15 Best Precious Metals ETFs in Canada (2022): Hold Gold and Silver in Your Portfolio

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by Enoch Omololu, MSc (Econ)

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In a mineral and resource-rich country like Canada, investing in precious metals companies and ETFs is a great way to diversify your portfolio. 

There are plenty of Canadian and US-listed precious metal ETFs that can provide stability, some capital growth, and dividend distributions as well. 

Precious metals for Canadians to invest in include gold, silver, and rare earth minerals which have become a crucial ingredient in creating batteries for things like electric vehicles.

With so many great precious metal companies to invest in, buying ETFs is a great way to gain exposure to baskets of different stocks. 

You can also invest in precious metals through individual stocks, futures contracts, and even physical bullion. 

In this article, I will review my top 15 choices for the best precious metal ETFs in Canada for September 2022. 

What is a Precious Metals ETF?

A precious metals ETF is an Exchange Traded Fund that holds stocks or assets from the precious metals industry.

These can focus on the gold industry and hold gold miners or gold streamers, and the same for silver or rare earth minerals. Other precious metals include lesser-known metals like platinum and palladium.

These ETFs can hold specific stocks from the Canadian, US, or global markets. Some even invest in physical metals or futures contracts for these commodities.

Here are the top 15 precious metal ETFs that I will be reviewing in this article:

  • iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF (TSE:XGD)
  • BMO Junior Gold Index ETF (TSE:ZJG)
  • BMO Equal Weight Global Gold Index ETF (TSE:ZGD)
  • Horizons Gold ETF (TSE:HUG)
  • Harvest Global Gold Giants Index ETF (TSE:HGGG)
  • Sprott Physical Silver Trust (TSE:PSLV)
  • Horizons Silver ETF (TSE:HUZ)
  • iShares SIlver Bullion ETF (CAD-Hedged) (TSE:SVR)
  • Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSEARCA:SIL)
  • Purpose SIlver Bullion Fund (TSE:SBT)
  • iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF (TSE:XBM)
  • Global X Lithium and Battery Tech ETF (NYSEARCA:LIT)
  • Amplify Lithium and Battery Technology ETF (NYSEARCA:BATT)
  • VanEck Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF (NYSEARCA:REMX)
  • Horizons Global Lithium Producers Index ETF (TSE:HLIT)

Note that all facts and figures are accurate as of August 2022. 

Best Precious Metals ETFs in Canada

Gold ETFs

1. iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF 

Here are some key facts for XGD:

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:XGD
  • MER: 0.61%
  • Investment: Global Gold Stocks 
  • AUM: $947 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -21.56%
  • Inception Date: March 23, 2001
  • Distribution Yield: 3.74%
  • Number of Holdings: 47

XGD is one of Canada’s largest traded gold ETFs. This fund holds 47 different global gold producers and miners from around the world. 

Geographically, 68.57% of XGD’s holdings are from Canada, and 22.20% are from the United States. 

The three largest holdings in the ETF are Newmont (TSE:NGT), Barrick Gold Corp (TSE:ABX), and Franco Nevada Corp (TSE:FNV). These three holdings make up about 46% of the allocation of the ETF.

2. BMO Junior Gold Index ETF

Here are some key facts for ZJG:

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:ZJG
  • MER: 0.61%
  • Investment: North American Gold Stocks 
  • AUM: $60.99 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -16.44%
  • Inception Date: January 19, 2010
  • Distribution Yield: 0.44%
  • Number of Holdings: 40

ZJG is a Canadian-listed gold mining ETF that tracks gold companies that trade on the US or Canadian markets. 

This ETF holds 40 of the largest junior gold miners in North America. The three largest holdings are Royal Gold Inc (NASDAQ:RGLD), Yamana Gold Inc (TSE:YRI), and B2Gold Corp (TSE:BTO).

It comes with a high-risk rating according to BMO Global Asset Management and pays out an annualized distribution of 0.44% on an annual basis. 

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3. BMO Equal Weight Global Gold Index ETF

Here are some key facts for ZGD:

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:ZGD
  • MER: 0.60%
  • Investment: Global Gold Stocks 
  • AUM: $41.61 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -19.42%
  • Inception Date: November 14, 2012
  • Distribution Yield: 0.48%
  • Number of Holdings: 33

ZGD is another gold-related ETF from BMO Global Asset Management that trades on the TSX. 

This fund holds 33 of the largest global gold companies, including Alamos Gold Inc (TSE:AGI), K92 Mining Inc (TSE:KNT), and Yamana Gold Inc (TSE:YRI). 

Geographically, ZGD has a 61.68% allocation to Canadian stocks, followed by a 10.16% allocation to US-listed stocks. 

4. Horizons Gold ETF 

Here are some key facts for HUG:

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:HUG
  • MER: 0.30%
  • Investment: Gold Bullion Futures
  • AUM: $39 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -4.17%
  • Inception Date: June 24, 2009
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 1

HUG is different from the other gold ETFs on this list. It tracks the futures contracts of gold bullion rather than investing in gold stocks. 

It is Canada’s only non-physical gold ETF and allows investors to have exposure to gold bullion without having to actually own physical gold. 

5. Harvest Global Gold Giants Index ETF 

Here are some key facts for HGGG: 

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:HGGG
  • MER: 0.40%
  • Investment: Global Gold Stocks
  • AUM: $14.6 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -23.08%
  • Inception Date: January 15, 2019
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 20

HGGG holds 20 of the largest global gold companies in its fund, with a 66.5% allocation to Canadian stocks.

The top 3 holdings in this fund are Alamos Gold Inc (TSE:AGI), Osisko Gold Royalties Ltd (TSE:OR), and Yamana Gold Inc (TSE:YRI). 

Harvest has given this fund a risk rating of High and currently does not pay a distribution to shareholders.

Silver ETFs

6. Sprott Physical Silver Trust

Here are some key facts for PSLV: 

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:PSLV
  • MER: 0.60%
  • Investment: Silver Bullion
  • AUM: $3.1 billion
  • 1-Year Performance: -20.77%
  • Inception Date: October 27, 2010
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 1

PSLV is a Canadian-listed ETF that allows investors to gain exposure to silver bullion. The official bullion custodian for the silver in PSLV is the Royal Canadian Mint. 

To redeem for physical bullion, you must have the equivalent units of ten 1000 oz silver bars. 

7. Horizons Silver ETF 

Here are some key facts for HUZ: 

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:HUZ
  • MER: 0.78%
  • Investment: Silver Bullion Futures 
  • AUM: $23.6 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -23.09%
  • Inception Date: June 24, 2009
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 1

HUZ is another Canadian-listed ETF that provides exposure to silver bullion, this time through futures contracts. 

It is the sister ETF to the HUG Horizons Gold ETF and tracks the Solactive Silver Front Month MD Rolling Futures Index. 

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8. iShares Silver Bullion ETF (CAD-Hedged)

Here are some key facts for SVR: 

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:SVR
  • MER: 0.66%
  • Investment: Spot Physical Silver
  • AUM: $72.4 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -22.60%
  • Inception Date: July 15, 2009
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 1

SVR is another Canadian silver ETF that holds physical silver and trades around the spot price of the commodity.

The fund has over 2.9 million ounces of silver in trust. It is also hedged to the Canadian dollar to avoid any currency volatility. SVR.C is the unhedged version of this ETF. 

9. Global X Silver Miners ETF 

Here are some key facts for SIL: 

  • Ticker Symbol: NYSEARCA:SIL
  • MER: 0.65%
  • Investment: Global Silver Mining Stocks
  • AUM: $802 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -38.33%
  • Inception Date: April 19, 2010
  • Distribution Yield: 0.65%
  • Number of Holdings: 40

SIL is the first US-domiciled ETF on this list, as it trades on the NYSEARCA exchange in US dollars.

This ETF holds 40 of the world’s largest silver mining companies, with 68.1% of the allocations being Canadian stocks. 

The three largest holdings in SIL are Wheaton Precious (TSE:WPM), Pan American Silver Corp (NASDAQ:PAAS), and SSR Mining Inc (NASDAQ:SSR). 

10. Purpose Silver Bullion Fund

Here are some key facts for SBT: 

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:SBT
  • MER: 0.32%
  • Investment: Physical Silver Bars
  • AUM: $46.1 million 
  • 1-Year Performance: -23.11%
  • Inception Date: May 24, 2016
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 1

Back to the TSX for this ETF, as SBT is one of my favourite funds that hold just physical silver bars. 

This ETF holds over 1.8 million ounces of silver with a Canadian chartered bank. 

11. iShares S&P/TSX Global Base Metals Index ETF 

Here are some key facts for XBM: 

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:XBM
  • MER: 0.61%
  • Investment: Global Base Metal Stocks
  • AUM: $215 million
  • 1-Year Performance: -7.40%
  • Inception Date: April 12, 2011
  • Distribution Yield: 9.49%
  • Number of Holdings: 34

XBM is one of my favourite base metal ETFs that provides exposure to the 34 different miners and producers of metals like gold, silver, and lithium. 

This fund has a 40.62% allocation to Canadian stocks and a 31.75% allocation to US stocks. 

The three largest holdings in XBM are BHM Group ADR LTD (NYSE:BHP), Alcoa Corp (NYSE:AA), and Teck Resources (TSE:TECK.B). 

Rare Metals ETFs

12. Global X Lithium and Battery Tech ETF 

Here are some key facts for LIT: 

  • Ticker Symbol: NYSEARCA:LIT
  • MER: 0.75%
  • Investment: Global Lithium Stocks
  • AUM: $4.75 billion 
  • 1-Year Performance: 0.01%
  • Inception Date: July 22nd, 2010
  • Distribution Yield: 0.11%
  • Number of Holdings: 39

LIT is a US-domiciled ETF that tracks global Lithium producers, specifically those involved in battery technology. 

This ETF holds only a 1.4% allocation to Canadian stocks. China leads the way with a 42.0% allocation, followed by the US with a 20.5% allocation. 

The fund holds popular stocks like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), Samsung, Panasonic, LG, and BYD. 

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13. Amplify Lithium and Battery Technology ETF

Here are some key facts for BATT: 

  • Ticker Symbol: NYSEARCA:BATT
  • MER: 0.59%
  • Investment: Global Lithium Stocks
  • AUM: $200 million 
  • 1-Year Performance: -15.98%
  • Inception Date: June 6th, 2018
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 85

BATT is another Lithium-based ETF that tracks battery technology, especially for the electric vehicle sector. 

This fund holds 85 global lithium and battery companies, with a 38% allocation to Chinese companies and a 5% allocation to Canadian companies. 

Amongst its holdings include stocks like Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA), BYD, LG, and Albemarle (NYSE:ALB). 

Here are some Lithium stocks you can consider.

14. VanEck Rare Earth/Strategic Metals ETF

Here are some key facts for REMX: 

  • Ticker Symbol: NYSEARCA:REMX
  • MER: 0.53%
  • Investment: Global Rare Earth Stocks
  • AUM: $804 million 
  • 1-Year Performance: -2.92%
  • Inception Date: October 27, 2010
  • Distribution Yield: 5.79%
  • Number of Holdings: 23

REMIX is a well-known rare earth ETF that trades in the US on the NYSEARCA exchange. 

This ETF holds 23 of the world’s largest rare earth miners, with a heavy allocation to Chinese and Australian companies.  

It pays a generous 5.79% distribution yield which it pays on an annual basis, typically in December. 

15. Horizons Global Lithium Producers Index ETF 

Here are some key facts for HLIT: 

  • Ticker Symbol: TSE:HLIT
  • MER: 0.90%
  • Investment: Global Lithium Stocks
  • AUM: $36 million 
  • 1-Year Performance: +24.13%
  • Inception Date: June 22nd, 2021
  • Distribution Yield: N/A
  • Number of Holdings: 27

HLIT is a Canadian lithium ETF that tracks 27 of the world’s largest lithium producers. It trades on the TSX in Canadian dollars.

This fund has a 33.64% allocation to Australian companies and a 12.55% allocation to Canadian companies. 

The largest allocations in the ETF belong to Livent Corp (NYSE:LTHM), Albemarle Corp (NYSE:ALB), and Australian-listed IGO Ltd. 

How To Buy Precious Metals ETFs in Canada in 2022 

Precious metal ETFs that trade on the TSX are available on most Canadian brokerages.

Personally, I like to use discount brokerages to save on commissions that the big banks charge. Here are three of my top choices for brokerages in Canada.

Wealthsimple Trade 

This popular commission-free financial platform allows you to buy the best Canadian precious metal ETFs for no trading fees at all. Invest in stocks, ETFs, and even crypto on Wealthsimple

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Questrade

Canada’s oldest discount brokerage, you can use Questrade to buy precious metal ETFs for free. If you decide to sell those positions, you pay just a low selling fee of $4.95 per trade.

Questrade

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QTrade

QTrade is a Vancouver-based discount brokerage that offers free ETF trading for a select list of Canadian and US-listed funds. Included on this list are ETFs like HUG, HUZ, and XBM. 

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Are Precious Metal ETFs a Good Investment?

Precious metals are a fixture on the Toronto Stock Exchange and in the Canadian financial market. 

Gold, silver, and rare earth ETFs offer investors price stability, with the potential for long-term capital growth as well as a solid dividend distribution. 

These precious metals can act as a hedge against inflation and market volatility as well. 

If you are looking to invest in the TSX, then precious metal ETFs are a great way to add diversification to your portfolio.

Keep in mind that this article is just a frame of reference and not investment advice. Always do your own research into stocks or ETFs you wish to invest in.  

Downsides of Precious Metal ETFs

The downside for these precious metals is that the stock and ETF performance is always tied to the price of the commodity.

While they can certainly provide long-term capital growth, precious metal ETFs and stocks are not often seen as high-growth assets. 

Precious metal ETFs with global stocks and futures contracts will often have a higher MER due to more involved portfolio management by the ETF providers.

Top Precious Metal Stocks

Looking at individual Canadian precious metal stocks instead? Here’s a list of 10 you can take a look at.

  • Barrick Gold Corp (TSE:ABX)
  • Yamana Gold (TSE:YRI)
  • Franco Nevada Corp (TSE:FNV)
  • Agnico Eagle Mines Limited (TSE:AEM)
  • B2Gold Corp (TSE:BTO)
  • Fortuna Silver Mines Inc (TSE:FVI)
  • Wheaton Precious Metals (TSE:WPM)
  • Pan American Silver Corp (TSE:PAAS)
  • Avalon Rare Metals (TSE:AVL)
  • Lithium Americas (TSE:LAC)

FAQs

What is the best precious metal to invest in? 

At the end of the day, it’s hard to top gold as the top precious metal to invest in on the TSX. Gold has the highest number of stocks and ETFs for you to add to your portfolio. 

What is the best gold ETF in Canada? 

Personally, I like the iShares S&P/TSX Global Gold Index ETF (XGD) as it gives exposure to the global gold industry. It has a great selection of stocks, a competitive MER, and a decent distribution yield.

Does Vanguard have a precious metals ETF? 

Vanguard Canada does not have a precious metals ETF that trades on the TSX. If you are looking for a Canadian precious metals ETF, I suggest looking at Blackrock iShares or BMO.

What are the other ways to invest in precious metals?

In Canada, investors can buy precious metals stocks at any discount brokerage like Wealthsimple Trade or Questrade. You can also invest in futures contracts or physical bullion as well. 

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Author

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Enoch Omololu

Enoch Omololu is a personal finance expert and a veterinarian. He has a master’s degree in Finance and Investment Management from the University of Aberdeen Business School (Scotland) and has completed several courses and certificates in finance, including the Canadian Securities Course. He also has an MSc. in Agricultural Economics from the University of Manitoba and a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Ibadan. Enoch has a passion for helping others win with their personal finances and has been writing about money matters for over a decade. He has been featured or quoted in The Globe and Mail, Winnipeg Free Press, Wealthsimple, Financial Post, Toronto Star, CTV News, Canadian Securities Exchange, Credit Canada, National Post, CIBC, and many other personal finance publications.

His top investment tools include Wealthsimple and Questrade. He earns cash back on purchases using KOHO, monitors his credit score for free using Borrowell, and earns interest on savings through EQ Bank.

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