As 2011 comes to a close, it's a great time to look back at what happened to the stocks that interest you. By making sure you know the important things that a company accomplished -- as well as the setbacks it experienced -- you can make a better decision about whether it's a smart investment for your portfolio.

Today, let's take a look at Paramount Gold & Silver (AMEX: PZG). The mining exploration company doesn't have any current production, which often leads many analysts to miscalculate the value of its assets. That challenge, along with a generally volatile year for precious metals, has pushed the stock up and down throughout 2011. Below, I'll take a closer look at the events that moved Paramount's shares this year.

Stats on Paramount Gold & Silver

Year-to-Date Stock Return (42.3%)
Market Cap $315 million
Net Loss, Trailing 12 Months ($23.7 million)
Cash / Debt $10.7 million / $0
CAPS Rating (out of 5) ***

Sources: S&P Capital IQ, Motley Fool CAPS.

How did Paramount Gold & Silver do this year?
At the beginning of 2011, Paramount was riding high, having just made a huge discovery at its San Miguel project in Mexico. With a world-class mine owned by Coeur d'Alene (NYSE: CDE) just next door, it shouldn't have been a big surprise to make a find in the same general geological area.

Yet San Miguel isn't the company's only prospect. After paying a pittance to acquire its Sleeper project in Nevada, Paramount now believes the mine has a measured and indicated resource of 2.6 million ounces of gold and 25.3 million ounces of silver.

Perhaps the most exciting thing about Paramount is that it continues to explore for new resources. Although Great Panther Silver (AMEX: GPL), Primero Mining (NYSE: PPP), and Brigus Gold (AMEX: BRD) all have plenty of assets left to explore and tap, they have current revenue from production. Paramount, on the other hand, will rely on the interest of big companies like Newmont Mining (NYSE: NEM) and Barrick Gold (NYSE: ABX) to execute on its business strategy of focusing on exploration and then finding nearby partners to help do the actual mining.

With gold and silver prices having declined in the past week, Paramount looks poised to close out 2011 on a sour note. But if precious metals rebound, Paramount should jump with them.

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This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.