In September, Robert Quartermain did something highly unusual for a mining executive — he signed a streaming deal with an early exit strategy.
Quartermain, the CEO of Vancouver-based Pretium Resources Inc., was alarmed at how much value miners are giving away in gold and silver stream sales, in which future output is sold at below-market prices in exchange for an instant cash infusion.
So when he sold a US$150-million stream on Pretium’s Brucejack project in British Columbia, he insisted that the deal include buyback options for Pretium in 2018 and 2019, and that it cap the number of gold and silver ounces that can be sold.
“When you start putting in higher levels of streaming, and the stream lasts forever, then the potential upside starts going to streaming holders and (away from) your existing shareholders,” Quartermain said in an interview.
This will go down as the biggest year ever for metal streaming deals, and it’s not even close. Miners have raised US$4.2 billion from 11 stream sales in 2015, according to Financial Post data. That is nearly double the US$2.2 billion raised in 2013, which is the second biggest year on record.
For the most part, mining analysts and investors have cheered these deals.
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