One of the difficulties of being an investor is staying sane while the market falls. It’s all too easy to panic, sell up and walk away when the going gets tough, but history has shown that it’s precisely during those moments of fear that successful investors lock-in potential capital gains.

Clearly, the resources sector is a tough place in which to be an investor at the present time. The reality, though, is that things could get worse before they get better. For example, the oil price could fall further and this is a key risk of buying a slice of northern Iraq/Kurdistan-focused oil producer Gulf Keystone Petroleum (LSE: GKP).

Undoubtedly, Gulf Keystone has an excellent asset base that has the potential to deliver a tremendous amount of profit for the business in the long run. The problem, though, is the political outlook for the region, which is highly uncertain and poses a major threat to the company’s operations moving forward.

Allied to this is the uncertainty regarding payment for oil exports. While there have been regular payments made in recent months, there’s still a vast amount of unpaid invoices from prior to this period. Looking ahead, Gulf Keystone may or may not receive further amounts due in the coming months.

Clearly, the company’s valuation takes into account these three main risks, but with the additional fact that Gulf Keystone is due to remain lossmaking in the current year also weighing against it, there appear to be better options elsewhere within the resources space.

Silver service

One such example is Fresnillo (LSE: FRES), which is focused on mining precious metals, particularly silver. It’s a highly profitable company that could benefit from improving investor sentiment in the current year since it’s due to report a 150% rise in earnings for the 2015 financial year. Furthermore, an additional rise in net profit of 81% is expected to be recorded in 2016, which has the scope to boost investor sentiment to an even greater extent.

Certainly, there’s a major risk that silver prices will fall and this would clearly hurt Fresnillo’s outlook. This risk has been brought more sharply into focus by concerns surrounding global economic growth that have been raised in recent weeks. However, with Fresnillo having a price-to-earnings growth (PEG) ratio of 0.4, its risk/reward ratio seems to be highly appealing at the present time.

Gold star

Similarly, gold producer Randgold Resources (LSE: RRS) also appears to be a strong buy for the long term. Although the price of gold may disappoint this year, with a stronger US dollar having the potential to hurt the price of the precious metal, concerns surrounding the macroeconomic outlook could cause investors to place greater value on gold as a store of wealth.

Either way, with Randgold trading on a PEG ratio of 1.3, it appears to offer good value for money. And with it having a strong track record of profitability, it looks set to ride out a difficult period for the gold price, with forecast dividend growth of 16% in 2016 highlighting management’s confidence in its long-term future.

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Peter Stephens has no position in any shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.