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Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (WPM) Q2 2019 Earnings Call Transcript

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Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (NYSE: WPM)
Q2 2019 Earnings Call
August 9, 2019, 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Good morning. My name is Michelle and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. second quarter results. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question and answer session. If you would like to ask a question at this time, simply press * then the number 1 on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, please press the # key.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Patrick Drouin. Please go ahead.

Patrick Drouin -- Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

Thank you, Operator. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for participating in today's call. I'm joined today by Randy Smallwood, Wheaton Precious Metals' Chief Executive Officer, and President Gary Brown, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Operator, Haytham Hodaly, Senior Vice President of Corporate Development.

I'd like to bring to your attention that some of the commentary in today's call may contain forward-looking statements. There can be no assurances that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.


In addition to our financial results cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements, please refer to the section entitled Descriptions of the Business Risk Factors in Wheaton's annual information form and the risks identified under risks and uncertainties in management's discussion and analysis, both available on SEDAR and Wheaton's Form 40-F and Wheaton's Form 6-K, both on file with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

These documents together with the Q2 2019 MD&A and the press release from last night set out the material assumptions and risk factors that could cause other results to differ, including, among others, fluctuation in the price of commodities, the assets of control over mining operations from which Wheaton purchases precious metals, and risks related to such mining operations and the continued operations of Wheaton's counterparties.

It should be noted that all figures referred to on today's call are in US dollars unless otherwise noted. In addition, reference to Wheaton or Wheaton Precious Metals on this call include Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. and/or its wholly owned subsidiaries as applicable.

Now, I'd like to turn the call over to Randy Smallwood, our President and Chief Executive Officer.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Patrick and good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for joining us today to discuss Wheaton's second quarter results of 2019. The first half of 2019 has provided a solid start to the year and I am pleased to report we delivered strong operating results from our diversified portfolio of high-quality assets.

In the second quarter of 2019, we produced over 100,000 ounces of gold and over 4.5 million ounces of silver. From a cash flow perspective, Wheaton generated nearly $110 million of operating cash flow and declared a quarter dividend of $0.09 per common share, in line with our minimum targets set for 2019 by the board of directors. Looking forward, we are currently on track for record annual gold production and we have reconfirmed our gold equivalent production guidance for the year.

With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Gary Brown, one of our Senior Vice Presidents and our Chief Financial Officer, who will provide more details on our results. Gary?

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Randy. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. The company's precious metal interests turned in a solid second quarter performance, despite operations being suspended at Peñasquito for a large part of the period. Production for the second quarter of 2019 amounted to 162,000 gold equivalent ounces, comprised of 101,000 ounces of gold, 4.8 million ounces of silver, and 5,700 ounces of palladium.

Relative to the second quarter of the prior year, this represented an increase of 11% in gold production and a decrease of 19% in silver production. The increase in gold production was due primarily to the new streaming agreements relative to the San Dimas and Stillwater mines, coupled with higher production at Sudbury, partially offset by lower production at the other gold interests, including Minto, which was placed in the care and maintenance in October of 2018.

While the decrease in silver production was primarily due to the termination of the San Dimas silver stream, effective May 10th, 2018 and reduced production at Peñasquito, resulting from an illegal blockade which began on April 29th and ultimately was resolved in late June.

Sales volumes amounted to 90,000 ounces of gold, 4.2 million ounces of silver, and 5,300 ounces of palladium in the second quarter of 2019, representing an increase of 3% for gold and a decrease of 29% for silver, relative to the second quarter of 2018. The increase in gold sales volumes was due to the higher production levels, largely offset by negative changes in the balance of payable gold produced but not yet delivered to Wheaton.

The decrease in silver sales volumes was attributable to the lower production, coupled with negative changes in the balance of payable silver produced but not yet delivered. As of June 30th, 2019, approximately 91,000 payable ounces of gold, 3.3 million payable silver ounces, and 4,500 payable palladium ounces have been produced but not yet delivered to the company, consistent with what we would expect to be normal levels.

Revenue for the second quarter of 2019 amounted to $189 million, representing an 11% decrease relative to Q2 2018, primarily due to the decrease in the silver sales volumes. Of this revenue, 63% was attributable to gold, 33% was attributable to silver, and 4% was attributable to palladium.

Gross margin for the second quarter 2019 decreased 23% to $67 million due to the lower sales volume combined with higher depletion rates associated with the ounces coming from San Dimas. Cash-based G&A expenses amounted to $11 million in the second quarter of 2019, virtually unchanged from Q2 2018. Interest costs for the second quarter 2019 amounted to $12 million, resulting in effective interest rate on outstanding debt of 4.25% as compared to $6 million of interest rate at an effective rate of 3.44% incurred in Q2 2018.

During the second quarter of 2019, Cobalt 27, which has a stream relative to Voisey's Bay having similar terms to our Voisey's Bay cobalt interest, announced that they had agreed to a proposed acquisition by Pala Investments. Based on information available to us, we have estimated that the price paid by Pala for Cobalt 27's Voisey's Bay stream was significantly lower than the original purchase price, which we have concluded represented an indicator of impairment relative to our Voisey's Bay cobalt interest.

As a result, we have recognized an impairment charge of $166 million relating to this stream during the second quarter. The net loss amount to $125 million in the second quarter of 2019 compared to earnings of $318 million in Q2 2018.

After negating the effect of the impairment and other items that are non-recurring in nature, adjusted net earnings in the second quarter of 2019 amounted to $45 million compared to adjusted net earnings of $72 million in Q2 2018, with the decrease being primarily the result of lower sales volumes relative to Peñasquito, which was negatively affected by the illegal blockade in the quarter, lower margins in the San Dimas, due to the conversion of the stream from a silver stream to a gold stream, lower gold sales volumes relative to Salobo due to timing of shipments, and higher finance costs.

Basic adjusted earnings per share decreased 38% to $0.10 compared to $0.16 per share in the prior year. Operating cash flow for the second quarter of 2019 amounted to $109 million or $0.25 per share compared to $135 million or $0.31 per share in the prior year, representing a 19% decrease on a per share basis, with the decrease being attributable primarily to lower revenue and higher interest costs.

Based on the company's dividend policy, the company's board has declared a dividend of $0.09 per share payable to shareholders of record on August 23rd, 2019. Under the dividend reinvestment plan, the board has elected to offer shareholders the option of having their dividends reinvested in newly issued common shares to the company at a 3% discount to market.

For 2019, the company continues to estimate that non-stock-based G&A expenses, which excludes expenses relating to the value of stock options and PSUs will amount to $36 million to $38 million.

The operational highlights for the second quarter of 2019 included the following -- Salobo generated 67,000 ounces of attributable gold production in Q2 2019, virtually identical to Q2 2018, while gold sales volumes in Q2 2019 decreased 18% to 58,000 ounces resulting from timing differences in gold ounces produced but not yet delivered to Wheaton.

In their second quarter 2019 performance report, Vale reported that the ongoing expansion at Salobo continues to progress with the completion of earthworks in the crushing and flotation plants in the quarter.

Attributable gold production relative to Sudbury in Q2 2019 amounted to 9,000 ounces, while sales amounted to 8,300 ounces, an increase compared to Q2 2018 of 39% and 89%, respectively, with Q2 2018 production having been negatively impacted by the temporary shutdown of the Coleman Mine.

Attributable gold production relative to Constancia in Q2 2019 amounted to 4,500 ounces, while sales amounted to 4,400 ounces, an increase compared to Q2 2018 of 42% and 103%, respectively, reflecting the receipt of 2,000 ounces of gold as compensation for the delay in accessing the Pampacancha deposit.

Attributable gold production relative to San Dimas in Q2 2019 amounted to 11,500 ounces, while sales amounted to 10,300 ounces, an increase compared to Q2 2018 of 101% and 175% respectively as the current period represented a full quarters production, while production in Q2 2018 only included production from May 18th onwards, that being the date the contract came into effect.

The other gold interests generated 4,800 ounces of attributable gold production in Q2 2019, a decrease compared to Q2 2018 of 36%, primarily due to the Minto Mine being placed in the care and maintenance during October of 2018.

Attributable silver production relative to Peñasquito in Q2 2019 amounted to 698,000 ounces, while sales amounted to 912,000 ounces, a decrease compared to Q2 2018 of 45% and 41%, respectively. Production in the second quarter of 2019 was adversely impacted by an illegal blockade, which began April 29th.

On June 17th, Newmont announced that it was ramping up operations at Peñasquito following the lifting of the blockade and the establishment of a dialogue process sponsored by the national government. They also stated that shipments from the mine had resumed and the mine used the downtime during the 49-day suspension of operations to bring forward maintenance on a variety of systems and equipment.

Attributable silver production relative to Constancia in 2019 amounted to 511,000 ounces, a decrease compared to Q2 2018 of 8%, while sales amounted to 478,000 ounces, an increase of 15%. The decrease in production was primarily the result of lower grades in the quarter.

Attributable silver production relative to the other silver interests in Q2 2019 amounted to 2.3 million ounces, while sales amounted to 1.7 million ounces, an increase compared to Q2 2018 of 6% and 9% respectively with the increase being driven primarily by higher production from the Zinkgruvan and Aljustrel mines, partially offset by lower production at Yauliyacu.

During the second quarter of 2019, the company repaid $88 million on the revolving facility and made dividend payments totaling $64 million, which represented dividend payments for two quarters. Overall, net cash decreased by $39 million in Q2 2019, resulting in cash and cash equivalents on June 30th of $87 million. This combined with the $1.1 billion outstanding under the revolving facility resulted in a net debt position as of June 30th of $1 billion.

The company's cash position's strong forecast and future operating cash flows combined with the available credit capacity under the revolving facility positions the company well to satisfy its funding commitments, sustain its dividend policy, while at the same time providing flexibility to consecrate additional accretive precious metal purchase agreements.

With respect to the implementation of the settlement agreement with the CRA. We did receive reassessments for the 2005 through to the 2017 taxation years, which were consistent with the company's expectations, reinforcing the strength of the agreement that was executed in December of last year.

That concludes the financial summary. With that, I turn the call back over to Randy.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Gary. As already mentioned, our gold equivalent production guidance remains unchanged, highlighting the benefits of our diversified and balanced portfolio. In 2019, we expect to see continued strong results from our gold operations, offsetting the impact of the lower silver production seen in the first half due to the temporary shutdown at Peñasquito, as Gary has already discussed. As such, we still expect to produce 690,000 gold equivalent ounces in 2019, but we have updated the mix of precious metals production.

Specifically, Wheaton now expects to produce approximately 385,000 ounces of gold, up from 365,000 ounces, originally forecast due to stronger than anticipated production from Salobo and 22.5 million ounces of silver, down from 24.5 million ounces, again, as a result of the temporary issues at Peñasquito.

Forecast production of palladium from Stillwater in 2019 remains unchanged at approximately 22,000 ounces. We continue to expect steady growth from our portfolio, such that over the next five years, inclusive of 2019, we expect to produce on average 750,000 gold equivalent ounces annually.

I would like to remind everyone that Wheaton currently does not include any production in our five-year forecast from Vale's Salobo III ongoing expansion or Hudbay's Rosemont project. It should be noted that Hudbay recently announced that a US district court issued a ruling vacating and remanding the final record of decision for the Rosemont project. The ruling prohibits Hudbay from proceeding with construction at this time. Hudbay believes the project conforms to federal laws and regulations and will appeal the decision. As a reminder, Wheaton has not made any upfront payments to date relative to the Rosemont project.

And as far as the Salobo expansion, Vale continues to make excellent progress, reporting that they have concluded the earthworks in the crushing and plant areas during the second quarter. Given their progress to date and assuming production continues at this same pace, we do expect the expansion will begin to contributing to our production profile toward the end of our five-year guidance period. Our organic growth profile continues to be very strong.

Even so, on the corporate development front, we remain focused on adding additional production from high-quality accretive opportunities. Wheaton's sector-leading cash flow coupled with the available credit under our revolving facility provides ample capacity for continued investments. As always, we will remain disciplined and continue to focus on acquiring streams that are accretive to our current shareholders and come from long life assets producing in the lowest half of their respective cost curves.

In summary, the first half of 2019 has provided a solid start to the year and we are on track for record annual gold production. As our revenue is derived from a diversified production profile of 100% precious metals, we provide significant leverage to not only gold but silver and palladium as well. We believe our production remains founded in the highest quality portfolio of precious metal streams in the industry, underpinned by very low-cost mining operations such as Salobo, Antamina, and Stillwater.

So, with that, I would like to open up the call for questions. Operator?

Questions and Answers:

Operator

At this time, if anybody has a question, please press *1 on your telephone keypad. Again, that would be *1 on your telephone keypad. We'll just wait a moment to compile the Q&A roster. Your first question comes from Cosmos Chiu from CIBC. Your line is open.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Hi, thanks, Randy and Gary for a very thorough presentation. I guess my first question is on the guidance here. It's good to hear that it's been maintained. If my mathematics is correct and sometimes it isn't, first half, you've done about 329,000 ounces and that would imply a 10% increase in the second half. Could you remind us in terms of which streams will be contributing to that increase in the second half?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, we continue to see growth on the Blitz project at Stillwater. So, we'll see production on the palladium side and climb up there and gold going forward. We see continued full operations at Peñasquito through the course of the year. We did have a two-month shutdown, a whole process. Salobo continues to surprise to the upside.

The other one that's performing nicely and has seen some nice upgrades is San Dimas. First Majestic is getting in there, getting their hands dirty. They've got a good strong operating team in sight and we're confident that First Majestic has got some continued upside opportunities on the San Dimas side. We're seeing that in terms of what they've been able to do.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

I guess more specifically then on these assets here, on Peñasquito, the blockade has now been cleared. So, should we expect a normal quarter in Q3, closer to the 1.2 million to 1.5 million ounces of a normal quarter?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

1.2 million to 1.5 million seems light to me. I don't have the hard numbers in front here, but that seems a little bit light on our side on a quarterly basis. I think we're up more than 2 million ounces.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, we are. You have to remember, Cosmos, they're getting into much higher grade material.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Peñasquito over the next two to three years, the next four years sees the highest precious metal grades that it's ever seen. So, it's the highest grade portion that's a little bit biased toward silver at the front end, which is, of course, important to us, and then the gold grades climb up very nicely over the next few years after that. We do see continued growth there. It's definitely over 2 million. A normal quarter of production from Peñasquito should see much higher than 2 million ounces a quarter to our credit.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Okay. So, it should be a normal quarter starting in Q3.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

It should be. On the sale side, there might still be some hangover coming through in terms of deliveries, but production, it should be pretty good.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Maybe on Salobo, earlier on during 2019 when we talked about 2019 guidance, we were told to be careful in terms of Salobo first half grade. It could be lower. Clearly, it didn't really happen. I just want to make sure that there's no surprises, that these potentially lower grades won't impact the second half.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We haven't seen any evidence of it. Everything we've seen points toward the positive.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

So, what happened, Randy?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I'm just going to say that in our experience with Vale and our Salobo operations, they're a very conservative group. They've been able to deliver. They're a very refreshing asset in our portfolio in terms of being able to consistently outperform our own expectations. So, it continues to perform, continues to do well.

We've seen it as being a relatively -- when we did the original due diligence in this project back in 2013, we saw upside potential in terms of their great estimation methods in their performance. We thought they were being too harsh in their dilution elements and the combination of that is continue to deliver extra value back to us and our shareholders.

Patrick Drouin -- Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

Cosmos, this is Patrick here. Q1 is typically the rainy season, obviously, in Brazil and sometimes, it will limit access to certain portions of the ore body, which we were anticipating and I think Vale was forecasting they wouldn't get into the higher grade material in Q1 because of weather. They were able to get into more higher-grade material, which pushed Q1 up. We don't see any reason why they shouldn't be accessing good ore for the rest of the year.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Okay. And then at Constancia, Hudbay earlier today talked about some issues at the port in Peru built up a concentrate at Constnacia. Do you see any risk in that? It's not your biggest stream, but have you factored that into your guidance?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We haven't. To date, it hasn't had a lot of impact on the Hudbay side. Those protests aren't related to the Constnacia project, but it is the same port facility that Hudbay currently uses. We haven't seen any impact of that and we're confident they'll work their way through that.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

We wouldn't expect that to affect production. It may affect the timing of shipments.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

So, it won't impact your production, but it might impact your sales.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

It might.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Okay. Maybe switching gears a little bit looking at the income statement here -- clearly, to take a write down on the Voisey's Bay cobalt stream. Could you tell us what price did you use in terms of calculating the realizable value? How does that compare to spot price today?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, the updated valuation is reflective of today's market. The price that we used originally, the price that was somewhere between today's price and the spot price at the time, it was well below the spot price.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

It's actually laid out in the financial statements, Cosmos. We used a $14.83 cobalt.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Per pound? Okay.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

On the new valuation. Okay. Is that spot today? I don't have the spot price in front of me for cobalt.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

The cobalt market has got a lot of different spot prices. It's reflective of the spot market today. I just want to point out we don't see any production from that asset until 2021. Obviously, prices haven't done as well as palladium has for us and we are seeing production from Stillwater, so, I think on that front, we definitely have, but 2021 is still a way's off before we see any production from the Voisey's Bay mine. The project is moving forward well and I am still very optimistic about that asset delivering good value for us and our shareholders.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Yeah. Talking about the spot market, I'm by no means an expert in cobalt, but I'm reading that Glencore is talking about shutting down the Mutanda mine in the Congo. Have you looked into it? Does that really take out a lot of supply in terms of cobalt? Have you seen any kind of impact on the spot price based on what Glencore is saying?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

It definitely will. They said they're shutting it down, but it isn't shut down currently. It represents about 20% of worldwide cobalt production. One of the things that we found attractive about the Voisey's Bay investment was the fact that so much of it is controlled by Glencore and so much of it is coming out of the Congo. I think those two attributes means that production coming from outside of the Congo and in good stable jurisdiction with a good strong operating partner, I believe that this product will differentiate itself from that perspective.

But yeah, it will definitely have an impact, but it's not going to have an impact immediately because the mine is still producing. It is a scheduled shutdown in terms of some time here in the near-term future. When that happens, when you tighten up 20% of that supply side, there's no doubt that should have an impact on pricing.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Then I guess on the writedown once again, certainly, the sale of Cobalt 27 was a trigger point in terms of Wheaton Precious Metals needing to test for impairments. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think under IFRS, unlike your good old Canadian gap, you could actually write back up any impairments. From that perspective, Gary, what could be a potential trigger point in terms of a potential write up in case cobalt prices come back up?

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I think that would be the impetus, the likely impetus to a write-up is a recovery in cobalt prices that we viewed as being sustained.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

And there's no time limit, right? You can write it up at any time. It's not like you've got to wait a year before you write it back up.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

No. But again, the last thing I want is these accounting pronouncements to drive anomalies in our income statement. So, I wouldn't want to write it back up if we just saw one quarter of cobalt price recovery. We want to be comfortable that that was a sustained price increase.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

And maybe one last quick question, if I may -- 4.25% interest in Q2 2019, that seems kind of high. Gary, as you mentioned last year, I think when we talked about this earlier, when we first put the line of credit in place, it even had a low 2 handle to it. Could you remind us how does it reset the interest rate? Given the credit markets today, should we be expecting a lower interest rate in Q3 and Q4?

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. You have to remember the interest on our debt is driven by Libor and Libor has increased significantly over the last year and a half. It's now reversing that. So, that's primarily what has driven the increase in our interest rates. Yes, I would expect that with Libor dropping, the interest rate in future quarters, assuming that doesn't reverse would be lower than it was in Q2.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

In addition to that, the reason it climbs up is we invested $900 million into the industry last year in terms of expanding our own production profile. As these cash flows, if we're not putting it back into the ground, they chew against that revolver. We did that $900 million of investments in 2018 without issuing a single share, so, zero dilution to our shareholders from that perspective. Still, a very wise source of capital for us.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Those are all the questions I have. Thanks, Randy, Gary, and Patrick.

Operator

Your next question will come from Mike Jalonen from Bank of America. Your line is open.

Michael Jalonen -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Randy, just a question on Pascua Lama, you may have seen Barrick's press release on July 30th, where Mark Bristow was visiting that region and with respect to Pascua Lama, he said the focus is going back to basics in order to review the original project's parameters and to find the future potential. Does that mean Shandong Gold looking to Pasuca Lama has maybe gone by the wayside? I'm wondering what your thoughts were, what Mark is thinking here going back to basics. Is he going to finish the rest of the mill?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. I'm happy that Mark, as he's taken the reins of Barrick, Pascua seems to be a continued focus item of his. Every time he's down in South America, it's a topic of discussion and even beyond that. We do believe it's a great project that will do really good things for Barrick's production profile in the future. Those are the type of assets -- I think he uses the phrase tier 1. It's definitely a tier 1 asset in terms of its potential.

From heat bleaching side, I've never felt this deposit leans toward that direction. I think especially when you've got a mill that is first line substantively built and the second line half built on that mill facility, those investments do have some value in terms of making the decision on how to go forward.

Obviously, the big challenge is on the Chilean side. What I'm happy to see and I saw that reiterated again in that news release and in the discussions from Barrick is that they are committed to Chile. They've got not only Pasuca on the Chilean side, but they've got a lot of other assets in Chile. They want to find a way to make it work. This is a mine that can be built and it can be built well and have minimal impact and we're comfortable that it will work its way forward.

I'm happy to see that Mark sees the same quality of this asset as I have for a long time. I've called it the best half-built goldmine in the world and still believe. The fact that it is half-built makes it that much more attractive to them in terms of being able to go forward. You do have the beauty of all the investment put in there already giving you a head start in terms of bringing that asset on. I think it reflects some hidden value in our portfolio.

His additional focus on the Argentinian side I find intriguing. To be honest, the bulk of the focus in the past has been on the Chilean side. That is where the bulk of the currently defined reserves are. We also capture any of that optionality on the Argentinian side. So, I'm happy to see it's still a topic of conversation on their side.

Michael Jalonen -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Thank you for that.

Operator

And your next question will come from Ralph Profiti with Eight Capital. Your line is open.

Ralph Profiti -- Eight Capital -- Analyst

Just one question, Randy, from me. It's on deal flow. There's significant bifurcation between base metal prices and these higher gold and silver prices. Would you expect to see that translate into less streaming opportunities for base metals and more for gold going forward? Is it already happening in the pipeline that you see? What are the opportunities for you to actually do something before year end, for example?

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I'm going to let Haytham take that one.

Haytham Hodaly -- Senior Vice President, Corporate Development

Hey, Ralph. Thanks for the question. Just to give you a bit of an overview on where we're at, it's been a busy quarter with a number of opportunities we're looking at to fall into the $100 million to $300 million range. We are seeing a lot of opportunities where silver and gold are a byproduct, which is exactly what you want to see for streaming. Given the nature of these types of opportunities that we're seeing, which are mostly expansion development stage opportunities, we wouldn't be required to put up a lot of capital in the near-term.

We do a lot of due diligence on these assets before we actually decide to move down the path. We would hope that we'd be able to close one or two transactions before the end of this year, but I can tell you, we're very cautious to add only the best highest quality assets into our portfolio. So, if it doesn't happen, it's probably because the assets weren't Wheaton-type assets.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

If I can just add to that, I personally have never set objectives for our teams in terms of making acquisitions just because I don't want to have that pressure. We're a company that with the organic growth profile we've got, the strength of our current assets on a go forward basis, we don't need to make acquisitions. We can be patient. We can wait. Although I'm hopeful we continue to grow by investing back into the ground and get some of that accretive value for our shareholders at the same time, I don't want to set down hard boundaries on that.

Just on your comments on the divergence between base metal prices and precious metal prices and the fact that the bulk of our precious metals does come from the base metal side, you're right. There's not a lot of investment into the base metal side right now. So, it does limit some of those opportunities.

What I will say is the split between silver and gold, we tend to get gold from our copper assets and we tend to get silver from our lead zinc assets. And boy, there's so little investment in the led zinc side. So, we will ultimately, even though I'm a bit more bullish on silver, I think there's better fundamentals behind the price of silver. It's a very small market.

When I look at what Haytham and his team are working on from a commodity perspective, it is very heavily biased toward gold streams from either copper assets or even gold streams on developing gold assets or precious metal assets, gold and silver assets. There's definitely a very heavy bias toward gold. I predict we'll continue to grow that gold exposure side within this company.

Operator

Your next question comes from Chris Terry from Deutsche Bank. Your line is open.

Chris Terry -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Hi, guys. Thanks for taking my questions. In terms of the nine development projects you have, you talked about Rosemont, Pascua Lama. I'm just wondering what you're seeing in terms of the other development options, which ones are making some progress or just comment on what's getting you excited within the potential development options. Thanks.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

We've got a few of the early deposit investments that we've made, which was earlier stage assets that are still approaching feasibility and permitting. It's a pretty attractive form of financing. Unfortunately, we're a pretty picky team in terms of investing. So, we turn down many more opportunities than we have.

The one that stands out probably in terms of looking forward or moving forward is the Sandspring asset, Toroparu. They've had some renewed focus on that. They've updated a preliminary economic assessment, a PEA. It looks like this project is going to be moving forward. They are attracting some investors that saw the same quality in this asset that we saw several years ago in terms of moving that one forward.

The other asset that I think looks very promising in the Keno Hill asset, the Birmingham Zone, incredibly high grades. So, Alexco is looking forward to moving that thing. We've seen indications of support for the mining industry from the Yukon government from a position of permitting. I'm hoping they step up and give a broader permit that gives Alexco some freedom in terms of how they operate that asset. I think that's what Alexco really needs is some flexibility on the site through the permitting process so it gives them freedom to move that forward the way it should be.

So, Keno Hill is probably a nice little hidden surprise that we don't have in our current schedule right now. Toroparu from Sandspring I think will look very promising. I take this time to reiterate that we do not include any of the Salobo Phase III expansion in our current production profile. That is a 50% increase in mill throughput capacity. They will be chasing some lower-grade material there.

So, we don't expect it to be an immediate 50% increase in gold production for us, but it's going to be a very healthy increase in gold production and that is not part of our current production profile, the five-year guidance we put out. We could see that production coming in as early as 2022. I do really think there is some upside potential there on the development side.

Chris Terry -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Maybe one for Gary -- in terms of the net debt level overall, just to give you the flexibility of how to do deals, etc., just an update on where you'd like to see that. It's obviously still at comfortable levels, but do you want to see at $500 million to $1 billion net debt type of range, just if you can comment on the progression and where you want to see that number. Thanks.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

I don't have a target there. We are generating $500 million to $600 million of operating cash flow at current commodity prices here. So, I'm extremely comfortable with where the debt level is. If we were to look at closing acquisitions here, I'd certainly be comfortable drawing down on the revolver to consummate those transactions. Just as a reminder, we've got a $2 billion revolver and we're drawn to the tune of about $1 billion at the end of Q2. We've got $1 billion of capacity there. I would be very comfortable drawing fully on that if acquisitions drove that.

Haytham Hodaly -- Senior Vice President, Corporate Development

Chris, I'll add one more thing. Given the nature of the opportunities we're seeing, a little upfront capital is required, as any spending would be spaced throughout the development timeline, which is typically over one to three years. That allows us to focus on replaying Wheaton's debt down.

Chris Terry -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Thanks for that. Then for you, Haytham, just a question in terms of the timing of these potential deals -- do you think we need to see the divestments from the majors happen first and that has to flush through before other companies have to commit to projects? Thanks.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

You've got to look at what's in the pipeline right now. The opportunities we're seeing at this point in time are primarily development stage. So, a lot of the majors looking to develop or expand their existing base metal operations are looking for ways to improve the internal rate of return on a project and stream always improves the internal rate of return of a project.

So, from our perspective, we look at a number of these opportunities every year and make sure we do a deep dive to make sure we understand the opportunity before we make any kind of commitment. I do think there's going to be some additional streaming opportunities over the next 12 months. I can tell you we've seen more opportunities now than we've seen over the last six months before this quarter.

Chris Terry -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Thanks. The last one for me -- just in terms of the guidance overall in geo terms, I think on the first question, you were going through the assets that lift into the second half from a production sense. So, just thinking about the conversions or assumptions you've made on silver to gold ratio, will you update those as we go through the year? I think you've kept those at the previous rate and spot has obviously changed a little bit. Just if you can comment on that, thanks.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

When we come out with a forecast based on a conversion ratio, we're not going to try to take advantage or disadvantage from changes in that conversion ratio. We'll maintain that consistently in terms of our guidance for the course of the year. So, the 690,000 still maintains, I think, 81.3 conversion ratio even though we're seeing a different ratio right now. That was the number we originally used and we're not going to let that have an impact on measuring our performance in terms of delivering that 690,000 gold equivalent ounces.

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

It also uses a one to one gold to palladium ratio, which we know is not great either.

Chris Terry -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Thanks, guys. Good luck.

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Chris and thank you, everyone for dialing in today. In closing, we believe Wheaton is well-positioned to continue to deliver value to our shareholders for a number of different reasons. Firstly, by having low and predictable costs that result in not only some of the margins in the entire precious metals space but also sector-leading operating cash flows.

Secondly, through our steady organic growth profile over the next few years and a proven track record of accretive quality acquisitions, thirdly, by offering our shareholders exposure to some of the best mines in the world through our high-quality portfolio of long life, low-cost assets, and lastly, by being a leader among precious metal streamers in sustainability and supporting our partners and the communities in which we live and operate.

I do look forward to speaking with you all again soon. Thank you very much for dialing in today.

Operator

Thank you, everyone. This will conclude today's conference call. You may now disconnect.

Duration: 46 minutes

Call participants:

Patrick Drouin -- Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

Randy Smallwood -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Gary Brown -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Haytham Hodaly -- Senior Vice President, Corporate Development

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC -- Analyst

Michael Jalonen -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Ralph Profiti -- Eight Capital -- Analyst

Chris Terry -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

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