TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The world’s largest precious metals streaming firm on Tuesday said it had pushed up its attributable proven and probable reserves by more than 38% in 2012, to a record total of 1.12-billion.
The company’s attributable reserves comprised 851.4-million ounces of silver and 4.96-million ounces of gold.
Over the same period, attributable measured and indicated resources increased 28% to a record total of 603.2-million silver-equivalent ounces, consisting of 529.1-million ounces of silver and 1.39-million ounces of gold.
Attributable inferred resources totalled 341.4-million silver-equivalent ounces, consisting of 294.7-million ounces of silver and 880 000 oz of gold.
The company’s increase in attributable reserves was a result of both acquisition and organic growth, which, when combined, more than offset depletion resulting from strong production over the year.
During the third quarter of 2012, Silver Wheaton acquired a precious metals stream from Hudbay Minerals' currently producing flagship 777 mine, as well as a silver stream from Hudbay’s $1.5-billion Constancia copper mine, currently under construction in Peru.
Subsequent to the 2012 year end, Silver Wheaton also acquired 25% of the gold from major miner Vale's Salobo mine, in Brazil, for the life of the mine and 70% of the gold from certain of its Sudbury operations for a 20-year period, with both these agreements effective as of January 1.
Reserves and resources were also boosted by an updated feasibility study released by Augusta Resource for its Rosemont copper mine, in Arizona.
"We saw substantial replacement of mined reserves in 2012 through our partners' exploration success. This once again highlights the strength of our partners and the high-quality, long-term nature of the mines underlying our streams.
"We are extremely pleased with the reserve and resource growth we have seen over the past year, and we continue to be excited about the prospect of adding additional high-quality ounces to our portfolio in 2013 given the strength and depth of the current opportunity pipeline. The foundation of any strong mining company is the quality of its mineral reserves and resources, and Silver Wheaton has one of the strongest and most active portfolios in the entire precious metals sphere,” CEO Randy Smallwood said in a statement.
During a recent interview, Smallwood told Mining Weekly Online he would indeed be “surprised” if the company did not enter significant new deals this year, owing to the quality of projects in the market for deals being “encouraging”.
He said for this reason the company raised $2.5-billion after the Vale transaction, to give it extra capacity.
The company’s TSX-listed stock closed at C$31.29 apiece on Tuesday.