Wheaton Precious Metals: Fourth Quarter and Full Year Financial Results
WHEATON PRECIOUS METALS ANNOUNCES RECORD REVENUE
AND OPERATING CASH FLOW FOR 2020
“Our strong performance in 2020 was driven by Wheaton’s high-quality portfolio of assets, which generated over $1 billion in revenue and operating cash flow of over $765 million, both representing records for the Company,” said Randy Smallwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wheaton Precious Metals. “Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a very productive year, and we were successful in delivering value back to our stakeholders on many fronts. Specifically, we added two new accretive precious metal streams to our portfolio, expanded our shareholder base by listing on the London Stock Exchange and provided additional funding to communities impacted by the pandemic. Given the resiliency of our production base coupled with our innovative dividend policy, we are pleased to provide greater value back to our shareholders in 2021 by increasing the minimum quarterly dividend by over 30% relative to last year.”
Fourth Quarter and Year End 2020 Highlights:
- $208 million in operating cash flow in the quarter resulting in record annual operating cash flow of over $765 million in 2020.
- Record annual revenue of $1,096 million in 2020.
- Net debt* reduced by $275 million, resulting in a net debt position of $2 million.
- Declared quarterly dividend1 of $0.13 per common share.
- New precious metal purchase agreements on the Marmato Mine and the Cozamin Mine.
- Total attributable gold Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources increased by 64%, primarily due to successful exploration at Salobo, which extended the orebody at depth.
- Commenced trading on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange.
- 2021 Guidance: Wheaton’s estimated attributable production in 2021 is forecast to be 370,000 to 400,000 ounces of gold, 22.5 to 24.0 million ounces of silver, and 40,000 to 45,000 gold equivalent ounces (“GEOs”) of other metals, resulting in production of approximately 720,000 to 780,000 GEOs.
- Five-year guidance: For the five-year period ending in 2025, the Company estimates that average production will amount to 810,000 GEOs3.
- Ten-year guidance: For the ten-year period ending in 2030, the Company estimates that average annual production will amount to 830,000 GEOs.
Revenue was $286 million in the fourth quarter of 2020 representing a 28% increase from the fourth quarter of 2019 due primarily to a 33% increase in the average realized gold equivalent² price; partially offset by a 3% decrease in the number of gold equivalent² ounces sold.
Revenue was $1,096 million in the year ended December 31, 2020 representing a 27% increase from 2019 due primarily to a 28% increase in the average realized gold equivalent² price.
Costs and Expenses
Average cash costs¹ in the fourth quarter of 2020 were $438 per gold equivalent² ounce as compared to $418 in the fourth quarter of 2019. This resulted in a cash operating margin¹ of $1,505 per gold equivalent² ounce sold, an increase of 44% as compared with the fourth quarter of 2019.
Average cash costs¹ in 2020 were $425 per gold equivalent² ounce as compared to $411 in 2019. This resulted in a cash operating margin¹ of $1,323 per gold equivalent² ounce sold, an increase of 38% as compared with 2019.
Balance Sheet (at December 31, 2020)
- Approximately $193 million of cash on hand.
- $195 million outstanding under the Company’s $2 billion revolving term loan (the “Revolving Facility”).
- During Q4 2020, the company received $113 million in proceeds from the sale of long-term equity investments including First Majestic Silver Corp. (“First Majestic”).
- During Q4 2020, the Company has repaid $293 million under the Revolving Facility.
- During Q4 2020, the net debt¹ was reduced by $275 million to $2 million.
- The average effective interest rate for Q4 2020 was 1.20%.
Listing on the London Stock Exchange
On October 28, 2020, the Company’s common shares were admitted to the Standard Segment of the Official List of the UK Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) and commenced trading on the Main Market of the London Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol WPM.
Fourth Quarter Asset Highlights
Salobo: In the fourth quarter of 2020, Salobo produced 62,900 ounces of attributable gold, a decrease of approximately 16% relative to the fourth quarter of 2019 due to lower throughput. According to Vale S.A.’s (“Vale”) Fourth Quarter and Year End 2020 Production and Sales Report, throughput at Salobo was impacted due to unscheduled maintenance and an incident which led Vale to review and halt mine and plant activities for a short period, during which changes in maintenance routines were implemented to improve operations and safety conditions. As per Vale’s Fourth Quarter and Year End 2020 Performance Report, physical completion of the Salobo III mine expansion was 68% at the end of the fourth quarter.
Sudbury: In the fourth quarter of 2020, Vale’s Sudbury mines produced 7,800 ounces of attributable gold, an increase of approximately 20% relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, due primarily to higher recoveries.
San Dimas: In the fourth quarter of 2020, San Dimas produced 11,700 ounces of attributable gold, virtually unchanged relative to the fourth quarter of 2019. As per the San Dimas precious metal purchase agreements (“PMPA”), the fixed gold to silver conversion ratio reverted to 70:1 (from 90:1) on October 14, 2020 after the average gold to silver price ratio over a six-month period fell back below 90:1.
Antamina: In the fourth quarter of 2020, Antamina produced 1.9 million ounces of attributable silver, an increase of approximately 44% relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily due to higher grades and throughput, partially offset by lower recovery.
Stillwater: In the fourth quarter of 2020, the Stillwater mines produced 3,300 ounces of attributable gold and 5,700 ounces of attributable palladium, a decrease of approximately 8% for gold and 6% for palladium relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily due to lower throughput. According to Sibanye-Stillwater Limited’s (“Sibanye-Stillwater”) Operating and Financial Results for the Six Month and Year Ended 31 December 2020, throughput was impacted primarily due to the impact of a spike in COVID-19 infections in the fourth quarter of 2020 associated with a severe wave of COVID-19 infections in Montana, USA. Sibanye-Stillwater also reported that after a review of the Blitz project was conducted following the suspension of growth capital activities due to COVID-19, the project is now expected to reach a steady state by 2024, a delay of up to two years. Finally, Sibanye-Stillwater highlighted that the Fill the Mill expansion project at the East Boulder mine was completed on schedule in the fourth quarter of 2020.
Constancia: In the fourth quarter of 2020, Constancia produced 0.5 million ounces of attributable silver and 3,900 ounces of attributable gold, a decrease of approximately 24% and 17%, respectively, relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily due to lower grades. As per Wheaton’s PMPA with Hudbay Minerals Inc. (“Hudbay”), the failure to achieve a minimum level of throughput at the Pampacancha deposit during 2019 entitled Wheaton to an additional 8,020 ounces of gold in 2020 (received in quarterly installments), of which 2,005 ounces of gold was received during the fourth quarter of 2020 and included as production. According to Hudbay’s Fourth Quarter MD&A, Hudbay had completed the Consulta Previa consultation process for Pampacancha and received the final mining permit for the development and operation of the mine. In addition, pre-development activities commenced in early January and pre-stripping activities are expected to begin once the remaining individual land user agreement has been completed. Hudbay expects production at Pampacancha to commence later in 2021.
Other Gold: In the fourth quarter of 2020, total Other Gold attributable production was 3,700 ounces, a decrease of approximately 41% relative to the fourth quarter of 2019, primarily due to lower production from the 777 and Minto mines. Hudbay reported on November 25, 2020, that production at 777 had recommenced after a temporary interruption due to an incident that occurred on October 9, 2020, during routine maintenance of the hoist rope and skip.
Keno Hill Restart: Alexco Resource Corp (“Alexco”) reported on November 24, 2020, that the commissioning of the Keno Hill District mill is commencing as scheduled, with initial production of lead/silver and zinc concentrates underway. In order to help facilitate the resumption of mining, Wheaton agreed to modify the PMPA as it relates to the delivery payment per ounce of silver in exchange for 2 million common share purchase warrants from Alexco.
Produced But Not Yet Delivered 
As at December 31, 2020, payable ounces attributable to the Company produced but not yet delivered amounted to:
- 71,600 payable gold ounces, a decrease of 4,200 ounces during Q4 2020, primarily due to a reduction during the period relative to the Minto, 777 and Sudbury mines partially offset by an increase at the Salobo mine.
- 4.5 million payable silver ounces, an increase of 1.0 million ounces during Q4 2020, primarily due to an increase during the period relative to the Peñasquito, Yauliyacu and Antamina mines.
- 5,600 payable palladium ounces, an increase of 1,000 ounces during Q4 2020.
Detailed mine-by-mine production and sales figures can be found in the Appendix to this press release and in Wheaton’s consolidated MD&A in the ‘Results of Operations and Operational Review’ section.
Marmato Mine: On November 5, 2020, the Company announced that it had entered into a PMPA with Aris Gold Corporation (“Aris Gold”, formerly Caldas Gold Corp.) with respect to the Marmato Mine located in Colombia. Under the terms of the Marmato PMPA, the Company is required to pay Aris Gold total cash consideration of $110 million, $34 million of which is payable once mining contract 014-89M is extended, $4 million of which is payable six months thereafter, and the remaining portion of which is payable during construction of the Marmato Deep Zone (“MDZ”) project, subject to certain conditions being met. In addition, the Company will make ongoing payments equal to 18% of the spot gold and silver price until the market value of gold and silver delivered to the Company, net of the per ounce cash payment, exceeds the initial upfront cash deposit, and 22% of the spot gold and silver price thereafter. The PMPA is effective July 1, 2020, though no production from Marmato has been included in 2020 operating results.
Cozamin Mine: On December 11, 2020, the Company announced that it had entered into a PMPA with Capstone Mining Corp. (“Capstone”) with respect to the Cozamin Mine located in Mexico. Under the terms of the PMPA, the Company paid Capstone upfront cash consideration of $150 million upon closing, which occurred on February 19, 2021, for 50% of the silver production until 10 million ounces (“Moz”) have been delivered, thereafter dropping to 33% of silver production for the life of the mine. In addition, Wheaton will make ongoing payments for silver ounces delivered equal to 10% of the spot silver price. The PMPA is effective December 1, 2020, though no production from Cozamin has been included in 2020 operating results.
Reserves and Resources (at December 31, 2020)
- Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves attributable to Wheaton were 11.21 million ounces of gold compared with 11.37 million ounces as reported in Wheaton’s 2019 Annual Information Form (“AIF”), a decrease of 1%; 552.9 million ounces of silver compared with 542.8 million ounces, an increase of 2%; palladium resources of 0.64 million ounces compared to 0.66 million ounces, a decrease of 3%; and cobalt of 31.7 million pounds compared to 32.7 million pounds, a decrease of 3%.
- Measured and Indicated Mineral Resources attributable to Wheaton were 4.39 million ounces of gold compared with 2.68 million ounces as reported in Wheaton’s 2019 AIF, an increase of 64%; silver resources were 743.1 million ounces compared with 736.6 million ounces, an increase of 1%; palladium resources were 0.029 million ounces compared to none in Wheaton’s 2019 AIF and cobalt resources of 1.5 million pounds compared to 1.6, a decrease of 4%.
- Inferred Mineral Resources attributable to Wheaton were 4.46 million ounces of gold compared with 4.16 million ounces as reported in Wheaton’s 2019 AIF, an increase of 7%; silver resources were 475.8 million ounces compared with 491.0 million ounces, a decrease of 3%, palladium resources were 0.37 million ounces compared with 0.35 million ounces, an increase of 6% and cobalt resources of 7.6 million pounds compared to 9.3, a decrease of 18%.
Estimated attributable reserves and resources contained in this press release are based on information available to the Company as of March 11, 2021, and therefore will not reflect updates, if any, after that date. Updated reserves and resources data incorporating year-end 2020 estimates will also be included in the Company’s 2020 Annual Information Form. Wheaton’s most current attributable reserves and resources, as of December 31, 2020, can be found on the Company’s website at www.wheatonpm.com.
COVID-19 Community Support and Response Fund
In the second quarter of 2020, Wheaton announced the launch of a $5 million Community Support and Response Fund (the “CSR Fund”) to support global efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts on our communities. The CSR Fund is designed to meet the immediate needs of the communities in which Wheaton and its mining partners operate. This fund is incremental to Wheaton’s already active Community Investment Program that currently provides support to over 50 programs in multiple communities around the world. As of December 31, 2020, the Company has made donations totalling approximately $3 million with the CSR Fund.
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