August 15, 2020
Gold has been in the news over the past few weeks, as the price has broken out to new all-time highs exceeding $2,000 an ounce. With the recent momentum, you may be asking whether it’s time to put some money into the shiny yellow metal, and if so how you might go about it. Certainly you could go online or to a local coin store and buy actual physical metal and store it yourself (disclosure: I may have a gold coin or two around here somewhere) but that typically involves some significant costs, including the high bid and ask spread for physical coins and bars as well as the cost for storage (such as buying a safe or leasing a safe deposit box). But there are also a variety of non-physical ways to gain exposure to gold that could be easier and much less expensive.
First, there are a number of exchange traded funds (ETFs) that could give you exposure to changes to the gold price, the largest being the SPDR Gold Shares (Tii:GLD) which approximates the value of underlying metal (if you are interested in Gold’s poor cousin, silver, you might consider the iShares Silver Trust (Tii:SLV)). There are also ETFs for the gold miners too, such as the VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (Tii:GDX) that would provide exposure to the gold miners index.
Of course, you might also consider investing directly in a gold mining company. There are a variety of different mining companies, from the largest producing miners to exploration companies and anything in between. Exploration companies are often the highest risk, since these companies are basically modern-day prospectors, looking for gold deposits. Many of these exploration companies trade on the TSE Venture Exchange (TSXV) and may broadly be considered “penny stocks.” They are high risk but could potentially offer higher rewards. Given this higher risk profile, it may be easier to invest in a junior miner ETF like the VanEck Vectors Junio Gold Miners ETF (Tii:GDXJ).
You might also consider investing in the larger producing miners. These companies actually dig the gold out of the ground and sell it into the market but may also benefit from the increased value of their proven reserves still in the ground should the price of gold rise. Some of the largest gold miners include Newmont Corporation (Tii:NEM), Barrick Gold Corporation (Tii:GOLD), Kinross Gold Corp. (Tii:KGC) and Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (Tii:AEM).
Another potentially interesting way to play the mining sector is through a streaming company (no, not like streaming movies and TV), these companies buy the production stream of operating mines. These streams may be the primary mine production or the byproducts (for example a gold production company may be focused on producing gold, but the gold ore may also contain silver, copper or other metals that are byproducts). Some of the largest precious metals streaming companies include Wheaton Precious Metals (disclosure: I own shares of this company, Tii:WPM), Royal Gold, Inc. (Tii:RGLD) and Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd. (Tii:OR).
Finally, there is one gold mining company that offers an interesting shareholder perk, Gold Resource Corporation (disclosure: I own shares of Gold Resource Corp., Tii:GORO) which allows shareholders to reinvest their monthly dividends into gold or silver that the company produces. The program allows investors to convert their monthly cash dividend into 1-ounce gold or silver coins produced from metal mined by the company, minted with an eagle and the company’s name emblazoned on it. This is one potential way to invest in a miner and physical metal at the same time!