Aurelian Resources Inc. (TSX: ARU)

Aurelian just might be the kind of company investors in Canada's junior mining industry have been waiting for: a junior gold explorer that could finally erase the bad memory of the Bre-X scandal. For more than a decade since the massive gold find hyped by Bre-X managers was revealed to be little more than a stock swindle, investors in the Canadian junior gold sector have been waiting for a company to finally strike, well, gold. Aurelian did that when it reported promising exploration results last year from its Fruta Del Norte property in Ecuador. “Recent drilling reaffirms that Aurelian has discovered a world class deposit,” P. Mark Smith, mining analyst at Toronto-based Dundee Securities, noted in a recent report.

Those drill results are still preliminary ? so much so that the company has not been able to even calculate how much gold may actually be on the property. But the results have been promising enough for investors to send the stock soaring. When Aurelian went public in 2002, the stock was trading at about 30¢ per share. In late February, the stock graduated from the TSX Venture Exchange to the main TSX; it's now trading at more than $34 per share, making Aurelian our best-performing small-cap company.

That may not be the end of Aurelian's massive bull run. Continued positive results from its exploration program ? as well as the very real possibility that the company will be soon swallowed up by a large or mid-tier gold producer ? has both investors and analysts expecting the stock to rise even higher. After all, as most gold companies already know, it's always easier to strike it rich on Bay Street than in the jungles of Ecuador.