I recently received a request in my mail to spend more time talking about precious metals mining companies. I had just finished writing about the extremely dubious business models of most (so-called) “bullion-ETF's”, such as SLV (see “Your ETF-silver is For Sale”). So, it seemed a good time to talk about a different way for investors to “play” silver – if they can't/won't buy real, silver bullion.
While Silver Wheaton (SLW) is referred to as a “mining company”, it's revolutionary business model means that it is actually more of a silver wholesale/marketing company than a miner. What Silver Wheaton does is to buy the silver “production streams” of companies whose mining operations produce silver as a byproduct.