Three of the best: The top ASX 300 gold shares to have owned in 2023

The gains in the gold sector in 2023 were incredible.

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2023 ended up being a decent year for the S&P/ASX 300 Index (ASX: XKO) and most ASX 300 shares. Last year, the ASX 300 ended up putting on a solid 7.6%. But most ASX 300 gold shares had an even brighter year.

2023 had the All Ordinaries Gold Index (ASX: XGD) go from 5,918 points all the way up to 7,367 points. That's a gain worth a healthy 24.48%. So it goes without saying that there are a lot of top-performing ASX 300 gold shares in investors' portfolios in the year just gone.

Today, let's discuss the top three of those ASX 300 gold stocks, and what they brought home for their shareholders in terms of capital gains.

The 3 best ASX 300 gold shares of 2023

Ramelius Resources Ltd (ASX: RMS)

First up we have Ramelius Resources. It was a great year to hold shares of this ASX 300 gold stock. Ramelius started 2023 at 93 cents a pop but finished up last month at $1.69. That's a gain worth 81.72%.

Resolute Mining Ltd (ASX: RSG)

Next, let's talk about Resolute Mining. Resolute shares were also on fire last year. This gold miner began the year priced at 20 cents a share. But by the end of 2023, those same shares were asking 45 cents each. That's a rise worth a whopping 125%.

Emerald Resources N.L. (ASX: EMR)

Last up is ASX 300 gold stock Emerald Resources. The Emerald Resources share price had a lucrative year last year indeed, rising from $1.19 a share all the way up to $3.01. That means Emerald investors enjoyed a bumper gain of 152.94%.

Why did these ASX 300 gold stocks have such a fantastic 2023?

The entire gold industry was firing on all cylinders over 2023. Expectations of a global interest rate peak, as well as a rise in global geopolitical tensions, helped drive gold prices higher. Gold embarked on 2023 at a price of approximately US$1,828 per ounce but rose to US$2,066.12 an ounce by the end of December.

This, in turn, bolstered the profits of all the companies that mine the yellow metal. For example, Ramelius was able to grow its FY2023 earnings by 23%.

With Resolute, ramping production and upgraded mine reserve estimates helped boost investor sentiment. Early in the year, Resolute delighted investors with a projected 58% increase in the Mineral Resource Estimate at its Syama North gold project in the Republic of Mali.

But high-quality assets arguably helped Emerald Resources take out the crown with its gain of almost 153% last year. As my Fool colleague Bronwyn reported earlier this month, an ASX expert described Emerald's Okvau mine as "one of the world's highest-margin gold mines".

So ASX 300 gold shares can happily put a top year to bed for 2023. Let's see who comes out on top in 2024.

Motley Fool contributor Sebastian Bowen has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia's parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Scott Phillips.

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