Silver Wheaton Executive Insights: Audit Update, Silver vs. Copper

On Monday, Silver Wheaton Corporation (NYSE:SLW) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Here’s what the C-suite revealed.

Audit Update

Steven Butler – Canaccord Genuity: Question for you on the CRA tax audits which sort of, is outstanding item 2005 to 2010 return being, I guess audited in normal course. Can you maybe comment on the nature of that audit again, Gary, and if you have a sense of timing of its completion?

Investing Insights: Einhorn and Ron Paul on Bernanke’s Wealth Effect Fed Policy>>

Gary Brown – SVP and CFO: Steve, there really isn’t much to update if anything to update on that front. CRA is auditing our international transactions from 2005 to 2010. It’s a normal course audit and is completely expected. They’re in the info gathering stage of that audit, and we really don’t have any way to estimate how long that audit is going to take.

Steven Butler – Canaccord Genuity: Okay. Does this put your acquisitions – I guess, if they are substantial enough, does it put your acquisition strategy on hold a little bit there, Randy?

Randy Smallwood – President and CEO: No, not at all. Our business model is very strong. We’re not the first people in the mining industry to have offshore activities, so it doesn’t put anything on hold there.

Silver vs. Copper

Trevor Turnbull – Scotia Capital: I just had a quick question about the new concentrates that they are producing at Yauliyacu. You’ve got a copper – I guess Glencore is producing now a copper and a lead con and I wondered if you could give us a breakdown roughly how much of your silver is in each of those?

Randy Smallwood – President and CEO: Yeah, the original zinc con which we – there is a bit of silver in there, but we rarely get any payable out of that and then the original bulk concentrate split to copper concentrate and the lead concentrates. Lead takes about 75% of the silver, copper is about 20% of the silver and then like I said zinc is minimal to both, maybe 5% or something like that.

Trevor Turnbull – Scotia Capital: The guidance that you have I think is about 2.5 million ounces for this year; that 2.5 is applied before the payables, is that right?

Randy Smallwood – President and CEO: Yeah. That’s right. I mean before the fees out there, yeah, that’s right.

Trevor Turnbull – Scotia Capital: Then can you give me a sense, is there any difference between the payables say silver coming out of the lead con verses out of the copper con?

Randy Smallwood – President and CEO: Well, the lead is right now going through spot sales. There is not a fixed contract long term in place, but the payable rates are very comparable between those two, that being around the 90% range. It’s pretty typical. The copper itself is a pretty decent con. It’s moved the stuff out. Glencore did a pretty good job during the first quarter in terms of moving that lead concentrate out, and so things are getting better there as they stabilize. These are new concentrates for them to be marketing themselves, and I think that’s one of the things that they’ve gone through right now. It’s just building that up and getting more stable. So, we saw a pretty good quarter from them in terms of moving the concentrate through, and we expect that that’s going to improve as they get a longer operating experience behind producing these concentrates.

Trevor Turnbull – Scotia Capital: Yeah, it sounds like they don’t have a long-term off-take in place on the lead concentrate, but you say they did manage to move the majority of it in Q1?

Randy Smallwood – President and CEO: That’s right. The majority of what they’ve – they moved more than they produced during Q1 and from all discussions with them things are looking better and better on that front.