Wheaton Precious Metals achieved its 2021 annual production goal after a stronger output from its Peñasquito mine. The company forecasts 20 percent long-term growth and anticipates a strong 900,000oz production for 2031.
The company reported production of 342,546oz of gold, 25,801oz of silver and 20,908oz of palladium, with gold equivalent production exceeding the midpoint of guidance to reach 750,220oz. This was the result of stronger than expected output from Mexico’s Peñasquito, Peru’s Antamina and Constancia, as well as Canada’s Voisey’s Bay mines. Production was partially offset by weaker performance from Brazil’s Salobo and Canada’s Sudbury.
“The importance of having a diversified, high-quality portfolio of low-cost assets was especially apparent in 2021. Strong performances from Peñasquito, Antamina and Constancia more than offset challenges at some of our other mines and resulted in Wheaton’s production meeting our guidance range yet again,” said Randy Smallwood, Wheaton’s President and CEO in a company release. The company further diversified its asset base in 2021 by adding five additional development assets, which will contribute to Wheaton’s steady organic growth over the next five years. The company furthermore presented a 10-year production guidance showing lasting confidence in its portfolio.
Peñasquito achieved its results partly due to Newmont Corporation’s implementation of the ‘Full Potential’ program. This plan aims to identify and deliver business improvement opportunities across operational and supporting business areas. “In 2022, the Full Potential program is expected to deliver more than US$290 million in value through nearly 250 projects,” said Newmont Corporation in a statement.
Wheaton foresees that its 2022 gold equivalent production will remain unchanged relative to 2021 because of higher production from Constancia, Salobo, Sudbury and Keno Hill, which is forecast to be offset by weaker production from Antamina, Voisey’s Bay and 777.
Wheaton Precious Metals is one of the world’s largest precious metals streaming companies. It has signed agreements to purchase precious metals or cobalt produced in high-quality mines, including Peñasquito. In 2018, Smallwood told MBN that Mexico has always been on the company’s Top 3 countries to invest because the country’s mining industry has a “welcoming” environment.
Peñasquito is Mexico's largest gold mine and second-largest silver mine, as well as one of the country's largest producers of zinc and lead. The site consists of two sulfide processing lines and a high-pressure grinding roll circuit with a combined capacity of 130,000 tons per day. The sulfide ore is processed at a conventional crushing, milling and flotation facility that produces zinc and lead concentrates. In addition, the operation processes oxide ore via heap leaching.