Wheaton Precious Metals: Q1 Update
WHEATON PRECIOUS METALS ANNOUNCES
RECORD REVENUE FOR THE FIRST QUARTER OF 2021
“Wheaton’s first quarter results illustrate the strength and growth profile of our diversified, high-quality portfolio with record revenue achieved and over $230 million in operating cash flow generated. As a result of these strong results, we have increased our dividend for the third quarter in a row and now have net cash on the balance sheet, which we will look to deploy to further grow our sector-leading portfolio,” said Randy Smallwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wheaton Precious Metals. “We are excited to report our first production of cobalt from the Voisey’s Bay mine in Canada and look forward to having many more years of what we believe is the most environmentally friendly, socially responsible cobalt production in the world. In addition, in the first quarter, we added a new precious metals stream on a top-tier copper development project, Santo Domingo, which should provide additional growth. Our corporate development team remains exceptionally busy evaluating a host of new opportunities, and as always, Wheaton is focused on ensuring our growth is both accretive and sustainable for all of our stakeholders.”
First Quarter 2021 Highlights:
- $232 million in operating cash flow during the first quarter.
- Record quarterly revenue of $324 million during the first quarter.
- Revolving facility fully repaid during the quarter, resulting in $191 million of cash on hand.
- Declared quarterly dividend1 of $0.14 per common share representing the third quarterly dividend increase in a row and a 40% increase relative to Q1 2020.
- First cobalt and silver deliveries from the Voisey’s Bay and Cozamin mines, respectively.
- New precious metal purchase agreement in respect to the Santo Domingo project.
Revenue was $324 million in the first quarter of 2021 representing a 27% increase from the first quarter of 2020 due primarily to a 27% increase in the average realized gold equivalent² price.
Cash Costs and Margin
Average cash costs¹ in the first quarter of 2021 were $449 per gold equivalent² ounce as compared to $382 in Q1 2020. This resulted in a cash operating margin¹ of $1,399 per gold equivalent² ounce sold, an increase of 30% as compared with the first quarter of 2020.
Balance Sheet (at March 31, 2021)
- Approximately $191 million of cash on hand.
- The Company’s $2 billion revolving term loan (the “Revolving Facility”) fully repaid.
- During Q1 2021, the company received $112 million in proceeds from the sale of its remaining equity investment in First Majestic Silver Corp. (“First Majestic”).
- During Q1 2021, the Company has repaid $195 million under the Revolving Facility.
- The average effective interest rate for Q1 2021 was 1.17%.
First Quarter Asset Highlights
Salobo: In the first quarter of 2021, Salobo produced 46,600 ounces of attributable gold, a decrease of approximately 25% relative to the first quarter of 2020 due to lower throughput. According to Vale S.A.’s (“Vale”) First Quarter 2021 Production and Sales Report, throughput at Salobo was impacted due to changes in maintenance routines which restricted mine movement, with further impacts on feed grade for the quarter. As per Vale’s First Quarter 2021 Performance Report, physical completion of the Salobo III mine expansion was 73% at the end of the first quarter and is on track for start-up in the first half of 2022.
Peñasquito: In the first quarter of 2021, Peñasquito produced 2.2 million ounces of attributable silver, a decrease of approximately 17% relative to the first quarter of 2020 primarily due to the mining of lower grade material as per the mine plan.
Antamina: In the first quarter of 2021, Antamina produced 1.6 million ounces of attributable silver, an increase of approximately 20% relative to the first quarter of 2020, due to higher grades, recovery and throughput.
San Dimas: In the first quarter of 2021, San Dimas produced 10,500 ounces of attributable gold, a decrease of approximately 7% relative to the first quarter of 2020 due primarily to lower grades. As per First Majestic’s First Quarter 2021 Production Report, increased ore development activities resulted in lower average ore grades processed in the plant.
Constancia: In the first quarter of 2021, Constancia produced 0.4 million ounces of attributable silver and 2,500 ounces of attributable gold, a decrease of approximately 12% and 33%, respectively, relative to the first quarter of 2020, with the reduction in gold production being primarily due to inclusion of 2,005 ounces received in the first quarter of 2020 as a delay payment relative to Pampacancha. Hudbay Minerals Inc. (“Hudbay”) announced on April 7, 2021, that the final land user agreement for Pampacancha has been completed and Hudbay now has full access to the site and has begun pit development activities. As per Hudbay’s MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2020, Hudbay no longer expects to mine four million tonnes of ore from the Pampacancha deposit by June 30, 2021, and should they fail to meet this milestone, they will be required to deliver an additional 8,020 ounces of gold to the Company in four equal quarterly installments, commencing September 30, 2021. Hudbay and the Company are currently in discussions about, among other things, alternatives to defer the additional gold deliveries over the Pampacancha mine life.
Sudbury: In the first quarter of 2021, Vale’s Sudbury mines produced 6,200 ounces of attributable gold, a decrease of approximately 20% relative to the first quarter of 2020, due primarily to lower throughput.
Other Silver: In the first quarter of 2021, total Other Silver attributable production was 2.6 million ounces, an increase of approximately 13% relative to the first quarter of 2020 primarily due to the initial production from the Cozamin mine. As per the precious metals purchase agreement (“PMPA”) with Capstone Mining Corp. (“Capstone”), Wheaton is entitled to any silver sold from the Cozamin mine to an offtaker as of December 1, 2020, resulting in reported production in the first quarter of 2021 including some material processed in the previous quarter.
Voisey’s Bay: In the first quarter of 2021, the Voisey’s Bay mine produced 1,161,000 pounds of attributable cobalt. As at the end of the first quarter 2021, approximately 132,000 pounds of cobalt were held in inventory by Wheaton and 818,600 pounds were produced but not delivered. As per the PMPA with Vale, Wheaton is entitled to any cobalt processed at the Long Harbour Processing Plant as of January 1, 2021, resulting in reported production in the first quarter of 2021 including some material produced at the Voisey’s Bay mine in the previous quarter. As per Vale’s First Quarter 2021 Performance Report, physical completion of the Voisey’s Bay underground mine extension was 62% at the end of the first quarter and is on track for start-up in the first half of 2021, with full completion scheduled for 2023.
Rosemont: Hudbay announced on March 29, 2021, the intersection of high-grade copper sulphide and oxide mineralization at shallow depth on its wholly-owned patented mining claims located within seven kilometers of its Rosemont copper project in Arizona. As a result of the discovery, Hudbay has initiated a second phase of exploration drilling in 2021 with a 70,000 foot follow-up drill program and has doubled the number of drill rigs operating at site to six. The discovery is included in Wheaton’s area of interest under the PMPA.
Produced But Not Yet Delivered
As at March 31, 2021, payable ounces and pounds attributable to the Company produced but not yet delivered amounted to:
- 69,300 payable gold ounces, a decrease of 1,300 ounces during Q1 2021, primarily due to a reduction during the period relative to the Salobo mine partially offset by increases at the 777 and Sudbury mines.
- 3.7 million payable silver ounces, a decrease of 0.8 million ounces during Q1 2021, primarily due to reductions during the period relative to the Antamina, Yauliyacu and Peñasquito mines.
- 5,400 payable palladium ounces, a decrease of 200 ounces during Q1 2021.
- 818,600 payable cobalt pounds.
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.
Santo Domingo Mine: On March 25, 2021, the Company announced that it had entered into a PMPA with Capstone in respect to the Santo Domingo project located in the Atacama Region, Chile. The Company will purchase 100% of the payable gold production until 285,000 ounces have been delivered, thereafter dropping to 67% of payable gold production for the life of the mine. The Company will pay Capstone a total upfront cash consideration of $290 million, $30 million of which was paid on April 21, 2021, and the remainder of which is payable during construction of the Santo Domingo project, subject to customary conditions being satisfied, including Capstone attaining sufficient financing to cover total expected capital expenditures. In addition, Wheaton will make ongoing payments for gold ounces delivered equal to 18% of the spot gold price until the market value of gold delivered to the Company, net of the per ounce cash payment, exceeds the initial upfront cash deposit, and 22% of the spot gold price thereafter.
Other Corporate Development Updates:
- On February 19, 2021, the previously announced PMPA relative to the Cozamin mine was closed, with the upfront cash consideration of $150 million being paid to Capstone on that date.
- On April 15, 2021, the previously announced PMPA relative to the Marmato mine was closed, with the initial upfront cash consideration of $34 million being paid to Aris Gold Corporation (“Aris”) on that date.
- On January 5, 2021, the Company acquired a 2.0% net smelter return royalty interest relative to the Brewery Creek mine located in the Yukon Territories, Canada.
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 March 31, 2021, the Company has made donations totalling approximately $3 million with the CSR Fund.
In the interview below CEO Randy Smallwood provides an overview of the business and his view on the precious metals market
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