Do Today’s Results From Sirius Minerals PLC Make It A Better Buy Than Antofagasta plc & Vedanta Resources plc?

Shares in Sirius Minerals (LSE: SXX) have risen by around 2% today after it released results for the nine months to 31 December. And with the company having changed accounting date, they represent a full-year for the business.

In terms of financial performance, Sirius Minerals continues to be a lossmaking entity, with losses of £7m being recorded. However, this is to be expected since the company has no revenue stream and isn’t expected to have one for a number of years. However, with progress towards its goal of building a $1.6bn potash mine that’s capable of producing 10m tonnes of polyhalite per year being on track, it seems to be making good progress towards long-term profitability.  

One area that remains uncertain, though, is funding for the project. Clearly, the resources sector is undergoing a difficult period and investment/borrowings may be more difficult to come by. That’s especially the case since Sirius Minerals is a relatively early stage business and with a number of other resources companies being profitable, there may be better options available elsewhere despite Sirius Minerals’ positive long-term outlook.

What’s the alternative?

One such company is Antofagasta (LSE: ANTO), with the copper, gold and molybdenum miner due to update the market on recent progress this week. As such, its shares could be volatile in the very short run, but for long-term investors they continue to offer high potential rewards and risks that seem to be compensated for via a wide safety margin.

For example, Antofagasta trades on a price-to-earnings-growth (PEG) ratio of 0.5, which indicates that it offers growth at a very reasonable price. Furthermore, with it having sold off non-core assets in recent years, it appears to be relatively financially sound and capable of overcoming the short term challenges that many mining companies are facing. Plus, with Antofagasta having a gold mining operation, it could benefit from further uncertainty in the wider stock market as well as a slower than expected rise in US interest rates.

Share price boost

Also offering an upbeat outlook is Vedanta Resources (LSE: VED). The highly diversified resources company is expected to grow its pre-tax profit from £112m in the financial year just passed to just under £500m in financial year 2018. Clearly, such forecasts are subject to changes in commodity prices and a prolonged fall in their price could cause downgrades to Vedanta’s guidance. However, if they’re met, investor sentiment could continue to improve and boost Vedanta’s share price, as has been the case in the last three months when they’ve almost doubled.

Furthermore, Vedanta is expected to yield around 3.8% in the current year. While this may be below the FTSE 100’s yield, for a resources company it remains relatively appealing and could help investor sentiment to improve at a faster rate than it otherwise would.

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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.