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Pan American Silver (PAAS) Q4 2020 Earnings Call Transcript

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Pan American Silver (NASDAQ: PAAS)
Q4 2020 Earnings Call
Feb 18, 2021, 11:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Thank you for standing by. This is the conference operator. Welcome to the Pan American Silver full-year and fourth-quarter 2020 audited results conference call and webcast. [Operator instructions] And the conference is being recorded.

[Operator instructions] I would now like to turn the conference over to Siren Fisekci, VP investor relations, for opening remarks. Please go ahead.

Siren Fisekci -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Thank you, operator, and welcome, everyone, to Pan American Silver's fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 conference call. Media and other participants on the line are invited to participate in listen-only mode. We released our results after yesterday's market close, and a copy of the news release MD&A and presentation slides for today's call are available on our website. That material on today's call contains certain statements and information that constitute forward-looking statements and information.

Please review the cautionary statements included in our news release and presentation, as well as the risk factors described in our most recent Form 40-F and Annual Information Form. I will now turn the call over to Pan American's president and CEO, Michael Steinmann, who will provide a brief review of our results. We will then open the call to questions and answers.

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Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you for joining us today to discuss our fourth-quarter and full-year 2020 results. We finished the year with a strong financial quarter. Revenue in Q4 was a quarterly record of $430.5 million, driven by the rise in precious metal prices. Q4 net earnings were $169 million or $0.80 per share driven by record quarterly mine operating earnings of $137.2 million.

Earnings in Q4 benefited from the recognition of $41 million in deferred tax assets, investment income of $30.7 million, gains on the sale of exploration properties, and gains on fuel and currency hedges. The deferred tax assets recognized relates to extend mine lives at the Timmins and La Arena operations due to our exploration success and our ability to utilize tax attributes. Adjusted earnings in Q4 were $120.5 million or $0.57 per share. The most significant adjustments were the removal of $22.2 million related to currency movement that reduced tax expense, the dilution gain relating to our interest in Maverix, and the gain on the sale of exploration properties.

Full-year 2020 net earnings totaled $176.5 million or $0.85 per share. Full-year 2020 adjusted earnings were $243.4 million or $1.16 per share. In 2020, our operations generated record cash flow of $462.3 million. We fully repaid the amount drawn on our corporate credit facility, and we doubled the quarterly dividend.

As at December 31, 2020, our cash and short-term investment balances increased to $279.1 million. Keep in mind that we achieved these strong financial results despite the significant impact COVID-19 had on our operations, including incurring mine care and maintenance costs of about $75 million for the COVID-19 related mine suspensions. As previously announced, we produced 17.3 million ounces of silver and 522,000 ounces of gold in 2020, which largely reflects the government-mandated suspensions of operations in Latin America and throughput restrictions across all operations due to COVID-19 pandemic. Silver segment cash costs in 2020 were $7.05 and all-in sustaining costs were $11.38 per silver ounce sold.

Gold segment cash costs in 2020 were $797, and all-in sustaining costs were $1,011 per gold ounce sold. Capital expenditures totaled approximately $191.7 million, about $50 million to $60 million of capital spending was deferred into 2021 as COVID-19 delayed our ability to progress certain capital projects. We are expecting production in 2021 to improve markedly over 2020 based on assumption that the impact of COVID-19 will diminish over the year as indicated in our guidance for 2021 issued on January 19th. That means production will be back-end loaded through the second half of 2021.

In addition, mine ventilation improvement projects at La Colorada, as well as mine and heap leach sequencing at Dolores will impact production of those operations in the first half of 2021. At La Colorada, we are preparing the new surface to 345-meter level rates for commissioning in Q2 2021. We are also advancing several other ventilation projects to provide ventilation for all our long-term operating and development plans, including development of the skarn deposit. For 2021, we are expecting silver production of 22.5 million to 24 million ounces, a roughly 35% increase over 2020, and record gold production of 605,000 to 655,000 ounces.

We are not forecasting any production from Escobal as the Guatemalan government advances the ILO 169 consultation. Further details on our forecast for 2021 are available in our MD&A and have not changed from the forecast we provided on January 19, 2021. Under our guidance assumptions for 2021, we expect to generate robust levels of free cash flow, especially in the second half of 2021, based on the outlook for production I just described, and the fact that most of our cash taxes are paid in Q1 and Q2. We believe the best use for our free cash flow, now that our credit facility is fully repaid, is to invest in projects that will provide attractive long-term returns, like our La Colorada skarn discovery or other exploration projects.

Near-site exploration success has always been an important value driver for us. We have a strong track record of replacing reserves and extending mine lives at many of our operations, especially at La Colorada, Timmins, and La Arena. We have exceptional silver growth assets in our portfolio. Regarding the Navidad project, the government in Chubut, Argentina, has proposed modification to the mining law to permit open-pit mining in certain zones of the province.

The provincial legislator has not voted on this law modification yet. We do believe that properly permitted and regulated mining activity with sustainable mining practices will benefit the province and the people of Chubut. At Escobal, Guatemala's Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Xinka Parliament have agreed to begin the pre-consultation meetings in April 2021. This is an important step in respecting the Xinka people's right to consultation as required under ILO 169.

The expected process will take time, we are not able to provide a timeline for the restart of the mine. We are advancing development of our world-class La Colorada's skarn deposit and looking forward to providing a preliminary economic assessment at the end of this year. And with that, I would like to open the call for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

We will now begin the question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] The first question comes from Tyler Langton with J.P. Morgan. Please go ahead.

Tyler Langton -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Good morning and thanks for taking my questions. I guess just first on the guidance. I know it's sort of -- it's based on the impacts of COVID kind of diminishing throughout the year kind of with Q1 equal to Q4 and then kind of Q2 around 75%. I know it's sort of early in the year, but so far in Q1, is Q1 kind of sort of -- is the impact sort of similar to Q4? And do you have a sense what things could look like heading into Q2?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I don't know which wave it is now anymore, second wave or going to third wave in many places. See strong waves in Peru and Mexico, many other countries around the globe. So that's our assumption. Of course, we don't know what's going to happen through the year, but we also luckily see that vaccination programs in countries that achieved already quite a high percentage that vaccination programs really, really help here and bring those numbers down.

So we are very positive that during the year and with the rollout of those programs, we'll start getting over this. But right now, in Q1, of course, there is no a lot of programs in place. In Latin America, some vaccination has started. So we'll see how that goes.

But, yes, I would say Q1, as we assumed in our budget, will be similar to Q4 of last year.

Tyler Langton -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. That's helpful. And then just sort of in the release, you kind of talked about inflationary pressures impacting costs, especially on the gold side at Shahuindo and Lorena. I guess can you talk a little bit about what you're seeing and kind of what are those and if you continue to see higher cost as the risk to the cost guidance in that area? Or do you see kind of risk to any of the other operations?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. Just in general, something to the cost, and then I'll pass it on to Steve. Of course, every given year or in most years, you're going to see a difference between how we end the year and how we guide for the next year. And that's just simply the fact that we have to assume some metal prices for the following year in our budget, which are lower than what we just experienced in the past year are the same.

I mean, we can't plug-in higher cost than what we've just seen in the past, because our costs are dependent on byproduct credits, that automatically increases our costs in our guidance always a bit at the beginning of the year, and that will be normalized during the year, depending where metal prices go. If metal prices go higher up, of course, we have more byproduct credits and vice versa. But for sure, we see some pressure, I guess, and on especially the salary side, so I'll pass on to Steve to comment on that.

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Yes. Tyler, it's Steve here. Yes, generally, we forecasted nominally 3% to 5% in inflation for 2021. We are seeing pressures in wages, as Michael said, we generally negotiate a collective bargaining with all of our sites between March, April, May, June, or the heavy months.

And a lot of those are retroactive back to January 1. So we don't know exactly where they're going to be but we're forecasting in that range. The other thing I'd raise is we have been seeing some very high ocean freight costs for our materials coming in. We have seen pretty sharp escalations in that.

And then the energy costs, of course, with the oil prices going up, that generally relates directly to our costs as well for our energy components. One thing I'd also alert you to relative to Shahuindo, La Arena, and Doloris, our open pits, is to pay attention to the waste movement and the strip ratios with the mine planning. For instance, Dolores strip ratio is going to reduce 32% over where it was in 2020. Whereas Shahuindo and La Arena are increasing 19% and 33%, respectively.

And that's just mine plan sequencing. We added life at La Arena. We added life at Shahuindo. Those come with a little higher strip ratio as we get into those waste zones to strip down to that ore.

So that's the other thing to pay attention to.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

The last point on the cost from my side. Hopefully, with subsiding pandemic during the year, let's be hopeful for that, we'll probably see or hopefully see less cost directly related to the pandemic for testing, quarantining, etc. As we stated, I think it was about in the $75 million range for care and maintenance. And I think in about --

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

$17 million to $20 million.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

$17 million to $20 million range of direct costs from the pandemic. So as I said, let's see how that advances during the year, but there should be obviously a reduction on the cost from those items.

Tyler Langton -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

OK. Thanks so much.

Operator

The next question comes from Justin Stevens with PI Financial. Please go ahead.

Justin Stevens -- PI Financial -- Analyst

Hey, guys. Probably a couple of questions for Steve. Mostly wondering, can you give sort of a ballpark in terms of what we might expect the sort of the grade change percentage to be La Colorada once that new raise is commissioned sort of at least a spitball between H1 and H2?

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Yes. Hi, Justin. Generally, for the full year, we're looking to get up to about 330 or 335-gram per tonne silver. We kind of averaged 2020 at 310, 308.

So I think it's going to be kind of the same picture as the COVID. We're going to be at the 308 early on. And then you'll see it increase in Q2, Q3, and Q4 and average out the year at the 335.

Justin Stevens -- PI Financial -- Analyst

Got it. Yes, I can back up those numbers then. That's pretty helpful. It's mostly going to be a great impact, right? You guys are not going to have any trouble, I think, keeping the mill filled just with some lower-grade material until that ventilation is sorted, right?

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Well, it does affect how many tonnes we can get out of the mine because it limits the deployment of underground equipment. We have to maintain a certain ratio of equipment to the ventilation flow rates that we have available. So it does impact throughput as well to some degree. So we'll see lower throughput in the first part of the year increasing throughout the year.

Justin Stevens -- PI Financial -- Analyst

Got it. Perfect. That's very helpful. And if you could just quickly give an update on how things are going at Dolores, particularly with the underground and the pulp agglomeration.

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Yes. Both are running well. The underground is running with the kind of 80% to 90% range that we had in Q4 with the COVID impacts. We're seeing that type of impact.

The open pit is running more closer to the full design capacity, and we have with the mine sequencing, as I mentioned earlier, quite a bit less waste to move this year, so that helps relieve some of that. The pulp agglomeration plant has been running well, close to the 5,500 tonnes per day, 5,300 tonnes per day average rates, that's been going well. We do experience in the mine plan both a low-grade because of mine sequencing early in the year, higher grades toward the end. And we also have some heap leach sequencing going on that's slower in the first part of the year, high up on the heaps.

And then moving out later in the year, we'll get better, more quicker extractions if you will.

Justin Stevens -- PI Financial -- Analyst

Got it. No, that sounds great. All right. Thanks so much.

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Thank you.

Operator

The next question comes from Li Hua with Scotiabank. Please go ahead.

Li Hua -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Hi, everyone. Thank you for taking my question. I have a question regarding the investment income that was reported in 2020. I believe it's $60 million worth approximately, and half of that was reported in Q4.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think the unrealized portion of the investment income has been adjusted out of your adjusted earnings. So if that's the case, is it possible to provide some guidance on maybe the breakdown of the securities making up the games?

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Good morning. It's Rob Doyle here. You are correct.

We don't make any adjustments for our investment income in our adjusted earnings. We consistently leave that as part of our core earnings. That gain that you referred to, the $63 million for the year, it's the mark-to-markets on our strategic positions in mostly New Pacific, Huaron, Peru, and various other investment positions that we have. So it's almost entirely mark-to-market and unrealized.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

So just to give some more background here. Of course, the reason why we have investments, especially the larger ones like New Pacific is because we like projects like that. We obviously like new discoveries, large silver discoveries in jurisdictions where we are already active. In this case, it's Bolivia.

And that's part of our business, our business to help growing those assets with our investment and financing because there's two ways to do. We can obviously do our own exploration and have been very successful with that, too. But I think other companies making discoveries, and we help to finance that gives us many more opportunities to explore and look at deposits. So it's really part of our core business to make those kind of investments in potential large silver discoveries.

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

Li, maybe I'll just add one more thing. It's important to note that our investment to our position in Maverix is not included in that. We account Maverix as an associate and, therefore, we don't mark-to-market our large position in Maverix. So that's just on short-term investments.

Li Hua -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

OK. Great. Thanks a lot.

Operator

The next question comes from John Tumazos with John Tumazos Very Independent Research. Please go ahead.

John Tumazos -- Very Independent Research -- Analyst

Thank you very much for taking my question. Just to review, this coming April would be the first consultation in resumed process. Do you have any idea how many consultations or months or years the process might take? You didn't mention Argentina with all the lockdowns there, I presume nothing has happened or resumed in Chubut process. And with the net cash position, would you confirm whether or not you're still a property seller of any pieces of the Tahoe or acquisition or other assets? And what the investment priorities would be in addition to La Colorada?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

OK. John, let me see if I remember every question.

John Tumazos -- Very Independent Research -- Analyst

Sorry for so much interest.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

That's OK. Yes, you're right that the government announced that -- and it's not the start of the consultation but the pre-consultation in Guatemala in April. So we'll see how that goes. As you know, this is a government-run process run by the Ministry of Mines in Guatemala for this ILO 169 consultation process, which we are just a party to it.

We are not running it. So we don't have control over the timeline. So I can't tell you how many meetings will be required or how long it will take. Time will tell, but we are obviously happy to see that after understandable delay for COVID that this is picked up again if you want to say like that with meetings.

As we know, every country in the world has been impacted very hard by COVID and all the countries have been and still are very focused, of course, to keep everyone safe in their country and make sure that there is enough hospital beds and treatment possibilities available for the population. In Chubut, as I said, in my text there that the change in the law has been proposed and discussed, as we know. And there's a lot of information out there on that in Chubut, but the legislative did not vote on this yet. And again, I don't have a date on whether that would happen or not.

So we'll just have to be patient and wait for that, but there's definitely discussions going on, on that, what it's called zonification, where the law would basically identify areas in the province that would potentially allow open pit mining and other areas now. So just to make one point clear, as there's a lot of information out there. Even if that law will be approved, this is not a direct approval of Navidad project, but it would allow us to actually apply for permits, right? This is just this law is intended to set basically the base to actually apply for permits, mining permits in certain areas of the province. It's not an approval of a certain project.

Regarding, I think, divestments, you asked, look, we are very, very happy with our gold assets from the Tahoe side. Well, we are very happy with any of the gold assets, we have and the silver assets. But as you know, we have been very successful with the exploration in La Arena and Timmins, especially, where we added already many years of more production. So the situation looks quite a bit different than when we did the purchase and closed the purchase.

And we actually, for example, in La Arena, we assumed at that time that 2021 will be the last year of production from the outsides, and looks like now we have at least another three years, so 2024. And we are still exploring and drilling, and we're still finding very interesting intercepts. And by the way, I think we used like 1,350 or 1,400 gold for those reserves. So it's not just a reflection of higher gold prices, it's a pretty conservative gold price that we use, I believe, for a short-term asset for the reserves.

But needless to say that this is a good time to divest some of our smaller assets. We announced that earlier on, and we'll continue doing that. We have many of many smaller assets that came to us over the last, let's call it, 15, 20 years through many acquisitions. And for sure, we'll try to divest some of them over this year or next year, depending how the demand will be for those assets.

Those are assets that are too small for us to build but could be interesting for a smaller company, obviously, to do something with it. Then I think there was another question, the fourth one, John, and I forgot about that one. Sorry. What was it?

John Tumazos -- Very Independent Research -- Analyst

What are the capex or investment priorities in addition to La Colorada skarn?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

OK. Yes. As I always said, these three kind of buckets, right? I always said pay back our debt, invest in high-quality projects, and return cash to shareholders, most likely in the form of dividends. I think we have been very successful last year in achieving all of that.

We repaid all our debt, $275 million in a very difficult year. Last year with the COVID impact, pretty strong. We doubled our dividend. Actually, we've increased it twice.

And totally, it was a double of our dividend during the year. And that bucket is still there. Of course, we like to return cash to our shareholders. We paid dividend uninterrupted since 2010, and we actually return up to date.

I think without the payment that's coming up in March, we returned nearly $500 million of cash to our shareholders, some share buyback but mostly dividends. So that definitely will continue. And as we don't have to pay back line of credit or any debt right now or bank debt, we'll for sure have a hard look again at the dividends as the year progresses. But as I always said, the best return for you as a shareholder is investment in high-quality, high-return projects.

So there's definitely a big focus on La Colorada. This is, as you know, a multi-year project and the investment, bring it now first to a PA level and then advance the project further. So that will require capital. Not a huge number this year but as we go forward, the following years that the number will obviously increase with a lot of underground development and surface infrastructure for that project.

But we are very active on the exploration side, in other projects we are exploring a few new projects around payments. As I said, we are exploring around Shahuindo and La Arena, where we have been very successful. And I count those, as well as addition of high-quality projects and use of capital as, of course, every time we expand the reserve in these big open pits, it will require more heap leach space and more stripping, which you will see reflected in our sustaining capital needs.

John Tumazos -- Very Independent Research -- Analyst

If $4 copper, are you starting to like La Arena copper-gold sulfides anymore?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

I always like La Arena sulfide, La Arena II, as it's called, which is a copper-gold project. I always like it as a project, but I still believe that it's probably not the right project for Pan American Silver. It's a very large copper porphyry, a perfect project for a large base metal producer. And so that's still there available, and there's obviously more and more interest with today's copper prices.

We are right now really focused on the oxides and as I said, we added already quite a few years of production there.

John Tumazos -- Very Independent Research -- Analyst

Thank you.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, John.

Operator

The next question comes from Cosmos Chiu with CIBC. Please go ahead.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Hi, thanks. Michael, Steve, Rob, Siren, and team, great to see your $0.07 per share dividend and a very strong balance sheet here. Maybe my first question is on Dolores. As you mentioned in your 2021 guidance, gold grades are going to be higher, silver grades a bit lower due to mine sequencing.

Can you remind me how long are you going to be in this zone in terms of higher-grade gold and lower-grade silver? And then, again, remind me once again, as you go deeper, does the gold grade come up in all areas? Or is this just one specific area that we're looking at?

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Yes. Hi, Cosmos. Steve here. Yes.

It's a nice zone down there for sure, at the bottom of that pit. We've been waiting years to get down there. The gold grade is down in that bottom. We see areas where we're mining large tonnages at plus 1.5 gram to 2.5-gram gold, very nice, but there is very low silver with those.

We're forecasting something less than 20 grams per tonne silver this year versus we've seen up 30-, even 40-gram up higher in the deposit. That high gold zone at lower part of this pit, which we've been stripping on for ever since we bought the asset in 2012, it's a big zone, and we'll be in that zone for the next probably two and a half years. In reality, we'll be mining that zone for the rest of the mine life at Dolores, but the tonnage does start to come off after we get that initial few benches, it gets pretty tight down at the bottom of the pit toward the end. I still suggest going back to the 43-101.

It gives a good profile of what that looks like. It's out of sequence a little bit. We're a little behind what that sequence was in the 43-101, but it's still a good indication of what the grades do from now toward the end of the mine life.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Cosmos, so that's the reason, of course, and just to remind everyone on the call, why we moved Dolores asset from our Silver Group segment when we look at the cost and production to our Gold segment just because the gold production from now on to the end of that asset will outweigh the silver production. So it's definitely something that is there to stay, and that's why we moved it over to the Gold segment, which makes it a bit harder to compare apples to apples on the cost side. But if you look at mine to mine, of course, you still get the real picture.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

So, Michael, a follow-up, I guess. It's going to be in the Gold segment for the foreseeable future, not just 2021 but beyond all those.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

No. For the end of the life, we're not going to change it back.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Got it. Maybe again on Dolores, following up on the underground question. I think it's been a while since I've asked about the underground. The last time I asked, it was going from 1,000 tonnes per day to 1,500 tonnes per day.

How is it going so far? Where are you at right now? And is it also hitting some of this high-grade gold, lower-grade silver, or is it in some other area?

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Yes. We haven't got to the 1,500 tonnes a day yet. We were disrupted in ramp up with COVID and with all the complications of 2020 and the suspensions and things like that. So we are still running about 1,000 tonnes to 1,200 tonnes per day at this time.

We're not really intending to push that because we don't really want to be mobilizing more people to the site at this time, again, given the COVID constraints and risk there. So we'll probably stay at that kind of rate for the rest of the year. The grades are a little bit different in the underground. There's a little bit more silver, it averages what -- it's kind of funny.

We kind of look at it as a gold-equivalent basis underground. It will average about 2.5-gram gold equivalent basis. But it's about a 60% gold, 40% silver kind of split on that. It's in a different area.

It's not directly underneath the pit at this time. It's more adjacent and down strike.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

OK. Thanks, Steve. Maybe switching gears a little bit. Manantial Espejo, as we talked about, more broadly, micro COVID-19 impact, I think one of the things you talked about Manantial Espejo in the past was labor and the constraints around labor coming from the northern part of the country.

I guess again, this might be too early at this point in time, but you're looking at 2021 production that's higher than 2020 in part of some of these constraints lifting in 2021. How is that going so far? And I guess it's a bit more complicated now just given the fact that you have three mining areas with different grades, higher grades coming from COSE and Joaquin. On that, can you remind us what's the contribution coming in terms of tonnage from each of those assets that you factored into your 2021 guidance?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. I start on Argentina then hand it over to Steve or Martin on the tonnages. But you're right, the complication is obviously still there. And we are only about six weeks into the year.

So nothing has really changed on that. And that's what we assumed in our budget. So when you look at the budget numbers for the year, I think that's what we are on track for right now. As I said, it's very early days.

We'll see what happens. But we obviously budgeted for that complication. And that's one part of the plan that we have that is improving during the year. And one other reason why our production is more back-end loaded in 2021.

So we're assuming that that's getting better during the year. You're absolutely right, this is a combination of Manantial itself plus COSE and Joaquin, two high-grade underground operations, that truck the material to our plant at Manantial. So a lot of complications during COVID you can imagine with a lot of moving parts to it.

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Yes. Maybe I'll start, and then I'll turn it over to Martin for a little bit more of the distribution. But one thing I would like to say, Cosmos, it's really interesting is COSE, which is our smallest tonnage, and we keep it small specifically because it's a bit of a challenge to mill this ore. We got a unique opportunity of Manantial Espejo the massive tonnage of low-grade and then the high-grade from the underground of Manantial and the high-grade from Joaquin.

That whole blend lends itself amenable to accept more COSE ore. It'd be very difficult to process COSE by itself. It has to be blended because it consumes so much oxygen through the plant. So we're getting better extraction rates than we expected actually, but we have to keep that rate of production out of COSE fairly low, given it's high-grade.

And, Martin, maybe you can give a distribution of it.

Martin Wafforn -- Senior Vice President, Technical Services & Process Optimization

Yes. Hi, Cosmos. First of all, the Argentinian operations have been pretty impacted with the coronavirus and the shutdown that we had around the end of the year there. But COSE, typically, the plan for this year is to get into the 80 to 100 tonnes a day type of range.

That's kind of where we've been and then accelerating as we get a little bit later on in the year. Joaquin is more than that. If memory serves, it's getting to around 400 tonnes a day is our plan for this year. It's about the best we can do.

And then we have still some residual production from the Manantial underground that's coming again in that type of Joaquin type of production type range. And then the remainder of the plant capacity is taken up with the stockpiles that we still have the low-grade stockpiles that were made when we mined the pit.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Great. Thanks, Martin. Maybe a question on the financials here. As you mentioned earlier, Michael, you talked about some of the input costs increasing.

But at the same time, you're seeing better byproduct credits coming from the base metals. As you talked about, I think your assumption that you used was $3.36 per pound copper, and you're almost at $4 an ounce or $4 a pound copper now. I guess my question is, what's your hedging strategy here in terms of say, diesel and some of the other fields? And also, would you consider hedging some of your byproduct credits to lock in some of those potential gains here? Could you maybe give us a bit more color?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. And I'll probably turn afterwards to Rob. But just to the hedging strategy, first of all, we are absolutely unhedged on precious metals, so no hedge on silver and gold. We are hedging some base metals, and Rob can give you some details there.

We are hedging some currencies in the countries where the currencies that are really -- they've been important for us, which is mostly Peruvian Sol, Mexican Peso, Canadian dollar. We have seen some diesel fuel, and I've been very successful actually doing so with hedges that we put in place last year. But that's about it. So as I said, absolutely unhedged some precious metals, and Rob can give us some details on the base metals, please.

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure. Yes, I think Mike has covered most of it there, Cosmos. We do have some modest base metal programs in place. And actually, all of those details are in the MD&A.

So I'd refer you to that. And if you want any detailed breakdown of the positions, I can certainly provide that to you. But yes, the main thing is that we do only really focus on the currencies and the byproduct credits. The precious metals are off the table and always have been.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Just to remind everyone, if we look at revenue, it obviously depends on the base metal prices, but I guess about 12% to 15% or 14% of revenue is coming at the moment from base margins.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

And I guess on that, Rob and Michael, would you consider increasing your position in terms of those base metal hedges. As you said, Rob, they're fairly modest at this point in time?

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

Yes, they are. There's always some technicalities when it comes to hedging the base metals in that they are -- we produce the base metals in the form of concentrates. So there's the nuances of the concentrate terms and various tax impacts. So typically, you won't see us hedging more than 50% to maximum 60% of our payable production at any point in time.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Of course. Maybe one last question. Again, on the financial side here. Michael, as you mentioned in your opening remarks, some of the tax payments can be a bit lumpy.

If I remember correctly, and I think you mentioned this as well. A lot of it is in Q1 and Q2. Could you remind me how much of that total year annual tax payment is going to be paid in Q1 and Q2? And I can see that there's definitely an impact on the cash flow. But can you remind me if there's also an impact on the income statement expenses as well?

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Cosmos. I can take that. For sure, not an impact on the income statement. We, of course, we would accrue for any tax expense in the period.

So we don't expect any lumpy treatment on the income statement. On the cash flow for sure, just the timing of payments, typically in the countries we operate, we have catch-up payments based on the last year's income tax generated in March of each year, March, April, so if you look at our balance sheet, you'll see under current liabilities, we've got about $54 million of income taxes payable. So we expect most of that to be paid in the first quarter. That's usually more than half of our total tax payments for the year coming in that first period of the year.

So after that, it smooths out, and it really just is made up of installment payments, which we make on each of our operations.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Great. And I guess if I remember correctly, it's based on -- I guess it would be higher this year because silver prices have increased. And so you need to catch-up. The true-up is a bit more than usual.

Is that correct? Is that how it works?

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

That's exactly how it works. Of course, we made installment payments throughout 2020. But because our income tax was much higher than the year before because of the strong economic performance, we do have this catch-up payment. So it's always this one-year lag that we have in our tax payments.

And from time to time, we do get a refund if we've overpaid in our installments. But of course, this year, it's going to be a catch-up payment.

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Great. Thanks a lot. Those are the questions I have. Thanks once again.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Cosmos.

Operator

The next question comes from Ryan Thompson with BMO. Please go ahead.

Ryan Thompson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Hey, guys. I think my questions were sort of asked, but maybe I'll just ask some quick follow-ups. First one is probably for Rob. But just on the topic of the investment gains and the mark-to-market.

Obviously, it creates a bit of volatility in your earnings. Is there any thought of adjusting that out going forward or are you happy to sort of stick with how you did it last year?

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

Hi, Ryan. Yes, it is debated internally. Consistently, we haven't adjusted that out, as we touched on that. We see that as part of our core business.

I think we always review that policy with our Audit committee, so it may change going forward in 2021. But at this point in time, I mean, it's clearly disclosed, so anyone can make whatever adjustments they feel fit to do so.

Ryan Thompson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. That's helpful. And maybe just switching gears and following up on the question about the sulfides at La Arena, the porphyry. Can you just describe -- like is that porphyry? Is it sitting below like the current pit, or is it sort of off to the side? Like if someone was to come in and say, acquire that project, do they have to effectively wait for mining to be completed on the oxides? And I know you said you've sort of extended the life beyond the 2021 time frame you originally had in mind, so if you can just comment on what that would potentially look like or how a deal could potentially be structured there.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. It's a very large porphyry sitting below and on the side of it, much, much larger, of course, than the oxide portion of the deposit. So to answer your question, yes, no you cannot mine porphyry and oxide at the same time, but that would not happen anyway because there is building such a large porphyry copper mine will go to quite a multi-year of engineering and permitting and getting ready. While we have been very successful in La Arena with adding oxides, it will come to an end at one point.

And at the end, as I indicated, I think the sulfide copper porphyry piece will be better in hands of a large base metal company when the handover would happen and who gets paid for which part of the oxide. I mean, that's just all part of negotiation. I don't see that really complicating the situation. But at the moment, as I said, there's ample time for us to mine the oxide and mine the additional oxide we are discovering.

And there will be ample time for somebody to come in and started working at engineering and permitting for the sulfides.

Ryan Thompson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. Yes, that's helpful. And then maybe just one last question for me. Sort of switching back to, I guess, quasi the New Pacific investment and your operation in Bolivia, San Vicente.

There's been a change in government in Bolivia. Can you just make any comments that you can regarding that change in government and if it's had any impact on San Vicente and the relationships in Bolivia?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

No. Look, we are working and very happily working in Bolivia since '95. San Vicente has been very great contributor for our silver production and still is. And that's the reason why we are interested to look at other projects in Bolivia and our investment in New Pacific.

I don't see any reason to change that with the new government. For us, it has been a good jurisdiction to work in.

Ryan Thompson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

OK. That is all I have. Thanks a lot for the update, guys.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator instructions] The next question comes from Lawson Winder with Bank of America Securities. Please go ahead.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Thank you, operator, and hello, everybody. I hope you guys are all well. Just a couple of follow-ups for me. So first off, on the La Colorada skarn, in your release, you discussed the cooling installations and the heat that's being generated underground there.

I'd just be curious to know, is the heat is being generated there, is that just from the high concentration of sulfide in the rock, or are there other geological features that are causing that?

Chris Emerson -- Vice President, Business Development & Geology

Yes. Hi, Lawson. It's Chris here. Yes.

I mean, as you know, we've drilled -- I mean, drilling deep down into that skarn zone to the east, the vein sitting further up top. Yes, we've gone into a porphyry. There are groundwaters there, which have a thermal gradient, of course. And so it's not really geological in that respect.

Yes, there are systems and hydro systems, which are bringing in heat. Obviously, you've got heat from the operations as it is as it stands to date. But in terms of the sulfide content and is that creating that heat, not essentially.

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

I might add, too, Lawson, that the refrigeration plant, I mean, because of that temperature gradient, we're pretty confident as we go into the skarn, we're going to need cooling. And today, as Chris alluded to, we see now and then areas of hot water that we intersect. We're able to pump that out. We're able to ventilate it.

We're able to, over time, cool that area off. So we see an opportunity, if we can get that refrigeration planned in early, it gives us more speed in getting into areas that are hot now. Even though we don't necessarily, we could probably survive without it. It will help the current operation, and that's why we're kind of pushing that project forward.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

And I imagine that it is also part of planning for when an ultimate development decision as well.

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Exactly. Yes.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Thank you for that. Also, Steve, you mentioned that the strip ratios at La Arena and Shahuindo ore, I might have them backwards, but I believe you said 19% and 33%, respectively. By any chance, are you able to provide what those strip ratios are expected to be in 2021?

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Sure. In Shahuindo, it's the other way around. Shahuindo is up 19% from 1.0 to 1.2. La Arena is up 33% from 2.1 to 2.8 when comparing 2020 actual to 2021 plan.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

OK. And then you also mentioned the strip ratio at Dolores was down 18%. What is that down to?

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Down 32% from 3.8 in 2020 to 2.9 in 2021.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

OK. No, that's fantastic. And I also wanted to ask about the current reserve at La Arena. Does it include any of the satellite pits? And what I'm referring to, if you think back to like the Rio Alto days, they were finding a lot of mineralization in the satellite pits around the main pit.

And I just wasn't sure whether or not any of those have been included in the current reserve and/or reserve statement.

Martin Wafforn -- Senior Vice President, Technical Services & Process Optimization

Lawson, it's Martin here. No, no, they haven't. It's just the main La Arena pit.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Is that an area of focus for your exploration at all, Chris?

Chris Emerson -- Vice President, Business Development & Geology

When we did the purchase of Tahoe, we obviously went through the exploration portfolio. Yes, there are some a series of targets sitting around La Arena, but no, they're not a target for us at the moment.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

And so any potential upside you would expect to come in and/or around the existing pit? Would that be fair?

Chris Emerson -- Vice President, Business Development & Geology

Yes. That's correct. I mean, most of the exploration drilling that's been happening has been in pit, and it's really those central structures, those feeder veins have come up and that's where we're getting some certain amount of success.

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

As you can imagine, focus was on immediate mine life expansion. As I said, as initially, when we purchased the asset, we planned -- or the plan was to have 2021 as the last production year. So the focus was on immediate life expansion, which, of course, is in the pit.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

OK. That's great. And then just one final question on some of the, I'll call them noncore assets. I know there's already been a number of questions on them already, but one that hasn't been addressed directly yet is Shalipayco.

Where does that stand right now? I mean, are you and Nexa looking at potentially developing it? Is it an asset that Pan American might be interested in participating in? Or does Pan American still look at that as a non-core asset that would hopefully be sold at some point?

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yes. If I want to look at the development pipeline for Shalipayco, you really have to look at the Nexa publications and press releases. I've seen some were talking about Shalipayco, of course, as one of their projects. We actually have -- we are holding a 25% carried interest into production.

So it's a large zinc deposit. No, we are not planning to -- we don't have to financially participate because it's a free carry into commercial production. But very happy to have that. It was one of our exploration project, and Nexa took an option on this many years ago and did a lot of work, great work on this deposit.

And that's where it stands. They took over and are kind of running the show and are the operator, and as I said, we will keep holding our 25% carried interest.

Chris Emerson -- Vice President, Business Development & Geology

Sorry. Listen, I do understand that they are continuing with technical studies on that project. And I believe, yes, as Mike mentioned, if you look at their website, etc., it will give you some more flavor.

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

That is fantastic. Thank you, everyone, for the answers today, and all the best.

Operator

This concludes the question-and-answer session. I would like to turn the conference back over to Michael Steinmann for any closing remarks.

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, operator, and thank you, everyone, for calling in. This is all the time we have for this call. But please, if you have additional questions or come up with new questions, like always, feel free to call IR, send emails to Siren. We'll be happy to answer those questions in due course.

Just a few words to the silver market when I close here. You've seen probably some of the releases that came up February time from the Silver Institute, talking about an outlook on Silver 20-11. I think really important there besides, obviously, the use of silver as a hedge of inflation or store of value or however you want to call it, silver is a very, very important industrial metal, especially while as the world is going into clean energy, more clean energy production, and electrification. Silver like copper going to be or is a very essential metal to have.

The Silver Institute is looking at probably a 10% to 11% increase this year as a forecast on the industrial side of silver, makes a lot of sense. We have a different administration in the U.S., a lot of focus on clean energy. There will be a lot of production and the installation of solar panels, as I would assume, and also electric cars will consume quite a bit more silver than combustion engine cars. So just keep an eye on that, too.

And I said, there's always these two sides of silver, one is, of course, the investment or financial asset side. But the side on the industrial side, which is more than 50% of the use of silver just on the industrial side, that does not include jewelry, etc., is fastly growing. And of course, will grow more while the world is coming out of this pandemic and hopefully going back here to normal as we roll out the vaccinations. Anyway, with that, we'll close our call.

Thank you, everyone, for calling in, and looking forward to update you again in May on our Q1 2021. Have a good day.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 59 minutes

Call participants:

Siren Fisekci -- Vice President, Investor Relations

Michael Steinmann -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Tyler Langton -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Steve Busby -- Chief Operating Officer

Justin Stevens -- PI Financial -- Analyst

Li Hua -- Scotiabank -- Analyst

Rob Doyle -- Chief Financial Officer

John Tumazos -- Very Independent Research -- Analyst

Cosmos Chiu -- CIBC World Markets -- Analyst

Martin Wafforn -- Senior Vice President, Technical Services & Process Optimization

Ryan Thompson -- BMO Capital Markets -- Analyst

Lawson Winder -- Bank of America Securities -- Analyst

Chris Emerson -- Vice President, Business Development & Geology

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