I have been trading the miners for about 25 years. Here are some things to take note of
It's safer to trade gdx/gdxj and their derivatives in order to reduce risk of ancillary miner problems
Miners are very cyclical and seasonal. You should not buy miners with the intent of investing long term. You should trade them when they are too out of sync with gold price (which is usually a top or bottom)
You should buy miners when you expect metals to rise and sell them when you expect metals to fall.
Miners are quite volatile and some are better buys that others depending on the day.
With that said... Here are my current recommendations (best fundamentals and technicals)
-medium size high leverage to gold (low risk)
KGC ~2 million ounces per year at 5 p.e. 8 billion market cap. the best!
GFI ~2 million ounces per year at 6 p.e. 7 billion market cap. cheapest large producer
KL ~2 million ounces per year at 6 p.e. 9 billion market cap. lowest cost
AU cheap under 20
BTG low cost tier 1 asset
-medium size gold and silver
PAAS - my favorite
small cap silver (high risk)
EXK - bit pricey right now
HL - must wait for lower price
CDE - pricey right now
AG - extremely over priced (but darling of silver bugs)
AXU - best leveraged silver play
small cap gold
EGO - watching greek progress