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4 Mining Stocks: Performance Review

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Brigus Gold (BRD), Westmoreland Coal (WLB), MAG Silver (MVG) and Natural Resources Partners (NRP) outperformed the S&P 500 Metals and Mining Index over the past week.

These four stocks gained 1% to 8%, helped by strong company fundamentals, while the index fell 1.1%.

Below, these stocks are ordered in terms of one-week returns, lowest to highest.

4. Natural Resource Partners, a limited partnership, owns and manages coal properties in the three coal-producing regions of the U.S.: Appalachia, the Illinois Basin, and Western U.S. The company does not own any mines, but leases coal reserves to mine operators for royalty payments. During the past week, the stock has gained 1.4%.

This week, the company's wholly owned operating subsidiary completed the earlier-announced private placement of $50 million senior unsecured notes (Series J) with semi-annual interest payments beginning Dec. 1, 2011. The company will use the proceeds to fund future acquisitions, including the remaining balance of the Hillsboro acquisition.

In May, the company reported first-quarter 2011 results. Revenue soared 34% year over year to a record. Net income jumped 75%. Moreover, with metallurgical coal accounting for almost 42% of coal royalty revenues and a bright outlook for the product in the overall industry, the company is set to benefit over the next few months. The company expects to see record metallurgical coal exports in 2011.

Of the eight analysts covering the stock, 50% rate it a buy, while 38% rate it a hold. On average, analysts have a $35.20 price target on the stock, up nearly 14% from current levels.

3. Brigus Gold engages in gold mining, including extraction, and processing, as well as related activities such as exploration and development. The company owns Black Fox, an open pit and underground mine and mill located in Canada. Further, the company also has interests in Mexican subsidiaries that own concessions at the Huizopa exploration project in Mexico. The stock rose 5.4% over the past week.

This week, the company reported first-quarter 2011 results. Net income was $2.8 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with a net loss of $1.8 million, or 3 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. At the end of the quarter, Brigus reported a large increase in its cash balance, to $29.08 million from $1.9 million in the first quarter of 2010. During the quarter, the company sold 10,003 ounces of gold at an average realized price of $1,356 per ounce.

For the second quarter of 2011, Brigus expects gold production at Black Fox of between 16,500 and 18,000 ounces. Looking ahead to 2011, the company estimates gold production in the range of 73,000-80,000 ounces at a total cash cost of $575-$625 per ounce. Capital expenditure for the year is pegged at $37 million for developing underground infrastructure and mining equipment at Black Fox.

Both the analysts covering the stock have assigned it a buy rating. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts have a price target of $2.56 on the stock, up about 65% from current levels.

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