Silver Wheaton Corp., the world’s largest buyer of precious-metal output rights from copper, zinc and lead mines, is seeking a second purchase this year after paying $1.9 billion for gold from Vale SA.
The company, whose model of paying for mining companies’ future gold and silver by-product to help fund projects is known as streaming, has more than $1 billion in available cash and revolving credits for purchases in the Americas, Chief Executive Officer Randy Smallwood said.
“It would surprise me if we didn’t get one done this year,” Smallwood, 48, said about possible output acquisitions in a telephone interview from Vancouver. “The two key countries for our company are Mexico and Peru.”
Silver Wheaton has bought output rights from Vale, Hudbay Minerals Inc. and Barrick Gold Corp. in Latin America since 2009. It also bought shares in Bear Creek Mining Corp., which is developing silver mines in Peru.
The Vancouver-based company estimates output of 33.5 million ounces of silver equivalent in 2013, including 145,000 ounces of gold, rising to 53 million ounces in 2017, according to data on its website.
Silver prices will probably average $34.16 per ounce this year, according to 19 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg, compared with $31.19 in 2012. Silver slumped 2.8 percent to $28.60 an ounce in New York. Silver Wheaton fell 6.3 percent to C$32.84 in Toronto.
“We do think silver will outperform gold,” Smallwood said. “There’s nowhere near the above-ground stockpile that can sometimes go against gold.”