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As a way to understand the true nature of a streaming deal in the mining industry, one instructive measure would be to quickly compare the tangible book value per share (BVPS) of the companies involved. The BVPS of gold companies is about six times its share price on average. The most valuable streaming company, Franco-Nevada, on the other hand, trades about 25 times tangible BVPS. In the world of mining, the streaming company is the same as the bank in the casino; they don’t lose. So news that Sibanye-Stillwater has concluded a streaming deal for $500m is something of a double-edged sword. One way of looking at a streaming deal is to think of it as you would a bond issued to a distressed bank. The bank is betting it can trade its way out of its problem and is prepared to give away some of its financial upside to back that bet. But should shareholders celebrate or mourn? In Sibanye’s case, the streaming deal has two immediate benefits. It means a thumping cash call is now off the ca...

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