They are among this year’s worst performers among non-leveraged exchange traded funds, but investors have been pouring cash into precious metals mining funds.

Year-to-date, the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDX), the Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: GDXJ) and Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSEArca: SIL) are down 55.7%, 63% and 52.5%, respectively. With gold prices flirting ominously with $1,200 an ounce, those losses could accelerate. [Another Troubling Day for Mining ETFs]

That has not deterred investors from putting cash into these ETFs. Since Jan. 1, GDX has seen net inflows of roughly $2.5 billion to become a $6.8 billion ETF despite a dismal price performance, reports Cinthia Murphy for Index Universe.

GDXJ has raked in $268.3 million while SIL has taken in $24.3 million, according to Index Universe. The iShares MSCI Global Gold Miners ETF (NYSEArca: RING) has pulled in $26.5 million since the start of the year.

“Despite the drubbing, investors appear to be averaging into long positions which has always appeared to be the trend in this very popular product. Several related products have also capitalized on the extreme volatility this year and rising popularity in trading the miners as a strategy or a hedge,” wrote Paul Weisbruch of Street One Financial in a note out Tuesday. [ETF Chart of the Day: Gold Miners]

While investors have been busy dollar-cost averaging into what are likely underwater positions with the aforementioned ETFs, flows data show the one gold mining ETF that has been reliable this year has actually seen outflows.

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