WPM vs HL: Which Silver Stock is a Buy?

It’s been a volatile year thus far for the Silver Miners Index (SIL), with the ETF starting the year out by outperforming the S&P-500 (SPY), up 9% as of April.

Unfortunately, this 1500 basis point outperformance has since reversed to a massive underperformance, with the SIL finding itself down 35% year-to-date. The sharp reversal can be attributed to the plunging silver price, combined with inflationary pressures, which have severely impacted margins for the group.

In fact, some of the worst producers, like Endeavour Silver (EXK), now operate at negative all-in-sustaining cost margins.

While Endeavour Silver is an obvious name to avoid from an investment standpoint, given that it’s producing at $21.00/oz and selling its ounces below $20.00/oz, a few names have been dragged down unjustifiably by the terrible sentiment sector-wide.

Two of these names are Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM) and Hecla Mining (HL), and they’re sitting at 45% off sales despite being much lower risk than their peers.

In this update, we’ll look at which is best suited for one’s portfolio:

Business Model

Hecla Mining and Wheaton Precious Metals (“Wheaton”) have two very different business models. While they both sell a significant amount of silver, Wheaton is a streaming company, while Hecla is a producer.

This means that Hecla actually operates its four mines in Canada and the United States, a business model that carries higher risk and makes Hecla more sensitive to inflationary pressures.

In Wheaton’s case, the company receives deliveries from several operating partners and is immune from inflationary pressures.

The reason is that Wheaton provides an upfront payment and, in exchange, gets a portion of metal produced over the mine’s life without worrying about rising labor/fuel costs or growth/sustaining capital. The result is that WPM has a much higher margin business, enjoying 76% gross margins and 63% operating margins on a trailing twelve-month basis. Continue reading "WPM vs HL: Which Silver Stock is a Buy?"

Which Is The Better Silver Mining Stock?

Following a violent correction in the Silver Miners Index (SIL) year-to-date, many investors are hunting for deals in the sector.

While the silver producers offer very nice leverage to the metal, given that their margins can increase rapidly as the price of silver increases, not all of them are created equal. This is why holding the best names when selecting which ones to purchase to complement one’s portfolio is essential.

In this update, we’ll look at SilverCrest Metals (SILV) and First Majestic (AG) and see which one is the better selection for one’s portfolio:

Size & Jurisdictions

Regarding size, First Majestic is a much larger producer, on track to produce more than 33MM silver-equivalent ounces this year, making it one of the largest silver producers sector-wide. The company also benefits from diversification, owning three mines (San Dimas, Santa Elena, and La Encantada) in Mexico and a gold mine in the #1 mining jurisdiction: Nevada.

This compares favorably to SilverCrest Metals (“SilverCrest”), which owns just one mine in Mexico that is ramping up towards commercial production, and will produce just 12.0MM silver-equivalent ounces in 2023. So, with a lack of diversification (1 mine vs. 4), a slightly less attractive jurisdictional profile (no production from Tier-1 ranked jurisdictions), and a smaller production profile, First Majestic Silver wins by a wide margin in this category.

First Majestic - 1 / SilverCrest - 0 Continue reading "Which Is The Better Silver Mining Stock?"