The metals and mining sector has been one of the few bright spots in the market this year. As of this writing, the SPDR S&P Metals & Mining ETF is up 18.6% for the year while the broader markets are down double digits. Metals and mining are notoriously cyclical businesses, so investors may be hesitant to look at mining companies after they posted decent gains this year. 

When you look at the valuations of Teck Resources (TECK 3.84%) and Intrepid Potash (IPI -0.76%), though, it gets harder to ignore the fact that these companies look incredibly cheap. Here's a look at the two miners and why investors may want to seriously consider these cheap mining stocks

Betting big on electrification

Lithium is the hot commodity for investors looking to benefit from the surge in renewable energy and electric vehicles (EVs). Two that are vastly overlooked, though, are copper and zinc. These two metals are essential for manufacturing electric motors, wires, batteries, and the infrastructure needed to electrify everything. Back in May, Goldman Sachs estimated that copper demand from electrification and EVs will more than quintuple by 2030. Similarly, renewable energy demand for zinc is expected to triple between 2020 and 2030.

Teck Resources is one of the few mining companies uniquely positioned to benefit from both copper and zinc demand. Not only does the company have significant exposure to the two metals already -- the two combined amounted to 49% of Teck's revenue, on average, from 2017 to 2021 -- but management is leaning into copper with significant expansion plans. Between now and 2025, the company expects to double its copper production. It has also identified other mine expansion plans that could increase copper production by 350% by 2033. 

Copper prices have declined substantially in the past few months, but long-term demand for the metal remains robust, with few copper producers planning significant expansions. With shares trading at 5.8 times earnings, Teck's stock is getting harder and harder to ignore. 

So cheap you have to consider it

This is probably stretching the premise here because Intrepid Potash isn't a company worth jumping into immediately. But a price-to-earnings ratio of less than 2 deserves a hard look. The company is realizing substantially higher prices for potash. Russia and Belarus are the two largest global suppliers of the essential fertilizer, and the economic sanctions against both countries have drastically lowered global supplies. In addition, the company holds water rights in West Texas and sells water to the oil and gas industry. Higher oil prices have led to increased drilling activity and, in turn, greater demand and prices for water rights. In the first three quarters of 2022, net income per diluted share is 357% higher than the same period in the prior year.

It's unreasonable to assume that Intrepid will continue to realize such astronomical prices on potash in the coming years. Also, it's worth pointing out that Intrepid has been a terrible investment since its initial public offering (it's down 93% since then). What is hard to ignore, though, is the stock's incredibly low valuation. There is no long-term debt on the balance sheet, its cash balance is equal to 10% of its market capitalization, and it trades for 0.6 times its book value.

This stock is certainly not everyone's cup of tea, but there's a chance that global supplies of potash will be disrupted for quite some time. If that is indeed the case, then Intrepid Potash, at this price, is a compelling stock.