Silver Wheaton Reports Record Quarterly Gold Production in Q3 2016
Silver Wheaton Corp. ("Silver Wheaton" or the "Company") (TSX:SLW) (NYSE: SLW) is pleased to announce its results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2016. All figures are presented in United States dollars unless otherwise noted.
Silver Wheaton produced a record 109,200 ounces of gold in the third quarter of 2016 and has now produced over 240,000 ounces in the first nine months of 2016. Furthermore, gold sales were at a record level for the third-consecutive quarter, at over 85,000 ounces, driven by record gold sales at Salobo. The strong gold sales contributed to a 62% increase in operating cash flow relative to Q3 2015. Silver Wheaton's fourth quarterly dividend for 2016 rose to $0.06 per share, a 20% increase relative to the previous dividend. Silver Wheaton also welcomes Chuck Jeannes to the Company's Board of Directors.
THIRD QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS
- Attributable production in Q3 2016 of 7.7 million ounces of silver and 109,200 ounces of gold, compared with 6.9 million ounces of silver and 58,600 ounces of gold in Q3 2015, with silver production having increased by 11% and gold production, which represented a record, having increased 86%.
- On a silver equivalent basis1 and gold equivalent basis1 attributable production in Q3 2016 was 15.1 million silver equivalent ounces ("SEOs") or 221,600 gold equivalent ounces ("GEOs"), compared with 11.3 million SEOs or 149,900 GEOs in Q3 2015, with silver production having increased 33% and gold production, which represented a record, having increased 48%.
- Sales volume in Q3 2016 of 6.1 million ounces of silver and a record 85,100 ounces of gold, compared with 6.6 million ounces of silver and 48,100 ounces of gold in Q3 2015, with silver sales volume having decreased 7% and gold sales volume, which represented a record, having increased 77%.
- On a silver equivalent basis1 and gold equivalent basis1, sales volume in Q3 2016 was 11.9 million SEOs or 175,000 GEOs, compared with 10.2 million SEOs or 135,200 GEOs in Q3 2015, an increase of 17% and 29%, respectively.
- As at September 30, 2016, payable ounces attributable to the Company produced but not yet delivered4 amounted to 3.8 million payable silver ounces and 63,300 payable gold ounces, representing an increase of 0.8 million payable silver ounces and 18,500 payable gold ounces during the three month period ended September 30, 2016.
- Revenues of $233 million in Q3 2016 compared with $153 million in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 52%.
- Average realized sale price per ounce sold in Q3 2016 of $19.53 per ounce of silver and $1,336 per ounce of gold representing an increase of 30% and 18%, respectively, compared to Q3 2015.
- Net earnings of $83 million ($0.19 per share) in Q3 2016 compared with a net loss of $96 million ($0.24 per share) in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 187%.
- Net earnings of $83 million ($0.19 per share) in Q3 2016 compared with adjusted net earnings2 of $50 million ($0.12 per share) in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 67%. Earnings in Q3 2015 were adjusted by removing the $146 million after tax impact of an impairment charge taken in the quarter.
- Operating cash flows of $162 million ($0.37 per share2) in Q3 2016 compared with $100 million ($0.25 per share2) in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 62%.
- Cash operating margin2 in Q3 2016 of $15.02 per silver ounce sold and $946 per gold ounce sold, representing an increase of 39% and 28%, respectively, as compared with Q3 2015.
- Average cash costs2 in Q3 2016 were $4.51 and $390 per ounce of silver and gold, respectively.
- Declared quarterly dividend of $0.06 per common share, representing an increase of 20% relative to the previous quarterly dividend.
- Silver Wheaton announces the appointment of Chuck Jeannes to the Board of Directors.
- Asset Highlights
- On August 16, 2016, Silver Wheaton's wholly-owned subsidiary, Silver Wheaton (Caymans) Ltd. ("SWC"), completed its acquisition from a subsidiary of Vale S.A. ("Vale") of an additional amount of gold equal to 25% of the life of mine gold production from the Salobo mine, located in Brazil. SWC is now entitled to 75% of gold production from the Salobo mine.
- Record Salobo gold production in Q3 2016 of 68,168 ounces compared with 35,717 ounces in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 91% due to the additional 25% of attributable gold and increased throughput.
- Sudbury gold production in Q3 2016 of 9,955 ounces compared with 7,300 ounces in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 36% due to higher grades.
- Record total Other Gold production in Q3 2016 of 31,070 ounces compared with 15,591 ounces in Q3 2015, representing an increase of 99% due primarily to record gold production at Minto and strong production at 777.
- Peñasquito silver production in Q3 2016 of 1.5 million ounces compared with 2.1 million ounces in Q3 2015, representing a decrease of 29% due primarily to lower grades and throughput.
- 2016 Production Guidance
- Gold production for 2016 is now expected to be 335,000 ounces in 2016, up from previous guidance of 305,000 ounces primarily due to better than expected results in the first nine months of the year and expected production in Q4 relating to the Salobo and Sudbury mines.
- Silver production for 2016 is now expected to be 30 million ounces in 2016, down from previous guidance of 32 million ounces primarily due to lower than expected results from San Dimas and Peñasquito, partially offset by better than expected results from Antamina.
- Based on the average LBMA gold and silver price for the first nine months of 2016 ($1,258 and $17.08, respectively)3, Silver Wheaton's 2016 forecast remains unchanged on a silver-equivalent basis at 55 million SEOs and on a gold-equivalent basis at 740,000 GEOs.
"Once again, Silver Wheaton had record gold production and sales, producing over 100,000 ounces of gold in the third quarter alone," said Randy Smallwood, President and Chief Executive Officer of Silver Wheaton. "As a result, cash flow from operations increased by over 60% relative to the same quarter last year, while commodity prices climbed on average only around 25% over the same time period. We have now generated over $400 million in operating cash flow in the first nine months of this year. Since our dividend is directly linked to operating cash flow, our dividend this quarter also climbed, increasing 20% from last quarter, delivering direct reward back to our shareholders. We believe this clearly highlights the strength of our streaming business model and the leverage it delivers to higher commodity prices."
"We are also very pleased to welcome Chuck Jeannes to our Board of Directors. Chuck brings a wealth of experience in the mining industry and will no doubt prove to be a valuable resource to Silver Wheaton."
Revenue was $233 million in the third quarter of 2016, on sales volume of 6.1 million ounces of silver and 85,100 ounces of gold. This represents a 52% increase from the $153 million of revenue generated in the third quarter of 2015 due primarily to (i) a 77% increase in the number of gold ounces sold; (ii) a 30% increase in the average realized silver price ($19.53 in Q3 2016 compared with $15.05 in Q3 2015); (iii) an 18% increase in the average realized gold price ($1,336 in Q3 2016 compared with $1,130 in Q3 2015); partially offset by (iv) a 7% decrease in the number of silver ounces sold.
Costs and Expenses
Average cash costs2 in the third quarter of 2016 were $4.51 per silver ounce sold and $390 per gold ounce sold, as compared with $4.26 per silver ounce and $389 per gold ounce during the comparable period of 2015. This resulted in a cash operating margin2 of $15.02 per silver ounce sold and $946 per gold ounce sold, an increase of 39% and 28%, respectively, as compared with Q3 2015. The increase in the cash operating margin was primarily due to a 30% increase in the average realized silver price and an 18% increase in the average realized gold price in Q3 2016 compared with Q3 2015.
Earnings and Operating Cash Flows
Net earnings and cash flow from operations in the third quarter of 2016 were $83 million ($0.19 per share) and $162 million ($0.37 per share2), compared with adjusted net earnings2 of $50 million ($0.12 per share) and cash flow from operations of $100 million ($0.25 per share2) for the same period in 2015, an increase of 67% and 62%, respectively.
At September 30, 2016, the Company had approximately $126 million of cash on hand and $1.3 billion outstanding under the Company's $2 billion revolving term loan. The revolving term loan matures on February 27, 2021.
Third Quarter Asset Highlights
During the third quarter of 2016, attributable production was 7.7 million ounces of silver and 109,200 ounces of gold, respectively, with silver production having increased 11% and gold production, which represented a record, having increased 86% as compared with the third quarter of 2015.
Operational highlights for the quarter ended September 30, 2016, are as follows:
In the third quarter of 2016, Salobo produced 68,168 ounces of attributable gold, an increase of approximately 91% relative to the third quarter of 2015. This growth was primarily due to the 25% increase in the amount of gold Silver Wheaton is entitled to as detailed below as well as increased throughput. Salobo achieved a monthly production record of 17,000 tons of copper in September, running at nominal capacity on a monthly basis.
On August 16, 2016, SWC completed its previously announced amendment to its agreement with Vale to acquire an additional amount of gold equal to 25% of the life of mine gold production from its Salobo mine located in Brazil. This acquisition is in addition to the 50% of the Salobo gold production that SWC acquired pursuant to its existing agreement with Vale. SWC paid an upfront cash consideration of US$800 million for the increased gold stream and the 10 million Silver Wheaton common share purchase warrants previously issued to a subsidiary of Vale were amended to reduce the exercise price from US$65 to US$43.75 per common share. In addition, SWC will make ongoing payments of the lesser of US$400 (subject to a 1% annual inflation adjustment now commencing in 2019 on the entire 75% stream) and the prevailing market price for each ounce of gold delivered under the agreement. SWC was entitled to all attributable gold production for which an off-taker payment was received after July 1, 2016. As a result of this, reported production for Salobo in Q3 2016 is inclusive of some material produced in Q2.
In the third quarter of 2016, Antamina produced 1.5 million ounces of attributable silver with production being lower than the previous quarters as expected due to lower tonnage and recovery, offset partially by higher grades. Antamina is on track to well exceed the Company's original production guidance for 2016.
In the third quarter of 2016, Peñasquito produced 1.5 million ounces of attributable silver, a decrease of approximately 29% relative to the third quarter of 2015. As disclosed in Goldcorp's third quarter of 2016 MD&A, the drop in production was attributable to lower grades as a result of mine sequencing, lower throughput due to harder ore types processed, and lower recoveries associated with processing lower grade stockpile ore. Furthermore, Goldcorp reports that towards the end of the third quarter of 2016, mining shifted from the lower grade upper transitional ore into higher grade ore in the lower portion of the pit and that tonnes milled are also expected to increase due to less planned maintenance. Finally, the Northern Well Field project, which should satisfy Peñasquito's long-term water requirements, has reportedly ramped up as expected and reached full design capacity in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In the third quarter of 2016, San Dimas produced 1.3 million ounces of attributable silver, a decrease of approximately 11% relative to the third quarter of 2015. The decrease in production was primarily driven by lower throughput and lower grades. As per Primero Mining Corp.'s ("Primero") third quarter of 2016 MD&A, production during the quarter was affected by high unplanned worker absences and lack of achievement of mine plans, which resulted in reduced underground development rates and delayed certain ventilation improvement projects, and in turn, limited access to certain high-grade areas of the San Dimas mine. Primero further reports that as a result of these challenges, they have reduced 2016 silver production guidance to between 5.5-6.0 million ounces from prior guidance of 7.5-8.5 million ounces.
In the third quarter of 2016, Vale's Sudbury mines produced 9,955 ounces of attributable gold, an increase of approximately 36% relative to the third quarter of 2015. This increase was attributable to higher grades and associated mill recoveries at the Coleman and Totten mines.
In the third quarter of 2016, total Other Gold attributable production was a record 31,070 ounces, almost twice as much as the third quarter of 2015. The increase was driven primarily by record gold production at Minto and strong production from 777. As per Capstone Mining Corp.'s third quarter of 2016 production report, Minto's record production was driven by record quarterly mill-throughput and strong recoveries due to the lower than expected oxide content in the Minto North ore. Open pit mining of the Minto North pit was completed at the end of September and the mill is reportedly now processing high grade stockpile combined with underground ore. In addition, 777 gold production in the third quarter of 2016 was 60% higher than the third quarter of 2015 primarily due to higher throughput and grades.
Produced But Not Yet Delivered4
As at September 30, 2016, payable ounces attributable to the Company produced but not yet delivered4 amounted to 3.8 million payable silver ounces and 63,300 payable gold ounces, representing an increase of 0.8 million payable silver ounces and 18,500 payable gold ounces during the three month period ended September 30, 2016. Payable silver ounces produced but not yet delivered increased primarily as a result of increases related to the Yauliyacu, Peñasquito, and San Dimas silver interests, partially offset by decreases related to the Antamina silver interest. Payable gold ounces produced but not yet delivered increased primarily as a result of increases related to the Salobo and Minto gold interests, offset partially by decreases related to the Sudbury gold interest. Payable ounces produced but not yet delivered to Silver Wheaton companies are expected to average approximately two months of annualized production but may vary from quarter to quarter due to a number of mining operation factors including mine ramp-up and timing of shipments.
Detailed mine by mine production and sales figures can be found in the Appendix to this press release and in Silver Wheaton's consolidated MD&A in the 'Results of Operations and Operational Review' section.
Fourth Quarterly Dividend
In connection with the Board of Directors declaration of a dividend, the fourth quarterly cash dividend of US$0.06 will be paid to holders of record of Silver Wheaton common shares as of the close of business on November 23, 2016, and will be distributed on or about December 7, 2016.
Under the Company's dividend policy, the quarterly dividend per common share will be equal to 20% 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.
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 Plan5
The Company has previously implemented a Dividend Reinvestment Plan ("DRIP"). Participation in the DRIP is optional. For the purposes of this fourth 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 are available for download on the Company's website at www.silverwheaton.com, accessible by quick links directly from the home page, and can also be found in the 'investors' section, under the 'dividends' tab.
Registered shareholders may also enroll in the DRIP online through the plan agent's self-service web portal at: https://www.canstockta.com/en/InvestorServices/Investor_Information/Issuer_List/IssuerDetail.jsp?companyCode=1501.
Beneficial shareholders should contact their financial intermediary to arrange enrollment. All shareholders considering enrollment in the DRIP should carefully review the terms of the DRIP and consult with their advisors as to the implications of enrollment in the DRIP.
New Addition to Silver Wheaton's Board of Directors
Silver Wheaton is pleased to announce the addition of Chuck Jeannes to the Company's Board of Directors. Mr. Jeannes is a mining industry veteran with over 30 years of experience. As President and CEO of Goldcorp Inc. from December 2008 to April 2016, he led the company's development into one of the world's largest and most successful gold mining companies with mining operations and development projects located throughout the Americas. Prior to his appointment as President and CEO, he held the role of Executive Vice President, Corporate Development where he managed a series of M&A transactions that have contributed to the company's significant growth. Prior to joining Goldcorp, Mr. Jeannes held senior positions with Glamis Gold Ltd. and Placer Dome Inc. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Nevada (1980) and graduated from the University of Arizona College of Law with honors in 1983. He practiced law for 11 years and has broad experience in capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, public and private financing and international operations.
Updated Production Guidance for 2016 / Outlook
Silver Wheaton has updated its 2016 attributable production forecast for both gold and silver. Attributable gold production for 2016 is now expected to be 335,000 ounces in 2016, up from previous guidance of 305,000 ounces primarily due to better than expected results in the first nine months of the year and expected production in Q4 relating to the Salobo and Sudbury mines. Attributable silver production for 2016 is now expected to be 30 million ounces in 2016, down from previous guidance of 32 million ounces primarily due to lower than expected results from San Dimas and Peñasquito, partially offset by better than expected results from Antamina. Based on the average LBMA gold and silver price for the first nine months of 2016 ($1,260 and $17.12, respectively)3, Silver Wheaton's 2016 forecast for attributable production remains unchanged on a silver equivalent basis at 55 million SEOs and on a gold equivalent basis at 740,000 GEOs. Estimated average annual production over the next five years (inclusive of 2016) remains unchanged at approximately 330,000 ounces of gold and 31 million ounces of silver.
From a liquidity perspective, the $126 million of cash and cash equivalents as at September 30, 2016 combined with the liquidity provided by the available credit under the $2 billion Revolving Facility and ongoing operating cash flows positions the Company well to fund all outstanding commitments and known contingencies as well as providing flexibility to acquire additional accretive precious metal stream interests.
Webcast and Conference Call Details
A conference call and webcast will be held Thursday, November 10, 2016, starting at 11:00 am (Eastern Time) to discuss these results. To participate in the live call, please use one of the following methods:
|Dial toll free from Canada or the US:||888-231-8191|
|Dial from outside Canada or the US:||647-427-7450|
|Live audio webcast:||www.silverwheaton.com|
Participants should dial in five to ten minutes before the call.
The conference call will be recorded and available until November 17, 2016 at 11:59 pm ET. The webcast will be available for one year. You can listen to an archive of the call by one of the following methods:
|Dial toll free from Canada or the US:||855-859-2056|
|Dial from outside Canada or the US:||416-849-0833|
|Archived audio webcast:||www.silverwheaton.com|
This earnings release should be read in conjunction with Silver Wheaton's MD&A and Financial Statements, which are available on the Company's website at www.silverwheaton.com and have been posted on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Mr. Neil Burns, Vice President, Technical Services for Silver Wheaton, is a "qualified person" as such term is defined under National Instrument 43-101, and has reviewed and approved the technical information including information on mineral reserves and mineral resources disclosed in this news release.
Silver Wheaton believes that there are no significant differences between its corporate governance practices and those required to be followed by United States domestic issuers under the NYSE listing standards. This confirmation is located on the Silver Wheaton website at http://www.silverwheaton.com/company/corporate-governance/default.aspx.
|1||Please refer to the table on the bottom of page 12 for the methodology of converting production and sales volumes to silver and gold equivalent ounces.|
|2||Please refer to non-IFRS measures at the end of this press release.|
|3||London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) gold price is the average of the daily LBMA AM and PM gold benchmark prices in the first nine months of 2016. The LBMA silver price is the daily average of the LBMA silver benchmark prices in the first nine months of 2016.|
|4||Payable silver and gold ounces produced but not yet delivered are based on management estimates, and may be updated in future periods as additional information is received.|
|5||This press release is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer of securities. A registration statement relating to the DRIP has been filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and may be obtained under the Company's profile on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's website at http://www.sec.gov. A written copy of the prospectus included in the registration statement may be obtained by contacting the Corporate Secretary of the Company at 1021 West Hastings Street, Suite 3500, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6E 0C3.|
Source: Silver Wheaton