Despite a second quarter in which ounces produced but not yet delivered to Wheaton Precious Metals (WPM) increased, earnings from operations were just US$2.8m (or 3.2%) below our earlier published estimate of US$85.7m. In addition, management formally changed its dividend policy, from 20% of average cash generated by operating activities to 30%, which thus allowed it to declare a relatively generous third quarter dividend of 10c/share compared with our prior expectation of 6c. Silver sales exceeded gold sales for the first time since Q316 (in the ratio 54:46). Finally, WPM also announced that it had entered into an “early deposit” agreement whereby it will advance US$65m to Desert Star in return for the right to purchase 100% of the silver and gold production from Kutcho in British Columbia at 20% of the spot price of the metals over the life of the mine.

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