Until May 2017 known as Silver Wheaton, Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. is the largest silver and gold streaming company in the world. “Streaming” means the company finances mining operations upfront for guaranteed portions of future production at a fixed discount price. Wheaton was the first company to employ this business model when it was founded in 2004. By streaming production from several mines, it mitigates the risk of lower-than-expected income. Wheaton is also referred to as a pure play company because does not own or operate mines; it is strictly in the business of processing the production of mining companies as by-products of their main operations. This is often done on the basis of lifetime agreements, such as with the Pensaquito mine in Mexico, Salobo in Brazil, and Antamina in Peru. The 2017 name change reflected the increasing contribution of gold to its bottom line, at half and growing. Company headquarters are in Vancouver, Canada. It trades as SLW on NYSE.
In its last year (2016) as Silver Wheaton, it announced annual net income of $195 million USD while in its very last quarter (Q1 2017), the company reported attributable production of 6.5 million ounces of silver and 84,900 ounces of gold with total net earnings of $61 million. Gold sales are growing at a rapid pace year over year, hitting a record of 330,000 ounces in 2016. Almost a quarter of that came from the Salobo Mine, where three quarters of its gold production is guaranteed to Wheaton. Simultaneously, silver production is losing prominence. The largest share of its silver comes from Mexico, including that country’s largest open pit mine (Pensaquito) which is expected to produce an average of 7 million ounces of silver a year until 2032.
Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. states its commitment to sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR). It pledges financial support to projects for people living in the communities in which it and its mining partners do business. As examples, Wheaton points to the construction of three community facilities in Tayoltita, Mexico near one of its largest producers, the San Dimas Mine; it also supported Barrick Gold’s irrigation project in Argentina’s San Juan province for the improvement of available water resources.
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