This segment is from Thursday's edition of "Digging for Value," in which sector analysts Joel South and Taylor Muckerman discuss energy and materials news with host Alison Southwick. The twice-weekly show can be viewed on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It can also be found on Twitter, along with our extended coverage of the energy & materials sectors @TMFEnergy.

The global mining sector is a tough one to understand. Projects that can take five or more years, and billions of dollars, to bring online could be completely unnecessary once it's time to unearth the targeted metals. In the case of copper miners, oversupply in the industry has left several companies sitting on projects that are half completed. Write-downs of reserves have also cost companies dearly lately.

That's why investors need to key in on the companies with the strongest balance sheets and a bit of diversity. Our analysts like companies such as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold (NYSE:FCX) and BHP Billiton (NYSE:BHP). Click on our short video below for their reasons why.

Copper might be dull, but your portfolio doesn't have to be in 2014

There's a huge difference between a good stock and one like our "Top Stock of 2013" that returned over 70% to investors last year in the market. The Motley Fool's chief investment officer has selected his No. 1 stock for 2014, and it's one that he believes could keep the trend rolling. You can find out which stock it is in the special free report "The Motley Fool's Top Stock for 2014." Just click here to access the report and find out the name of this under-the-radar company.

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold. 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.

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