I don't know that my knowledge or insights will be all that helpful. I don't know anything about copper stocks, or any base metals stocks, for that matter. I know there are probably some great ones, like maybe FCX, but it seems like they are more dependent upon a global recovery actually taking hold than precious metals stocks are.
I've been going with gold and silver stocks, but so far, I'm not even ahead of where I'd have been if I'd just stuck with a basket of almost anything else, especially tech stocks, measuring from the bottom following the crash.
I continue to believe that the general market will break down at some point, but that precious metals will represent one of the few ports in the storm, maybe the only one. Right now, I'm like you, holding the mining stocks as opposed to the metals themselves.
The investment landscape is treacherous, and you don't know who you can trust, certainly not government. There's way too much government-supported manipulation of markets and information for individuals to feel totally confident in their investment decisions.
All I can say is 'good luck to all who are trying.'