Vancouver, British Columbia – Wheaton Precious Metals™ Corp. (“Wheaton” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce its results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2019. All figures are presented in United States dollars unless otherwise noted.
In the second quarter of 2019, Wheaton generated over $100 million in operating cash flow and had attributable gold production of over 100,000 ounces. Through the first half of 2019, Wheaton is on track for record annual gold production and reconfirms 2019 gold equivalent production guidance.
see on https://s21.q4cdn.com/266470217/files/doc_news/2019/19-08-08-Q2-2019-Results-(FINAL).pdf
• The increase in attributable gold production was primarily due to the commencement of the San Dimas gold stream effective May 10, 2018, and the Stillwater precious metals stream effective July 1, 2018, as well as higher production at Sudbury.
• The decrease in attributable silver production was primarily due to the termination of the San Dimas silver stream effective May 10, 2018 and lower production from Peñasquito due to an illegal blockade.
• The increase in gold sales volume was due to the higher production levels, partially offset by negative changes in the balance of payable gold produced but not yet delivered to Wheaton.
• The decrease in silver sales volume was due to the lower production levels coupled with negative changes in the balance of payable silver produced but not yet delivered to Wheaton.
• The net loss incurred during the current period was a result of a non-cash impairment charge in the amount of $166 million relative to the Company’s Voisey’s Bay PMPA, while during the prior period the Company terminated the previously owned San Dimas silver purchase agreement, resulting in a gain on disposal of $246 million.
• The decrease in adjusted net earnings was primarily due to lower margins relative to San Dimas, which was converted to a gold stream on May 10, 2018, lower sales relative to Peñasquito resulting from the illegal blockade, lower sales relative to Salobo resulting from negative changes in ounces PBND and higher finance costs.
• Declared quarterly dividend of $0.09 per common share in accordance with Wheaton’s setting of a minimum quarterly dividend of $0.09 per common share for the duration of 2019, subject to the discretion of the Board of Directors.
Subsequent to the Quarter
• Hudbay Minerals Inc. (“Hudbay”) announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona issued a ruling vacating and remanding the U.S. Forest Service’s issuance of the Final Record of Decision for the Rosemont project in Arizona, such that Rosemont cannot proceed with construction at this time. Hudbay states that they believe that the Court has misinterpreted federal mining laws and Forest Service regulations as they apply to Rosemont and as such, they will be appealing the decision.
Reconfirming Gold Equivalent Production Guidance
• Wheaton’s estimated attributable production in 2019 is on track to meet its forecast of approximately 690,000 gold equivalent ounces2; however, the mix of precious metals production has been updated based on developments in the first half of the year. Specifically, Wheaton now expects to produce approximately 385,000 ounces of gold, 22.5 million ounces of silver and 22,000 ounces of palladium.
• For the five-year period ending in 2023, the Company continues to estimate that average annual gold equivalent production2 will amount to 750,000 ounces. As a reminder, Wheaton does not include any production from Rosemont in this five-year guidance.
“Wheaton once again generated strong operating cash flow in the second quarter at well over $100 million,” said Randy Smallwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wheaton Precious Metals. “We are unique in the streaming and royalty space as our current revenue is derived from 100% precious metals production with significant leverage to not only the price of gold, but also to other precious metals including silver and palladium. As always, we remain
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focused on the sustainable management of our diverse portfolio of low-cost, long-life assets and delivering superior shareholder value.”
Revenue was $189 million in the second quarter of 2019, on sales volume of 90,100 ounces of gold, 4.2 million ounces of silver and 5,300 ounces of palladium. This represents an 11% decrease from the $212 million of revenue generated in the second quarter of 2018 due primarily to (i) a 29% decrease in the number of silver ounces sold, (ii) a 10% decrease in the average realized silver price ($14.93 in Q2 2019 compared with $16.52 in Q2 2018); partially offset by (iii) the introduction of palladium sales effective Q3 2018, (iv) a 3% increase in the number of gold ounces sold; and (v) a 1% increase in the average realized gold price ($1,320 in Q2 2019 compared with $1,305 in Q2 2018).
Costs and Expenses
Average cash costs¹ in the second quarter of 2019 were $420 per gold ounce sold, $5.14 per silver ounce sold and $247 per palladium ounce sold, as compared with $407 per gold ounce and $4.54 per silver ounce during the comparable period of 2018. This resulted in a cash operating margin¹ of $900 per gold ounce sold, $9.79 per silver ounce sold and $1,134 per palladium ounce sold, a decrease of 18% per silver ounce sold while the cash operating margin¹ per ounce of gold sold was virtually unchanged as compared with Q2 2018. The decrease in the silver cash operating margin was primarily due to a 10% decrease in the average realized silver price in Q2 2019 compared with Q2 2018.
Adjusted Net Earnings and Operating Cash Flows
Adjusted net earnings¹ and cash flow from operations in the second quarter of 2019 were $45 million ($0.10 per share) and $109 million ($0.25 per share¹), compared with adjusted net earnings¹ of $72 million ($0.16 per share) and cash flow from operations of $135 million ($0.31 per share¹) for the same period in 2018, a decrease of 38% and 19%, respectively.
At June 30, 2019, the Company had approximately $87 million of cash on hand and $1.1 billion outstanding under the Company's $2 billion revolving term loan (the "Revolving Facility"). The average effective interest rate for the second quarter of 2019 was 4.25%.
At the end of each reporting period, the Company assesses each precious metal purchase agreement (“PMPA”) to determine whether any indication of impairment exists. If such an indication exists, the recoverable amount of the precious metal purchase agreement is estimated in order to determine the extent of the impairment (if any).
On June 11, 2018, the Company entered into an agreement (the “Voisey’s Bay PMPA”) to acquire from a subsidiary of Vale S.A. (“Vale”) an amount of cobalt equal to 42.4% of the cobalt production from its Voisey’s Bay mine in Canada, until the delivery of 31 million pounds of cobalt and 21.2% of cobalt production thereafter for the life of mine for a total upfront cash payment of $390 million. Concurrently, Vale also entered into a streaming agreement with Cobalt 27 Capital Corp. (“Cobalt 27”) on the Voisey’s Bay mine with similar terms and conditions to the Voisey’s Bay PMPA.
On June 18, 2019, Cobalt 27 announced that it had entered into an agreement with Pala Investments Limited (“Pala”) whereby Pala would acquire 100% of Cobalt 27’s issued and
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outstanding common shares. The implied price paid by Pala for Cobalt 27’s streaming agreement on the Voisey’s Bay mine was significantly lower than the original upfront cash payment paid by Cobalt 27 to Vale at the time their agreement was entered into. The estimated implied purchase price paid by Pala to acquire Cobalt 27’s Voisey’s Bay stream was determined to be an indicator of impairment relative to the Company’s Voisey’s Bay PMPA.
The Voisey’s Bay PMPA had a carrying value at June 30, 2019, of $393 million. Management estimated that the recoverable amount at June 30, 2019, under the Voisey’s Bay PMPA was $227 million, resulting in an impairment charge of $166 million.
Second Quarter Asset Highlights
During the second quarter of 2019 attributable production was 100,600 ounces of gold, 4.8 million ounces of silver and 5,700 ounces of palladium, representing an increase of 11% and a decrease of 19% for gold and silver, respectively, as compared with the second quarter of 2018.
Operational highlights for the quarter ended June 30, 2019, are as follows:
In the second quarter of 2019, Salobo produced 67,100 ounces of attributable gold, virtually unchanged relative to the second quarter of 2018 as lower throughput and recoveries were almost completely offset by higher grades. In Vale’s Second Quarter 2019 Performance Report, Vale reports that the ongoing expansion at Salobo continues to progress with the completion of the earthworks in the crushing and flotation plants in the quarter.
In the second quarter of 2019, Peñasquito produced 0.7 million ounces of attributable silver, a decrease of approximately 45% relative to the second quarter of 2018 primarily due to lower throughput resulting from an illegal blockade in the quarter partially offset by higher grades. In April 2019, Newmont Mining Corporation and Goldcorp Inc. merged to form Newmont Goldcorp Corporation (“Newmont”). On June 17, 2019, Newmont announced that it was ramping up operations at Peñasquito following the lifting of the illegal blockade and the establishment of a dialogue process sponsored by the national government. Newmont also states that shipments from the mine have resumed and that during the 49-day suspension of operations, the mine used the downtime to bring forward maintenance on a variety of systems and equipment.
In the second quarter of 2019, San Dimas produced 11,500 ounces of attributable gold, an increase of approximately 101% relative to the second quarter of 2018 as the San Dimas gold stream was effective May 10, 2018. According to First Majestic Silver Corp.’s (“First Majestic”) second quarter of 2019 production report, the San Dimas mill processed a total of 172,368 tonnes with average silver and gold grades of 312 g/t and 4.32 g/t, respectively. According to First Majestic, throughput was up 6% and silver and gold grades improved 9% and 3%, respectively, compared to the prior quarter due to higher grades in the Jessica and Victoria veins.
In the second quarter of 2019, Vale’s Sudbury mines produced 9,000 ounces of attributable gold, an increase of approximately 39% relative to the second quarter of 2018 primarily due to higher throughput. As a reminder, production in the second quarter of 2018 was impacted
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by the Coleman mine being shutdown down for unscheduled maintenance from November 2017 to April 2018.
In the second quarter of 2019, Constancia produced 0.5 million ounces of attributable silver and 4,500 ounces of attributable gold, a decrease of approximately 8% for silver production and an increase of approximately 42% for gold production relative to the second quarter of 2018. As per Wheaton’s precious metals purchase agreement with Hudbay relating to Constancia (the “Constancia PMPA”), should Hudbay fail to achieve a minimum level of throughput at the Pampacancha satellite deposit during 2018, 2019 and 2020, Wheaton will be entitled to an increased portion of gold from Hudbay. As per Hudbay’s MD&A for the first quarter of 2019, mining of the Pampacancha deposit is not expected to begin until later in 2020. Assuming ore production does not begin until 2020, the Company will be entitled to receive an additional 8,020 ounces of gold in each of 2019 and 2020 relative to the Constancia PMPA, with the deliveries to be made in quarterly installments, of which 2,005 ounces were received during the second quarter of 2019 and reported as production.
In the second quarter of 2019, total Other Gold attributable production was 4,800 ounces, a decrease of approximately 36% relative to the second quarter of 2018. The decrease was due primarily to the cessation of production at the Minto mine which was placed on care and maintenance in the fourth quarter of 2018. The Minto mine was sold by Capstone Mining Corp. to Pembridge Resources plc (“Pembridge”) effective June 3, 2019. According to Pembridge’s news release dated June 4, 2019, Pembridge expects to recommence commercial production at Minto during the fourth quarter of 2019; however, Wheaton does not include any additional production from Minto in its 2019 or five-year guidance.
In the second quarter of 2019, total Other Silver attributable production was 2.3 million ounces, an increase of approximately 6% relative to the second quarter of 2018. The increase was driven primarily by higher production from the Zinkgruvan and Aljustrel mines partially offset by lower production at Yauliyacu.
Development Update – Toroparu
Sandspring Resources Ltd. announced results from a Preliminary Economic Assessment (“PEA”) of its Toroparu Gold Project in Guyana in a news release dated June 4, 2019, and subsequently filed the PEA on July 23, 2019.
Produced But Not Yet Delivered 3
As at June 30, 2019, payable ounces attributable to the Company produced but not yet delivered amounted to 80,700 payable gold ounces, 3.3 million payable silver ounces and 4,500 payable palladium ounces, representing an increase of 5,900 payable gold ounces, a decrease of 0.2 million payable silver ounces and a decrease of 300 payable palladium ounces during the three month period ended June 30, 2019. Payable gold ounces produced but not yet delivered increased primarily as a result of an increase related to the Salobo gold interest. Payable silver ounces produced but not yet delivered decreased slightly primarily as a result of a decrease related to the Peñasquito silver interest partially offset by an increase related to the Antamina silver interest. Payable ounces produced but not yet delivered to the Wheaton group of companies are expected to average approximately two months of annualized production for silver and two to three months for both gold and palladium but may vary from quarter to quarter due to a number of mining operation factors including mine ramp-up and timing of shipments.
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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.
Subsequent to the Quarter
Rosemont – Permitting
On August 1, 2019, Hudbay announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona (“Court”) issued a ruling in the lawsuits challenging the U.S. Forest Service’s issuance of the Final Record of Decision (“FROD”) for the Rosemont project in Arizona. The Court ruled to vacate and remand the FROD such that Rosemont cannot proceed with construction at this time. Hudbay stated that they believe that the Court has misinterpreted federal mining laws and Forest Service regulations as they apply to Rosemont and as such, they will be appealing the Court’s decision to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Hudbay indicates that the FROD was issued in June 2017 after a thorough process of ten years involving 17 co-operating agencies at various levels of government, 16 hearings, over 1,000 studies, and 245 days of public comment resulting in more than 36,000 comments. Wheaton has not made any upfront payments to date relative to Rosemont nor included any production from Rosemont in its five-year guidance.
Third Quarterly Dividend
The third quarterly cash dividend for 2019 of US$0.09 will be paid to holders of record of Wheaton Precious Metals common shares as of the close of business on August 23, 2019 and will be distributed on or about September 5, 2019.
Under the Company’s dividend policy, the quarterly dividend per common share is targeted to equal approximately 30% of the average cash generated by operating activities in the previous four quarters divided by the Company’s then outstanding common shares, all rounded to the nearest cent. To minimize volatility in quarterly dividends, the Company has set a minimum quarterly dividend of $0.09 per common share for the duration of 2019.
The declaration, timing, amount and payment of future dividends remain at the discretion of the Board of Directors. This dividend qualifies as an ‘eligible dividend’ for Canadian income tax purposes.
Dividend Reinvestment Plan
The Company has previously implemented a Dividend Reinvestment Plan (“DRIP”). Participation in the DRIP is optional. For the purposes of this third quarterly dividend, the Company has elected to issue common shares under the DRIP through treasury at a 3% discount to the Average Market Price, as defined in the DRIP. However, the Company may, from time to time, in its discretion, change or eliminate the discount applicable to Treasury Acquisitions, as defined in the DRIP, or direct that such common shares be purchased in Market Acquisitions, as defined in the DRIP, at the prevailing market price, any of which would be publicly announced.
The DRIP and enrollment forms, including direct deposit, are available for download on the Company’s website at www.wheatonpm.com, accessible by quick links directly from the home page, and can also be found in the ‘investors’ section, under the ‘dividends’ tab.