Investors are always hunting for the next big stock -- the dream stock whose price increases several times over when the market finally discovers it. It's easy to look back and discover the 10 best stocks of the past decade. But I'm more interested in the tools that can help me evaluate tomorrow's greatest companies.

Motley Fool CAPS offers a variety of resources to aid Fools in finding tomorrow's leaders. Our 140,000-member community is full of investors helping each other beat the market.

We'll enlist CAPS to screen for mining companies, then get the story behind some of its more highly rated stocks. CAPS' nifty screener will help us find stocks with:

  • A market cap of at least $100 million.
  • A three-year revenue growth rate of at least 20%.
  • A price-to-earnings ratio of less than 25.

Then we'll tap the collective intelligence of our CAPS members to see whether these companies present real opportunities -- or whether the numbers fail to tell the true story.

Opinions with the numbers
Below is a sample of stocks our screen returned. You can run this screen yourself -- remember, though, that your results may differ as the market changes.

Company

Revenue Growth Rate,
Past 3 Years

CAPS Rating
(out of 5)

Silvercorp Metals (AMEX:SVM)

122.5%

****

Cliffs Natural Resources (NYSE:CLF)

20.9%

****

Kinross Gold (NYSE:KGC)

29.0%

***

Data from CAPS as of Sept. 18.

Silvercorp Metals
Many CAPS members believe that silver prices will follow gold higher in the long term, and many other investors agree, boosting shares in miners such as Silvercorp Metals and Pan American Silver (NASDAQ:PAAS). Silvercorp has been able to mitigate the lost value from the fall in commodities prices last year by pushing production from its Chinese silver mines to record levels in the fiscal first quarter. Its improvement in operations and cost controls resulted in a nearly 38% reduction in cost of sales, too, and it increased its cash balance in the process.

Many CAPS members like the growth potential evident in the relatively small miner as it works to advance projects like its GC project in Guangdong Province, China, toward production. Today, 96% of the 199 CAPS members rating Silvercorp Metals are expecting market-beating performance from the stock.

Cliffs Natural Resources
Signs of optimism in steel are everywhere: Nucor (NYSE:NUE) recently called a bottom in steel and others like United States Steel (NYSE:X) have been restarting blast furnaces because of an uptick in demand. And the world's biggest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, has a bullish outlook for global demand in 2010.

While the domestic steel industry is still operating well below full capacity, iron ore miner Cliffs Natural Resources has seen its customers recently increase steel production, resulting in improvement in orders and a lift in iron ore sales and production guidance for 2009. The company also sits on a strong balance sheet with nearly $275 million in cash and equivalents with a reasonable debt-to-equity ratio.

In CAPS, nearly 97% of the 1,082 members rating Cliffs Natural Resources are bullish.

Kinross Gold
Gold prices have made a strong move in recent weeks, pushing shares of miners such as Kinross and Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) higher. Although short-term prices will likely remain volatile, increasing fundamental signs of future inflation and a weaker dollar have many investors bullish on the metal's long-term potential gains.

Kinross pulled in record production and revenue in the second quarter, while raising its dividend, and is focused on future growth opportunities. It's expecting to get the go-ahead soon from Ecuadorian authorities to restart drilling on its Fruta del Norte mine, and has several other key projects it looks to bring to production in the next several years.

All the shiny new profit potential has 95% of the 1,326 CAPS members rating Kinross Gold expecting it to outperform the broader market.

Let 140,000 members be the jury
The collective wisdom of a huge pool of investors can help give context to a page of numbers from a stock screen. But individual investors are still the best judges of what to do with their own money. Fools should always perform their own due diligence.

And it's easy to chime in with your own opinion. If you agree that these companies present dream opportunities -- or see more of a nightmare instead -- simply scroll down and add your comments in the comments box.

The Motley Fool Stock Advisor service looks for companies with strong management poised to beat the market over the long haul. To see all the stocks that have helped Tom and David Gardner beat the market by 49 points on average, take a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Dave Mock dreams of stocks and sugarplum fairies, but not together. He owns no shares of companies mentioned here. The Fool's disclosure policy screens the good, the bad, and the ugly.