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SESG is Gold that Aligns with Your Values

SESG is Gold that Aligns with Your Values

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September 13, 2022 | (62 mins 42 secs)

Sprott ESG Gold ETF (SESG) is the world’s first ETF (exchange traded fund) to exclusively source and refine gold from recognized ESG mining leaders (based on Morningstar’s universe of listed commodity funds as of 8/31/2022). ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing, despite recent scrutiny and political pushback, is growing rapidly and now represents ~US$35 trillion. SESG seeks to address the growing global demand for sustainable, green investment strategies in an ETF that provides trust, transparency and traceability. In this webcast, we discuss:

  • How investor demand for sustainable, "green" investments is growing
  • Sprott ESG Gold ETF (SESG)'s unique approach to gold and ESG
  • Partner Agnico Eagle Mine's award-winning ESG and sustainability efforts
  • How to integrate SESG into an investment portfolio

Featured Speakers

Mohammed Ali
Mohammed Ali
Vice President, Sustainability & Regulatory Affairs
Agnico Eagle
John Ciampaglia
John Ciampaglia
Chief Executive Officer
Sprott Asset Management
Read Bio
Edward C. Coyne
Edward C. Coyne
Senior Managing Director, Global Sales
Sprott Asset Management
Read Bio

Webcast Transcript

Millissa Allen, RIA Database: Hi everyone, thank you for joining us for today's webcast, "SESG is Gold that Aligns with Your Values", sponsored by Sprott Asset Management. We welcome and encourage your questions. You can type your questions in the Q&A box, and we'll do our best to get to as many questions as possible. I'd like to turn it over to today's first speaker Ed Coyne, Senior Managing Director of Global Sales with Sprott Asset Management.

Ed Coyne, Sprott: Slides 2-5 Introduction

Ed Coyne: Thank you, Millissa. Welcome everyone to the Sprott ESG Gold ETF webcast. We're excited to talk about one of our newer launches and something that I think is becoming more relevant to many of your investors out there. Today, I'm lucky to have two special guests: Mohammed Ali and John Ciampaglia.

Mohammed is the Vice President, Sustainability and Regulatory Affairs at Agnico Eagle Mines Limited. Prior to Mohammed's role, he was the Vice President, Environmental for Kirkland Lake Gold from 2017 to 2022. With over 20 years of experience in the mining sector, Mr. Ali is an environmental, social and sustainability executive with broad technical, regulatory and management expertise from a background in research, consulting, engineering and business development. Mr. Ali is a committee member with several organizations, including the Canadian Institute of Mining, Canada, Ontario Mining Association, and chairs various mining, environmental and sustainability committees and conferences in Canada and around the world. Mohammed holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from Middle East Technical University.

With us also today is John Ciampaglia. John is the Chief Executive Officer at Sprott Asset Management and Senior Managing Director at Sprott Inc. John has more than 26 years of investment industry experience. Before joining Sprott in 2010, John was a Senior Executive at Invesco Canada and held the position of Senior Vice President in Product Development. Prior to Invesco Canada, he spent more than four years at TD Asset Management. John earned a Bachelor of Arts and Economics from York University, he is a CFA charterholder and a Fellow of the Canadian Securities Institute.

For today's webcast, I've asked John and Mohammed to cover a few topics. John will predominantly discuss why investor demand for sustainable green investments is growing, highlighting the Sprott ESG Gold ETF with the ticker symbol SESG. Then, we'll turn to Mohammed to introduce Agnico Eagle Mines and their award-winning ESG efforts. I'll finally wrap up the webcast and close it out with a few talking points on the Sprott ESG Gold ETF and then open up the webcast for some active Q&A.

I'd like to now welcome John Ciampaglia to the webcast and have John introduce our newest edition to the family, the Sprott ESG Gold ETF, again, with the ticker symbol SESG. John, thank you for joining us.

John Ciampaglia, Sprott: Slides 6-18 

John Ciampaglia: Thanks Ed, and everybody for making time out of your busy day to join us on this webcast. We hope you'll find it educational because I think it's fair to say that what this ETF brings to the market is a new category that we're essentially creating and with all things new, I think the first step is always understanding and education, and we hope you have a better understanding of what this ETF is about, why we created it, and what need it could fit into your business and your client's needs.

Just for a little bit of background, we've seen a big influx over the last few years in ESG investing, most of the capital that's come in has been institutional that have been more progressive and forward thinking in terms of adopting ESG principles, and most of this is focused on public companies. We don't see ESG applied in a big way outside of public companies. We often get asked from different institutions, ETF research and home office gatekeepers about how we're approaching ESG in our investment approach. More specifically, how does this apply to the physical precious metals markets? That's something that I think was one of the first light bulbs that went off for us because these were questions we would get and they were very difficult to answer.

Let's come down a few levels and talk more specifically about mining in ESG and gold in ESG, which we think is a more concise topic that we like to cover and a more relevant topic. Let's start with mining and ESG. ESG in our opinion, is simply a framework that helps investors assess how a company manages certain risks. Depending on the type of company, it faces different risks. For mining, the challenges and risks that it faces every day with its operations are very clear. You're operating on the land, you're potentially impacting local communities, ecosystems, biodiversity, and all of those kinds of environmental and social factors.

We acknowledge upfront that ESG has its challenges. When we started our journey a few years ago to understand the ESG landscape, we were very confused. We were confused because there was no standardization. We would talk to one rating agency and they would say, "Here are the ratings for these mining companies". We would talk to another one and get completely different results. This inconsistency makes it very confusing, I think it also creates doubt in terms of "How do I know these metrics that companies are being scored on are accurate?" Clearly, there are subjective measures and there's the potential for greenwashing that we have to be very aware of. I think over time, there will be more standardization. There is a big push to make this simpler for investors to navigate.

But again, coming back to mining companies, ESG and responsible practices are absolute table stakes. I say that because a mining operation can quickly cease if it fails to operate responsibly if it has issues at a particular mine site. If a mine is out of business, its cash flow and its workers are out of business and it's a very, very important risk consideration for all extractive industries and particularly with mining.

Let's shift and discuss physical gold in ESG. I will start by saying the gold mining industry has made enormous strides over the last 10 years in improving transparency and strengthening supply chains. But, we still think more progress is needed. We need more transparency. We still find the gold industry is opaque, even though we've been operating in it for decades and are a large investor in physical gold. Provenance and chain of custody are the weakest links in the gold supply chain. There are issues with artisanal mining, small-scale mining, recycled gold and high-risk areas of the world.

When you think about investing in gold, many of our investors do so because they view it as a low-risk investment without counterparty risk. You don't want to find out one day that the gold that you own, unfortunately, came from somewhere in the world that has controversy or some kind of issue related to it that could impair that bar of gold, meaning it could be removed from the London Good Delivery list, which would make it very difficult to sell. Unfortunately, we have seen cases of this around the world, whether they were proven or accusations about refiners sourcing gold from conflict zones or artisanal sources, or in other instances in which supply chain security measures were not taken seriously and gold from money laundering and other kinds of nefarious acts somehow infiltrated into the gold supply chain.

The big issue is that we can't tell you where your gold comes from, who produced it, when it was produced and whether it was produced responsibly. That was the "aha" moment for us when we would get asked some of these questions from institutions and different ETF gatekeepers that the LBMA [London Bullion Market Association] and the gold sector are, as I said, making a lot of progress on a lot of these fronts, but I think there's more room for improvement. The Sprott ESG Gold ETF has been designed to address some of these issues facing the physical gold market.

We view the Sprott ESG Gold ETF as the first Gold ETF to exclusively source and refine gold from recognized mining leaders, and this was a long time in development in terms of trying to figure out "How do we design a product that will operate very differently than all the other products in the world?" And we think we offer investors unparalleled levels of trust, transparency, and traceability.

Next slide, please. Where does this trust, transparency and traceability come from? It comes from five different elements, sustainability, provenance, conflict free, lower supply chain risks and trusted refining and storage.

Let me start on the next slide by talking about the partnership we have formed. We have several key partners that have been instrumental in the operation and the design of this offering. I'll start with Agnico Eagle, with Mohammed joining us today. He will be telling us about Agnico's approach to responsible mining. And the Royal Canadian Mint, which is our longtime storage provider that is providing segregated refining and vaulting.

A key element that distinguishes SESG from other ETFs is that Sprott is directly sourcing gold from these mining companies and their specific mines, and we're also asking the Royal Canadian Mint to do segregated production in terms of casting bars exclusively for SESG.

How do we select these companies? Quite honestly, they are leaders, and I think they're recognized globally in their fields in terms of being amongst the best in responsible mining sustainability in ESG. I'm proud to say that they're local companies also based here in Toronto, so it was easy to work with them through the process.

Let's jump into sustainability. As I said, sustainability and responsible mining are critical. If you are not a responsible miner, you will be out of business, whether you lose your environmental permits, whether it's a social community, you lose your social license to operate in that community. Many things happen in mining when you're not a good steward, and we see this all the time amongst different mining companies. We wanted to make sure that the companies that we're sourcing gold from are leaders in their class in terms of their operating track record over many, many years, we looked at several different frameworks, including the World Gold Council's responsible gold mining principles, the Mining Association of Canada towards sustainable mining, which provides very good details of mine level operating results and independent audits. It's about transparency, how these companies operate in a data-driven way, meaning we can quantify what they're doing as much as possible.

Next slide, please. Provenance. This speaks to where the gold is coming from. The reality is, if I have two gold bars in my hand right now from the same refiner, one could have been cast yesterday, and one could have been cast 50 years ago, I don't know where that gold came from, I don't know how much recycled gold is in each bar, and it's really difficult for investors to identify the source of the gold.

SESG provides details about the companies and the specific mine sites where we are sourcing gold. Sprott has done all of the ESG-related due diligence on the companies, and these six particular mines that we're starting with are all in Canada. We view Canada as one of the top mining jurisdictions in the world with very high levels of regulations, safety and oversight that sets very high standards relative to other parts of the world. All of the mines are owned or operated by Agnico Eagle.

Next slide, please. We show you exactly where the six mines are located. Three are in Quebec, Canada, two in Nunavut, and one in Ontario. All of the gold doré will be sourced from these six mines and sent to the Royal Canadian Mint, which the RCM will refine to 99.99% pure. There will be no other forms of gold from other companies or sources commingled in the Sprott ESG Approved Gold bars.

Next slide, please. Conflict Free. Okay, so you would think about conflict zones as zones that perhaps are having a civil war. You don't want to be buying gold that is used to fund any kind of oppression or civil war or human rights abuses. Still, I'm going to add one other issue, unfortunately since February 24, with the invasion of Ukraine, we also have other issues that have crept up meaning, sanctions, which I'm going to also categorize as conflict free. All of a sudden, the LBMA issues us a notice saying, "All gold and silver from this list of Russian refineries is no longer part of the LBMA". It's not just about conflict zones in the traditional sense, sanctions unfortunately have now entered into the gold supply chain in terms of whether people are able to transact in bars that were cast at Russian refiners, and this creates all kinds of issues around supply chain risks.

Since COVID, I think everyone understands the word supply chain now, unfortunately. In the gold supply chain, you're only as strong as your weakest links. Where you see weak links are obviously in artisanal small-scale gold mining and recycled gold, and this is more difficult to track and obviously more at risk if it's coming from areas of the world that are prone to conflicts, geopolitical turmoil, corruption, etc. Unfortunately, there have been cases in the last few years where bars have been removed from LMBA because they were found to be involved in nefarious activities.

Next slide, please. I spoke a little bit about refining and storage. The Royal Canadian Mint is one of the oldest mints in the world. We have a relationship that goes back over 10 years with RCM, and they store over $13 billion of gold on behalf of the Sprott Physical Bullion Trusts.

As I said, the only way to control the supply chain for Sprott ESG Gold ETF is to basically control that supply chain ourselves. That's why we're doing direct sourcing and segregated refining. This is a real picture of the first pour of Sprott ESG Approved Gold at the Royal Canadian Mint that was done about 10 days ago. We did our first 6,000 ounces pour, all of that gold came from Agnico Eagle's Meliadine Mine in Nunavut. We're very excited to actually be casting these bars and we hope we will be sourcing much more of their gold over time.

Let's talk a little bit about the ESG review process that we went through because we're very mindful of greenwashing and people's skepticism related to ESG. We take this process very seriously because it's all about your reputation and credibility as a firm. Much of our success in the marketplace has been based on our long-term operating track record and the trust that we've established with our clients over time.

We went through a process to basically evaluate and quantify as much as possible, different environmental, social and governance criteria. I would tell you that, every single mining company in the world has a large section of their investor presentation devoted to this. As I said, this is table stakes. This is absolutely mandatory that mining companies convince their stakeholders and shareholders that they are responsibly mining so that they can stay in business and maximize their long-term success. We looked at the sustainability reports of the companies. We looked at third-party research. We even hired our own independent consultant that tried to measure things like "What's the greenhouse gas emission at each mine site per ounce of gold produced? How are they dealing with tailings, water management, all the things that basically can get you into trouble if you're not doing them right?"

It's very important, obviously social issues, health and safety issues, you don't want to hear about fatalities at a mine, and then there are all of the different corporate governance issues. We wanted to make sure that these companies are doing this for real that it's kind of wired into their DNA, it's wired into their compensation systems and boards. Agnico Eagle is the company we have started with, but that does not mean we will not add more companies over time, it does not mean that we won't add more mines, but we have enough feedstock for the funds to start us off.

Just on the next slide, I'll just show you in a kind of illustration, how we went through this multi-factor review process, it really started with the Royal Canadian Mint, they are an LBMA member, and they have certain responsible sourcing requirements, so they have to first do the first line of defense, I guess, in terms of screening of where they're sourcing all of their gold into their refinery.

Then, we did due diligence at the company level. As I said, we used a lot of research to supplement our own research at the company level. It was then very helpful to then dive into each individual mine site, where we were able to use the sustainable mining framework that the Mining Association of Canada has, to really look at the mine level to make sure there are no issues at each location. I think this is a very comprehensive approach. This is an ongoing approach, and we're very committed to monitoring these mining companies and the mine sites. With that, I'll pass it back to Ed.

Ed Coyne: Thank you, John. John, before we move on to Mohammed, one of the questions that popped up is greenwashing. I know you've talked about it a few times during your part of the presentation. Can you just explain what that term is and what that means for those that may not be familiar with it?

John Ciampaglia: "Greenwashing" is a term that describes a situation where a company is purporting to be responsible or ESG centric, and in reality, when you dig deeper, you find out that it's more fiction than fact. I think, regulators have rightly gone after companies and other investment products around the world to make sure that what these funds are saying they do is happening in reality. Obviously,  investors don't want to be fooled by companies in terms of looking at a lot of nice pictures of people looking happy, they want to get down into the facts, the numbers they want to measure as much as they can, and every company in every industry is slightly different. At the end of the day, you want to make sure that the companies are doing exactly what they say they're going to be doing.

Ed Coyne: Thank you, John. I think that speaks to the trust and transparency part of sort of the three keys that we like to talk about, trust, transparency and traceability, but that's something I think we're seeing more and more of as we speak to our investors out there that trust and transparency on all things we do, but particularly as it relates to ESG, that's an important one. Thank you for just clarifying that for those that may not be familiar with that term.

John stick around because we've got some Q&A coming up on the back end, so don't go too far. But, before we go to that, I want to turn it over now to Mohammed Ali to talk a bit more about Agnico Eagle Mines Limited and give us a bit of a background on what your firm has been doing and what makes you so unique. Frankly, a lot of it speaks for itself because we chose you as our trusted partner, but I think it'll be interesting for our listeners to hear directly from you Mohammed on the value of Agnico Eagle partnering with Sprott. I'll hand it over to you Mohammed.

Mohammed Ali, Agnico Eagle: Slides 19-25 

Mohammed Ali: Good afternoon everybody. Thank you for this opportunity to speak, Ed. In terms of Agnico Eagle, we're actually quite pleased to be recognized as one of those companies that meet the criteria that you've outlined. As you're going through the slides, John, it was very apparent that my day job is very focused around these elements that you've very well articulated, but for the listeners, they may not realize that it's a full-time job to ensure that all of these different aspects are managed and they're cross disciplinary. You're going all the way from the raw material down to your refineries and you're covering disciplines from biodiversity, to air, to tailings, human resources, so putting all that together in a manner that puts it forward on sustainability is quite impressive.

And with that, I guess I'll start with a little bit of Agnico for those who don't know Agnico Eagle. It's a Canadian-based gold mining company with operations in Canada, Australia, Finland and Mexico. In 2021, we had gold production of over 2 million ounces and are expecting it to rise to over 3 million ounces in 2022.

I will share a couple of things that make Agnico different. One is that we have longevity, given the company was established in 1957. That history is important in the mining sector, as there are many mining companies that come and go, there are operations that aren't looking at the future, we've been around over 65 years, so that's something that we are quite proud of, because you cannot be operating that long if you don't have that kind of reputation and being known as a company of high standards.

We employ over 16,000 people and that's just our direct employees and including various communities, but we touch beyond 16,000, and I will touch on it later. But, as a mining company that operates in various communities, we have primary, secondary, and tertiary impacts that we make in those communities, and then we go beyond that into various philanthropic components, because we know we're an enabler in those towns.

Committed to net zero. As you've probably heard, in this day and age, the commitment to net zero by 2050 is becoming not just a nice to have, but a requirement and we're no different, we've recognized that, and we're making our plans to do so as well.

We're recognized as leaders in ESG performance. Even though that bullet at a high level just mentioned that we're leaders, and it can be anecdotal, but we have independent research folks like MSCI, Rep Risks, Sustain Analytics, and then TSM, which is further below that we won awards on. Consistently, we rank high, and we rank high because the way our model works is, that though we're a global mining company, we like to consider ourselves a regional mining company. We go into a region and we look at a mine, and then we actually look at the region and we try to have multiple assets in that area so that we can actually leverage and build a community and build a region. Agnico typically doesn't just go into an area with one asset and then just rely on that, so we're looking for long-term assets with long-term value, as well as developing long-term relationships with our community so that we can become the partner of choice in other assets in that region. That's important for us because we wouldn't be successful if we weren't seen as that regional miner. When you go into our communities, though we may be the world's third-largest producer, that local person who lives in the region, sees us as one of their local partners, and we are proud of that.

And then, a chance to boast a little bit about, recently we just, this year won the Mining Association, Canada Towards Sustainable Mining, Environmental Excellence, as well as the Community Engagement Excellence Awards. There are many mining companies that go through this TSM and to be selected as the winner, is a testament to a lot of good work that happens within our sites.

Moving into our approach on sustainability, I mentioned, ESG is a core building block in Agnico legal strategy, and it's really ingrained in how the company operates. It's not lip service because we understand that our role as a mining company has always been one that touches the land. And historically, mining companies tend to get that reputation of being a mining company, being exploiting resources, but we've started to realize that to be in business as long as we have, we're not exploiting a resource, we're actually see ourselves as building communities and we're ingrained in that community, we see ourselves as neighbors, we see ourselves as a partner and helping economic development, as well as being an enabler for some of these communities to actually thrive. Unlike other places in that you may or may not see ESG, may be seen as a label, or, we talked earlier, John mentioned about greenwashing, but when you really get down to a mining company, you may not realize that a business cannot operate in most communities because you're front and center for them, you are sometimes the biggest employer in town. You cannot be employed very long or a partner very long, especially if you don't have these ESG core building blocks.

We actually consider ESG as an opportunity to drive improved performance. When John mentioned all those elements of different aspects of ESG, we take those and we actually then develop benchmarks and metrics around each of those, and then we use that as a way to grow and see how we're doing and improving on them. There are qualitative and quantitative impacts, but we try to look at all of those metrics and see how we can continue improving to eventually culminate toward awards.

Our sustainability or ESG is based on four pillars. It's engaging with people, it's pursuing innovation, identifying and eliminating or mitigating risks and adapting new realities.I'll touch on each of those in the next couple of slides. But before I go there, I wanted to mention that ESG and goes right back to the metrics, et cetera, is governed all the way from our executives to their boards, to then to meet to each site. We actually have different layers of sustainability or ESG integrated through  the organization. I know you can't see my hands, but I do that zipper model and we just integrate all the way down to the top, because if ESG is not institutionalized in the company, or it's not part of the culture, it falls short because it then either becomes top heavy or just bottom heavy and you need everybody on the same page. That is one of our strengths that people don't realize that we do get very high rankings on these on the governance side but it's probably what makes us very successful. The fact that our CEO and our board, we commit to talking about more ESG than probably some of the other topics because of our values.

Engaging people in communities with respect. We strive on being that regional operator, so we try to make a positive difference. The positive difference really comes when you actually have multiple assets in a region, you can start leveraging the fact that you have a long-term view on things, long-term outcomes and objectives, so you can work with the communities. Therefore we're looking at long term things like training programs, because we aren't an asset that's just there for six years and out, so we're actually looking to see how do we build the local talent pool so that we can have long term, not just employment, but then you actually are building the capacity in those regions.

When it comes to indigenous, I think this is one of the areas that, including my own kids who they'd know their dads in the mining industry, but they don't realize that how much mining is one of the few sectors that actually is involved in direct reconciliation with indigenous communities who are actually there in the land, in traditional territories, and these communities rely on these mines, not just for jobs, but for procurement opportunities, but as an enabler for them to grow their own communities. There are various examples that I can get into, but for example, the Detour is one that during the COVID times, we started to become more tele-remote and children had to be in schools. We put in a 5G line that we actually put from Cochran all the way up to Detour, but all the communities along the way now had the ability to get educated at home. There's no value you can put on those kind of things for those indigenous communities.

And then, we continued to invest in the health and wellbeing of our communities during COVID. Nunavut being an isolated community, we made the conscious decision to say, "You know what? We don't want to risk your communities, full pay, stay at home, we're here for the long term, stay healthy, take care of your families, and then, we'll meet again when things get back to normal". It was actually quite shocking for some, when government grants were coming to our door, that we simply said, "Nope, we don't need it, we're good, and our communities are being taken care of. Spend it on the communities, please".

And then, diversity, equity and inclusion. It is a fundamental core value within Agnico. We have various programs that we're working with to ensure that we continue to broaden diversity in multiple ways, from gender, from ethnicity, diversity and thought, and it's something that we take quite a lot of pride in.

Moving to innovation. Innovation has always been part of, I would say, a lot of mining companies, and working on innovation. But, what I think makes Agnico different, because of our long-term view and assets such as Detour lake where you can get ethical gold, has a mine life of over 30 years. When you have that kind of mine life, it allows you to work with innovation on a wholly different temporal scale. It's not just looking at saving light bulbs and switching to smaller equipment, you start looking to long-term planning of electrification.

We wanted to start building things and being case studies for things that we can then replicate for other mines that have paybacks that other people just can't do, including then renewable energy and advanced digitization, but all of that, pursuing innovation, most mining companies do it, but I think we put it to a whole new level because of the way our assets are long-term.

Moving on to, protecting people, environment communities. I think I mentioned, we've won a couple of awards. We won the INAP award for Progressive Reclamation. This one is interesting and actually near and dear to my heart, because, though Detour Lake is not closing for another 30 years, we have already started progressive rehab and research, grabbing native vegetation and seeds to put in a greenhouse to see how that re-vegetation would look like 30 years. We are trying to conduct the best research so that we're not stuck in 2039 or 2040, trying to then close this mine without any idea of the land. We're working with our indigenous partners on this as well. They know the land, our indigenous partners see themselves as stewards of the land and we see ourselves as stewards of the land. It's a really good alignment of what we're doing including some of our award-winning components. We are even using drones for seeding on certain slopes. I can go on forever, but I think the stuff on managing an environment and communities and people, is something that we're very proud of.

Last but not least, what I find about, in the next slide, please, managing new realities. Mining companies are, having worked in variety of sectors, and I was a consultant before, what people don't realize, the mining sector, as much as people assume that mining is the mining of yesterday. It's not. In the realities of mining, the expectations of mining, they're always changing. A typical mining engineer and geologist are dealing different grades, different concepts, different things at all times. Unlike any other industry, we're always ready for change, we are always adapting. We adapt to new realities regarding our responsibility to mining, our indigenous communities, the evolution of their capacity, so we've always been ahead of the curve when it comes to accepting new realities and all the standards and reporting requirements that John mentioned. Wevare subject to a laundry list of reporting that people don't realize because of the fact that the sector is under so much scrutiny that we have so much disclosure. I may argue that mining is probably one of the most highly disclosed industries, and probably one of the most regulated.

And then other things we've done. Adapting to the new realities of climate change, obviously is a new reality that has always been around since the Kyoto Protocol, but the sophistication of it moving towards greenhouse gas emissions, we are amongst the lowest greenhouse gas emitters. To give you some perspective, the World Gold Council pegged the average gold price to be a gold greenhouse gas intensity of about one and S&P Gold put at 0.7, Agnico is about 0.37 as a company. We've got various reduction programs from energy efficiency to electrification and renewable energy projects, all the good stuff that's out there, and we're also working on research to help the mining industry move forward because we have the ability and leverage to work with the larger consortiums to start bringing in changes, so we see this as a responsibility of ours

With that, I am just going to turn it back to you, Ed.

Ed Coyne, Sprott: Slides 26-32 

Ed Coyne: Thank you Mohammed and thank you again, John, for joining us on the webcast today. Before we go into the Q&A, I just want to conclude with a few talking points and circle back on why invest in the Sprott ESG Gold ETF, and then I'll turn it back to Millisa for a moment before we go into Q&A.

And, we've been getting a fair amount of questions coming in throughout the call, so we're going to do our best job to address most of those today. For those we don't address, you'll be getting follow up email and or phone calls as relates to the questions that you posed. 

Let's just go back one more time to "Why invest in the Sprott ESG Gold ETF?"

At Sprott, we feel that SESG provides unmatched levels of transparency and traceability, particularly when you're looking at it relative to other gold ETFs out there today. For some investors, this is becoming increasingly more and more important. As John had mentioned earlier in the webcast, we're seeing this being driven predominantly at the institutional level, but we're also seeing this at the individual investor level, those that look to align their personal values with the investments they're making or a portion of their portfolio to address that. We're very proud of the fact they're able to deliver this, we're very proud of the fact that we have a trusted value partner with the Agnico Eagle, and we're looking forward to the future as this continues to evolve and grow over time.

One of the things that's also unique about the Sprott ESG Gold ETF is it's allowing investors to answer a number of key questions when investing in physical gold. As John mentioned, "Where does the gold come from? Who's producing the gold? Was it produced in a sustainable manner? Is that sustainability repeatable over time? Is it transparent? Can you trace where it comes from? And ultimately, does this align with the interest and the values that align with you as individual investors?" So again, this is something that is relatively new for us, and the reality is, in this space, it's really been happening for decades, it's just been highlighted now with ESG, and again, we're excited to be part of that and to be delivering that to our investors.

There are a couple of key facts that are worth mentioning though, which is of course, we are the sponsor of Sprott Asset Management. But the objective remains the same. The Sprott ESG Gold ETF, again with a ticker symbol (SESG), investment objective is to closely reflect the performance of the price of gold by holding physical gold bullying. It is very similar to PHYS for some of you that are familiar with that, that's our Physical Gold Trust. But where this is unique or where it's different is that it closely reflects the performance gold by holding the physical bullying, but it also meets the certain environmental, social and governance standards, the ESG standards that are out there. The Sprott ESG Gold  ETF holds Sprott ESG Approved Gold, it's the ETF that is expected to consist primarily of fully allocated unencumbered physical gold bullying held by the Royal Canadian Mint on behalf of the ETF as Sprott ESG Approved Gold. 

Again, we're excited about the inception of the Sprott ESG Gold ETF. I encourage you to reach out to our respective senior investment consultants at Sprott.

Important Disclosures

This material must be preceded or accompanied by a prospectus. For an additional copy of the Sprott ESG Gold ETF Prospectus, please visit An investor should consider the investment objectives, risks, charges and expenses carefully before investing. To obtain a Sprott ESG Gold ETF Statutory Prospectus, which contains this and other information, visit, or contact your financial professional or call 888.622.1813. Read the Prospectus carefully before investing.

There is currently no internationally accepted standard determining under what circumstances gold can be determined to be ESG. The Fund is not suitable for all investors. There are risks involved with investing in ETFs including the loss of money. The term “Sprott ESG Approved Gold” refers to gold that is physically indistinguishable from other gold but that has been sourced and produced in a manner consistent with the ESG standards and criteria used by the Sponsor (the “ESG Criteria”), which are designed to provide investors with an enhanced level of ESG scrutiny along with disclosure of the provenance of the metal sourced and include an evaluation of mining companies and mines. Mining companies and mines that meet the ESG Criteria (“Sprott ESG Approved Mining Companies” and “Sprott ESG Approved Mines”, respectively) must also comply with the Mint Responsible Sourcing Requirements.

The Fund’s investments will be concentrated in the gold industry. As a result, the Fund will be sensitive to changes in, and its performance will depend to a greater extent on, the overall condition of the gold industry. The price of gold may be affected by changes in inflation rates, interest rates, monetary policy, economic conditions, and political stability. The price of gold may fluctuate substantially over short periods of time; therefore, the Fund’s share price may be more volatile than other types of investments. In addition, they may also be significantly affected by political and economic conditions in gold producing and consuming countries, and gold production levels and costs of production.

The indicated rates of return are the historical annual compounded total returns including changes in share value and reinvestment of all distributions and do not take into account sales, redemption, distribution or operational charges or income taxes payable by any shareholder that would have reduced returns. You will usually pay brokerage fees to your dealer if you purchase or sell shares of the Trusts on the NYSE Arca, Inc. (“Arca”). If the shares are purchased or sold on Arca, investors may pay more than the current net asset value when buying shares of the Trust and may receive less than the current net asset value when selling them. Investment funds are not guaranteed, their values change frequently and past performance may not be repeated.

Shares are not individually redeemable. Investors buy and sell shares of the Sprott ESG Gold ETF on a secondary market. Only market makers or “authorized participants” may trade directly with the Fund, typically in blocks of 50,000 shares. Past performance is not an indication of future results. 

Sprott Asset Management USA, Inc. is the Investment Adviser of Sprott ESG Gold ETF; Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd. is the Distributor and is a registered broker-dealer and FINRA Member.

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