northeast of Johannesburg, South Africa.

Its core project is a 74 percent stake in the Transvaal Gold Mining Estate (TGME), South Africa’s first mining company; the minority 26 percent stake is owned by Black Economic Empowerment, which includes a group of local community and employee trusts along with a strategic partner. The TGME gold mine site hosts four planned mines.

Theta announced on February 14 that it had selected Yellow River, a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China (SHA:601669), as its preferred partner to build the first stage of the mining facility at the TGME gold plant. The two companies are now working on the contract, which it anticipates will be finalised in Q2.

A month later, on March 14, Theta announced it was fully permitted for three of the four mines at TGME. It said its plan moving forward was to focus on finalising funding packages and work with Power Construction to build the gold plant. The company said it is a major development and will pave the way for the commencement of mining operations.

Shares of Theta reached a quarterly high of AU$0.175 on March 28.

4. Tribune Resources (ASX:TBR)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 33.9 percent; market cap: AU$199.38 million; current share price: AU$3.95

ASX-listed Tribune Resources is a gold exploration and production company with exploration assets in Ghana and the Philippines, as well as a stake in mining operations in Australia.

Tribune’s primary focus has been on the East Kundana joint venture, which includes two underground mines: Raleigh and Rubicon-Hornet-Pegasus. Tribune owns 36.75 percent of East Kundana alongside its partners Gilt Edge Mining, a subsidiary of Northern Star Resources (ASX:NST,OTC Pink:NESRF), at 51 percent, and Rand Mining (ASX:RND), which owns the remaining 12.25 percent. The joint venture partners are also further exploring and developing East Kundana.

The company also has two wholly owned exploration projects. The Japa gold project is located in Western Ghana’s Akropong Belt, an offshoot of the Ashanti Belt, and hosts indicated and inferred resources totaling 1.81 million ounces of gold.

Tribune’s other exploration project is the Diwalwal gold project, located 120 kilometres northeast of Davao City, Philippines. The site consists of several targets, including the Balite and Buenas Tinago veins, which have seen previous small-scale mining and host numerous access tunnels. The company has worked to refurbish these while exploring other targets.

Shares of Tribune have seen modest gains in 2024 following the January 31 release of the company’s report for the quarter ending in December 2023. In the announcement, it said its share of gold produced from East Kundana was 3,488 ounces for the period. Aside from that, the company discussed ongoing work at the main vein at Raleigh, including resource definition drilling, which was completed during the quarter.

The company also announced it was initiating a share buyback that would see Tribune purchase 5,246,807 shares between February 21, 2024, and February 20, 2025. This represents 10 percent of its total shares.

Tribune shares reached a quarterly high of AU$3.80 on March 28.

5. West African Resources (ASX:WAF)

Company Profile

Year-to-date gain: 33.51 percent; market cap: AU$1.23 billion; current share price: AU$1.28

West African Resources is a mid-tier gold-mining and exploration company with operations in Burkina Faso.

The company’s principal operation is the Sanbrado gold mine, located 90 kilometres east-southeast of the capital of Ouagadougou. West African holds a 90 percent stake in the mine, with the remaining 10 percent being owned by the Burkina Faso government. The mine is comprised of both open-pit and underground mines.

In an announcement on January 10, the company reported that it had achieved its 2023 guidance. It produced 226,823 ounces of gold at Sanbrado and saw sales of 224,970 ounces. In addition to its mining operations at Sanbrado, the company has also been working to expand the underground resources at the site. West African reported results from exploration at the M1S deposit at Sanbrado on March 15 and April 16. The two press releases show highlighted assay results of 133.1 g/t over 2 metres and 55.79 g/t over 24 metres, respectively.

West African has also been working to advance its Toega gold deposit. On March 22, the Burkina Faso Council of Ministers recommended the approval of a mining permit for the site. Under the terms of the country’s mining code, this will give the company 90 percent ownership of the mine, with the remaining 10 percent held by the state.

According to the company, the deposit hosts a resource of 1.27 million ounces of gold with reserves of 569,000 ounces. It is expected to begin delivering ore to the Sanbrado processing plant starting in 2025.

Shares of West African reached a quarterly high of AU$1.20 on March 28.

FAQs for ASX gold stocks

How to invest in gold on the ASX?

As Australia is a top gold-mining jurisdiction and the country’s government is supportive of mining, there are plenty of options for investing in gold on the ASX. Between gold miners operating major projects and gold explorers hunting for the next significant gold discovery, investors can choose what kind of company matches their risk appetite and portfolio.

When looking for a gold company to invest in, be sure to do your due diligence and learn about the company’s key characteristics, including its leadership team, its finances and the geology of its projects.

How to buy gold on the ASX?

Once you’ve selected a company or multiple companies to invest in, you can buy gold stocks using trading apps with access to ASX stocks, or you can get the help of a stock broker.

How to buy gold ETFs on the ASX?

For investors who prefer broader exposure to a sector, exchange-traded funds (ETFs) are a good option, and the ASX is home to multiple gold-focused ETFs. Because they are traded on exchanges like stocks, you can buy ETFs using the same methods described above. ASX-listed gold ETFs to consider include:

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

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