Gold miners vs ETFs. Round 2

Yesterday Kirkland Lake Gold CEO Brian Hinchcliffe made the case for greater dividend payouts by mining companies – in stead of the $100 billion spent "overpaying" for acquisitions over the last two years – to fend off competition from exchange-traded funds which he says is taking away investor capital from miners:

"The generalist investor is not going to be attracted to an industry that is not judiciously allocating capital, whether it's in the context of making acquisitions or in the context of dedicating capex," Hinchcliffe said. "ETFs are a major competing alternative for investment. I'm talking about a 5 percent to an 8 percent dividend policy, that is the best defense against the ETF."

Today, investment site Motley Fool, argued against Hinchcliffe:

Bullion ETFs have grown to be a huge force in the industry, with SPDR Gold controlling more than 41 million ounces of gold and iShares Silver holding almost 310 million ounces of silver. Even smaller funds like closed-end Central Fund of Canada has grown in size in recent years, with almost 1.7 million ounces of gold and 77 million ounces of silver in its portfolio.

Clearly, the tens of billions of dollars that investors have plowed into ETFs have drained capital that potentially could have gone into gold mining stocks.
But one response to blaming ETFs for draining capital is that ETFs' heavy demand for bullion has been key in driving metals prices higher, which in turn has contributed greatly to miners' profits over the years. In other words, if you take away the ETFs, gold prices may never have risen in the first place — leaving miners with even more to complain about.