Coeur d'Alene Mines CEO Dennis Wheeler believes the current financial storm will convince more and more investors to turn to precious metals as a safe harbor.

In a presentation to the Denver Gold Forum Tuesday, Wheeler declared, I believe we are now in the wake of a global financial hurricane which has left in its aftermath a new golden age for precious metals, for gold, and particularly silver.

As investors from the U.S. to Europe to China look for stability and protection against this crushing government debt and looming inflationary pressures, they are turning more and more to precious metals for protection-to gold and especially silver-for portfolio allocation into hard assets.

Wheeler told his audience of fund managers, mining analysts and mining executives that silver has outperformed gold three to one as the precious metal's price is up more than 50% this year and breached the $17 per ounce mark on Tuesday.

He forecast continued strength in silver and gold prices, which will generate an additional $23 million in annual net cash flow for each dollar increase in the silver price.

During Wheeler's tenure as at the helm of one of the world's largest silver miners, Coeur has experienced a near company-ending financial crisis in the 1990s, and argued for its Kensington gold mining project tailings permit all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Mining analyst John Tumazos noted that-without financial assistance or help from other U.S. mining companies-Coeur successfully fought a legal battle which may prove to benefit all hardrock mining companies who rely on wetlands permitting by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to stand up to tough scrutiny from the U.S. EPA.

Tumazos also reminded the audience Wheeler had transformed a company teetering on the edge of bankruptcy in the 1990s into an international miner with the strongest reserves in its history with production anticipated to expand 20% to 16 million ounces a year.

Wheeler highlighted a year of successes which included dramatic growth in production and cash flow, a Kensington gold mine finally expected to begin production late next year in Alaska, and the anticipated release of new reserves at the Palmarejo silver-gold mine in Mexico during the fourth quarter of this year.