LONDON -- Gold's fall below the $1,600 level was repeated on Wednesday last week, when gold fell heavily. After hitting a low of $1,554, the yellow metal recovered slightly, ending the week down by 2.7% at $1,571.

Of course, the only practical way for most private investors to invest in gold is through exchange-traded funds. The largest gold ETF, the $72 billion SPDR Gold Trust (NYSEMKT:GLD), fell 1.8% to $152.97 last week, while London-listed Gold Bullion Securities (LSE:GBS) fell 2.1% to $151.80 over the same period. So far this year, shareholders of Gold Bullion Securities have seen the value of their holdings fall by 5.4%, while the value of SPDR Gold Trust shares has fallen by 5.6%.

Gold's big movers
The share price of gold producers like Randgold Resources and Petropavlovsk tends to drop when the price of gold falls, and this remained true last week. However, smaller miners and mine development companies can sometimes outperform even when the price of gold is falling. Here are three that managed to deliver gains last week:

Archipelago Resources (LSE:AR) gained an impressive 5% to 57.8 pence last week. The Indonesia-focused gold miner didn't release any news, but the company's recent 2012 production results showed that its Toka Tindung Mine delivered record production of 139,012 gold equivalent ounces last year, for an attractive cash cost of $635 per ounce. Archipelago's full-year results are due shortly and investors may have been buying ahead of the news.

Mwana Africa (LSE:MWA) climbed 1.9% to 5.8 pence last week, after it confirmed that the leakage from the recent leach tank rupture at its Freda Rebecca mine in Zimbabwe had been contained, and that remedial work was going well. The company also said it expected production levels to reach 50% of normal levels by the end of February and return to full capacity by the end of March. Production guidance for the year to March 31, 2013, is now 63,000 ounces -- the company produced 47,770oz in the year to March 31, 2012.

Big-cap gold producer Yamana Gold (LSE:YAU) gained 4.8% to 1,002 pence last week after it reported record mine operating earnings of $1.1 billion in 2012, thanks to a 9% increase in total production over the year, during which it produced 1.02 million ounces of gold and nine million ounces of silver. Yamana also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.065, which if maintained throughout the year will provide a 1.6% dividend yield.

Shares vs. commodities
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Roland Head owns shares in Mwana Africa but does not own any other shares mentioned in this article. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.