VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA — (MARKET WIRE) — 08/10/11 —
Second Quarter 2011 Financial and Operating Highlights:
— Gold production of 38,104 ounces for the second quarter, with on-site average cash costs(1) of gold produced of $1,027 per ounce, comprised of the following: For the three months For the six months ended June 30, 2011 ended June 30, 2011 Ounces Cash Ounces Cash Produced Costs(1) Produced Costs(1) ————————————————————————- San Andres Mine 15,965 $ 758 34,090 $ 688 Sao Francisco Mine 12,877 $ 1,168 20,065 $ 1,040 Sao Vicente Mine 9,262 $ 1,292 18,118 $ 1,376 ————————————————————————- Total / Average 38,104 $ 1,027 72,273 $ 958 ————————————————————————- ————————————————————————- — Completed the dedicated waste stripping program at the Sao Francisco Mine which started in early December 2010 and allowed the mine to resume normal operations in April 2011 with a sustainable mine plan in place. Gold production at this location increased 79% in the second quarter of 2011 to 12,877 ounces and continued to increase in July to over 7,000 ounces; — Production at the Aranzazu Mine of 1,619,100 pounds of copper in the second quarter 2011, up 72% over the prior quarter. On-site average cash costs(1) were $3.28 per pound of payable copper, net of gold and silver credits, which represents a 33% decrease from the first quarter cash costs(1) but continues to reflect the processing of lower than expected ore tonnes due to water supply issues, lower than expected mill and equipment availability due to the shortage of skilled maintenance personnel, and the impact of processing partially oxidized material which reduces metal recoveries and concentrate grade; — Record quarterly sales of $68.8 million in the second quarter of 2011, an increase of 28% over the prior quarter, and comprising net gold sales of $58.9 million from 39,361 ounces and $9.9 million from the shipment of 3,504 dry metric tonnes (“DMT”) of copper concentrate; — Realized average price of gold sold of $1,512 per ounce for the second quarter, which compares to a market average price of $1,506 per ounce (London PM Fix); — Profit for the quarter of $1.2 million or $0.01 per share and adjusted profit(1) for the quarter of $2.6 million or $0.01 per share, after adjusting for write-downs of inventory, unrealized foreign exchange losses and other non-recurring revenue and expense items; — Awarded the feasibility study on the Serrote Deposit to
Tom Ogryzlo, a member of the Board, as Interim Chief Executive Officer (“CEO”) effective June 6, 2011. The search for permanent President and CEO is well advanced.
“The Company resumed normal operations at the Sao Francisco Mine in early April and since then the operation has exceeded our targets, with production steadily increasing in each month,” stated
Tom Ogryzlo, Interim CEO of
The following financial information does not constitute management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”) as contemplated by relevant securities rules and should be read in conjunction with the Company’s unaudited interim consolidated financial statements for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 and the annual audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2010 and the MD&A’s for the two periods, which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company’s profile or on the Company’s website.
The following table presents a summary of financial information for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 and 2010:
(In thousands of Three months Three months Six months Six months dollars, ended ended ended ended except per share June 30, June 30, June 30, June 30, amounts) 2011 2010 2011 2010 ————————————————————————- (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) (Unaudited) Sales $ 68,764 $ 38,576 $ 122,553 $ 58,367 Mine operating expenses (62,527) (28,085) (114,046) (39,017) ————————————————————————- Gross Profit 6,237 10,491 8,507 19,350 Expenses Exploration expenses (2,833) (6,599) (6,726) (11,691) General and administrative expenses (6,962) (10,449) (13,931) (16,682) Finance costs (1,034) (1,342) (2,323) (1,815) Interest and other income 74 173 239 277 Gain on restructuring of contractual obligations – – 17,009 – Other gains (losses) 1,282 (1,937) 2,111 463 ————————————————————————- Profit (loss) before income taxes (3,236) (9,663) 4,886 (10,098) Income tax recovery (expense), net 4,482 (3,731) 723 (4,641) ————————————————————————- Profit (loss) for the period $ 1,246 $ (13,394) $ 5,609 $ (14,739) ————————————————————————- Adjustments: Unrealized foreign exchange (gains) losses (2,944) 267 (2,965) 270 Other unrealized losses 365 – 1,077 – Gain on restructuring of contractual obligations – – (17,009) – Share-based payment expense 1,996 5,624 3,940 7,521 Write-down of inventory 1,914 – 5,035 – Non-recurring transaction costs – 1,414 – 2,711 ————————————————————————- Adjusted profit (loss)(1) for the period $ 2,577 $ (6,089) $ (4,313) $ (4,237) ————————————————————————- Basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share $ 0.01 $ (0.07) $ 0.03 $ (0.08) ————————————————————————- Adjusted earnings (loss)(1) per share $ 0.01 $ (0.03) $ (0.02) $ (0.02) ————————————————————————-
Gold ounces sold for the respective periods, the average realized prices per ounce and net sales are detailed in the following table. The average realized prices per ounce for the three months ended June 30, 2011 and 2010 compare to the average market prices (London PM Fix) of $1,506 and $1,197, respectively. The average realized prices per ounce for the six months ended June 30, 2011 and 2010 compare to the average market prices (London PM Fix) of $1,445 and $1,153, respectively.
Three months Three months Six months Six months ended ended ended ended June 30, June 30, June 30, June 30, 2011 2010(1) 2011 2010(1) ————————————————————————— San Andes Mine, (ounces) 18,845 18,474 37,309 36,508 Sao Francisco Mine, (ounces) 10,630 6,928 19,712 6,928 Sao Vicente Mine, (ounces) 9,886 6,622 19,852 6,622 ————————————————————————— Total ounces sold during Quarter 39,361 32,024 76,873 50,058 ————————————————————————— Realized average gold price per ounce in Quarter $ 1,512 $ 1,215 $ 1,452 $ 1,178 Gold sales revenues (in ‘000’s) net of local sales taxes $ 58,908 $ 38,576 $ 110,474 $ 58,367 Copper concentrate sales (in ‘000’s) $ 9,856 $ – $ 12,079 $ – ————————————————————————— Total net sales (in ‘000’s) $ 68,764 $ 38,576 $ 122,553 $ 58,367 ————————————————————————— (1) For the Sao Fransciso Mine and the Sao Vicente Mine, following the date of acquisition of the mines on April 30, 2010.
Copper concentrate sales in the above table comprised shipments for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 of 3,504 DMT and 4,744 DMT, respectively. Payable metal for the three months then ended includes 1,694,212 pounds of copper, 1,706 ounces of gold and 30,909 ounces of silver, and payable metal for the six months then ended includes 2,274,339 pounds of copper, 2,169 ounces of gold and 44,170 ounces of silver. Of the shipments made in the six months ended June 30, 2011, 367 DMT containing payable metal of 183,223 pounds of copper, 153 ounces of gold and 3,313 ounces of silver were sold in the period prior to the declaration of commercial production and were applied against the cost of property, plant and equipment. Accordingly, copper concentrate sales, net of treatment and refining charges, were $9.9 million and $12.1 million for the second quarter and year-to-date 2011, comprised as follows:
Three months Three months Six months Six months ended ended ended ended (In thousands of June 30, June 30, June 30, June 30, dollars) 2011 2010 2011 2010 ————————————————————————— Copper revenue, net of treatment and refining charges $ 5,828 $ – $ 8,033 $ – Gold by-product revenue 2,591 – 3,232 – Silver by-product revenue 1,142 – 1,564 – Price adjustments recorded 295 – 230 – ————————————————————————— Total revenue $ 9,856 $ – $ 13,059 $ – ————————————————————————— Less: pre- production revenue applied against property, plant and equipment cost – – (980) – ————————————————————————— Total revenue recorded in the statement of income $ 9,856 $ – $ 12,079 $ – —————————————————————————
For the three months ended June 30, 2011, the Company recorded total cost of goods sold of $62.5 million, of which $51.0 million related to gold sold and $11.5 million related to copper concentrate shipments. Total depletion and amortization charges included in second quarter cost of sales were $13.5 million.
Second quarter cost of goods sold on gold sales of $51.0 million included cash operating costs of $39.9 million or $1,014 per ounce, which included a write-down of $1.9 million, or $49 per ounce to bring production inventory to its net realizable value. Together with non-cash depletion and amortization charges for the quarter of $11.1 million or $282 per ounce, total cost of goods sold was $1,296 on a per gold ounce basis.
Second quarter cost of goods sold on copper concentrate shipments of $11.5 million included cash operating costs of $9.1 million or $2,608 per DMT of concentrate. Together with non-cash depletion and amortization for the period of $2.4 million or $684 per DMT, total cost of goods sold was $3,291 per DMT of copper concentrate.
Gross profit for the quarter ended June 30, 2011 was $6.2 million, which compares to a gross profit of $10.5 million for the second quarter of 2010.
Other expenses for the three months ended June 30, 2011 consisted of exploration expenses of $2.8 million and general and administrative expenses of $7.0 million which relate primarily to the running of the Company’s corporate offices in Canada and Brazil. For the three months ended June 30, 2011, such general and administrative costs included: salaries, wages and benefits of $2.6 million; non-cash share-based payment expense of $2.0 million; professional and consulting fees of $1.0 million; and general and administrative expenses of $582,000. The remaining $721,000 relates to other general expenditures, which include travel, directors’ fees, and investor relations and filing fees, totalling $491,000, and amortization expense of $230,000.
Finance costs for the quarter totalled $1.0 million and included interest paid on debt of $0.2 million and accretion expense on the Company’s asset retirement obligations and other long term liabilities of $0.8 million.
For the three months ended June 30, 2011, the Company recorded interest and other income of $74,000 on the Company’s cash deposits. The Company also recorded other net gains of $1.3 million, primarily comprised of foreign exchange gains of $1.2 million, an unrealized loss on the Company’s copper collar contracts of $0.4 million and gains of $0.8 million on the Company’s cash flow currency hedges which were settled in the quarter.
For the second quarter of 2011, the Company recorded an income tax recovery of $4.5 million, consisting of: a net recovery of $547,000 in current income taxes at the San Andres Mine as a result of the tax benefit of a successful application for the reduction in 2010 taxes payable received in the quarter, which offset second quarter’s current taxes; and $3.9 million in deferred income tax recovery.
For the three months ended June 30, 2011, the Company recorded a profit of $1.2 million or $0.01 per share. Adjusted earnings(1) for the second quarter was $2.6 million or $0.01 per share after adjusting for unrealized foreign exchange gains and losses, share-based payment expense, and other non-recurring revenue and expense items.
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As at June 30, 2011, the Company’s working capital was $62.8 million, including cash and cash equivalents of $19.5 million. In addition, the Company had $5 million available under the $25 million Credit Facility that was arranged in mid-March. The working capital increased from the previous quarter by $20.5 million, primarily as a result of the build-up of inventory at the Sao Francisco Mine following the resumption of normal operations in April 2011.
The Company’s ongoing liquidity needs will be funded from current cash resources, funds available under the Credit Facility, and operating cash flows. With production levels increasing at the San Andres Mine in the second half of 2011, following the resumption of normalized cyanide deliveries and the mining of a greater proportion of oxide ore, the Company expects strong cash flows from this unit. Similarly, the Company expects stronger cash flows from the Aranzazu Mine in the last half of the year as a result of: the mining of reduced oxide ore components; commissioning of the re-grind milling circuit and cleaner flotation circuits later in the third quarter; increasing concentrate grades; and increasing mill recoveries. Further, with the operational improvements made at the Sao Francisco Mine and a new mine plan based on higher head grades and increased production levels, the Company has started to realize stronger cash flows from this unit commencing late in the second quarter of 2011. As a result, based on the Company’s current expectations from its operating mines, combined with strong metal prices, the Company believes it is fully financed to achieve its near-term growth objectives. This includes the financing of the Serrote Deposit feasibility study, but not additional expenditures associated with the development and construction of the project. Nonetheless, the Company has recently taken steps to increase the Credit Facility up to $15 million and expects to finalize the increase in the third quarter of 2011.
Operational and Project Review
San Andres Mine
Production at the San Andres Mine in the second quarter was 15,965 ounces of gold, up 1% from the 15,739 ounces produced in the second quarter of 2010 and down 12% from the 18,125 ounces produced in the first quarter of 2011. Lower gold production in the quarter was primarily attributable to the higher proportion of low-recovery mixed ore than planned and cyanide supply constraints.
The table below sets out selected operating information for the San Andres Mine for the three and six months ended June 30, 2011 and 2010:
Operating Information Q2 2011 Q2 2010 YTD 2011 YTD 2010 ————————————————————————— Ore mined (tonnes) 1,103,500 1,059,100 2,416,600 2,276,800 Waste mined (tonnes) 530,200 199,700 816,500 232,100 Total mined (tonnes) 1,633,700 1,258,800 3,233,100 2,508,900 Waste-to-ore ratio 0.48 0.19 0.34 0.10 Ore plant feed (tonnes) 1,103,500 1,062,600 2,420,500 2,306,600 Grade (g/tonne) 0.77 0.73 0.78 0.75 Production (ounces) 15,965 15,739 34,090 35,038 Sales (ounces) 18,845 18,474 37,309 36,508 Average cash cost per ounce of gold produced(1) $ 758 $ 638 $ 688 $ 558 —————————————————————————
Operating cash costs(1) of $758 per ounce of gold produced in the second quarter of 2011 were approximately 21% higher than the prior quarter and 19% higher than in the second quarter of 2010. Increased cash costs(1) over the same quarter in 2010 are primarily a result of: the higher strip ratio in the second quarter of 2011; a lower recovery rate; and higher operating costs, which were partly due to increases in consumables required to treat mixed ore.
Sao Francisco Mine
Production at the Sao Francisco Mine in the second quarter was 12,877 ounces of gold, up 79% from the 7,188 ounces produced in the first quarter of 2011. Higher gold production in the quarter was attributable to the re-start of normal operations in early April, following the completion of the dedicated waste stripping program, the implementation of a new mine plan which involves higher ore head grades and higher ore movement capabilities, and the increased crushing and gravity circuit capacity in the plant as a result of the operational improvements.
The table below sets out selected operating information for the Sao Francisco Mine for the second quarter and year-to-date 2011 and 2010:
Operating Information Q2 2011 Q2 2010(2) YTD 2011 YTD 2010(2) ————————————————————————— Ore mined (tonnes) 972,600 833,800 1,038,500 833,800 Waste mined (tonnes) 2,865,100 2,314,300 2,865,100 2,314,300 Capitalized stripping program (tonnes) 792,500 – 6,072,200 – Total mined (tonnes) 4,630,200 3,148,100 9,975,800 3,148,100 Waste-to-ore ratio 3.76 2.78 8.61 2.78 Ore plant feed (tonnes)(3) 974,500 782,000 1,001,400 782,000 Grade (g/tonne) 0.77 0.46 0.76 0.46 Production (ounces) 12,877 10,931 20,065 10,931 Sales (ounces) 10,630 6,928 19,712 6,928 Average cash cost per ounce of gold produced(1) $ 1,168 $ 1,125 $ 1,040 $ 1,125 ————————————————————————— (1) See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures. (2) Q2 2010 results are included from the acquisition of the Sao Francisco Mine on April 30, 2010. (3) For Q2 2010, ore plant feed includes lower grade ore mined and stacked onto leach pads.
Ore and waste movements in the above table reflect the dedicated waste stripping program which commenced early in December 2010 and was completed in the second quarter of 2011. In total, 7.8 million tonnes of waste were moved (including 5.3 million and 0.8 million tonnes, respectively, in the first and second quarters of 2011) at a total cost of approximately $21.3 million. The dedicated stripping program allowed more higher grade ore to be accessed. As a result, during the second quarter of 2011, ore mined totaled 972,600 tonnes having an average grade of 0.77 g/tonne, which compares to average grades of 0.42 g/tonne for the period from May 1 to December 31, 2010.
Average operating cash costs(1) of gold produced during the quarter were $1,168 per ounce, which is comparable to the $1,125 per ounce recorded in the second quarter of 2010, despite inflation and cost escalation in the year, and an 11% strengthening of the Brazilian real from second quarter 2010 to second quarter 2011, as compared to the United States dollar. Significantly higher grades and operating efficiencies associated with the new mine plan and significantly improved crushing and processing capabilities in the plant offset the adverse impact of the stronger Brazilian currency.
Sao Vicente Mine
During the second quarter, gold production at the Sao Vicente Mine was 9,262 ounces, an increase of 5% over the prior quarter. Operating cash costs(1) for the second quarter were $1,292 per ounce of gold produced, as compared to a cash cost(1) of $1,464 per ounce in the first quarter of 2011 and $893 per ounce in the two-month period ended June 30, 2010. The 12% decrease over the prior quarter’s cash costs(1) primarily reflects the higher grades, lower strip ratio and the higher gold ounces produced, as well as the benefits of several operational improvements made since acquisition, offset by a further 4.6% strengthening of the Brazilian real during the second quarter relative to the United States dollar. The 45% increase over cash cost(1) per ounce recorded in the two-month period ended June 30, 2010 is a result of the strengthening of the Brazilian real over the year, in-country inflation and general cost escalation, as well as lower recoveries during the current quarter in 2011.
As with the Sao Francisco Mine, the Company’s focus for the Sao Vicente Mine has been operational improvements to increase productivity, improve overall gold recovery and lower cash operating costs. The Company is also conducting a definition and expansion drilling program to improve the mine planning and grade control and to increase the resource base. Based on this new drilling, a new block model is being prepared and will be available for evaluation purposes in the third quarter. Additionally, in the third quarter of 2011, the Company intends to critically examine the long-term mining and financial operations of the Sao Vicente Mine to best optimize the financial return.
The table below sets out selected operating information for the Sao Vicente Mine for the second quarter and year-to-date 2011 and 2010:
Operating Information Q2 2011 Q2 2010(2) YTD 2011 YTD 2010(2) ————————————————————————— Ore mined (tonnes) 881,800 562,900 1,683,500 562,900 Waste mined (tonnes) 1,576,100 1,070,000 3,162,000 1,070,000 Deferred stripping (tonnes) – – – – Total mined (tonnes) 2,457,900 1,632,900 4,845,500 1,632,900 Waste-to-ore ratio 1.79 1.90 1.88 1.90 Ore plant feed (tonnes) 846,900 581,000 1,631,600 581,000 Grade (g/tonne) 0.54 0.49 0.51 0.49 Production (ounces) 9,262 8,634 18,118 8,634 Sales (ounces) 9,886 6,622 19,852 6,622 Average cash cost per ounce of gold produced(1) $ 1,292 $ 893 $ 1,376 $ 893 ————————————————————————— (1) See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures. (2) For the second quarter and year-to-date 2010, results are included from the acquisition of the Sao Vicente Mine on April 30, 2010.
The table below sets out selected operating information for the Aranzazu Mine for the first and second quarters and year-to-date 2011:
Operating Information Q1 2011 Q2 2011 YTD 2011 ————————————————————————— Ore mined (tonnes) 105,600 159,200 264,800 Ore milled (tonnes) 126,100 175,100 301,200 Copper grade (%) 0.74% 0.92% 0.84% Gold grade (g/tonne) 0.30 0.56 0.45 Silver grade (g/tonne) 15.78 14.12 14.81 Copper recovery (1) 46.2% 54.0% 50.7% Gold recovery 50.7% 57.0% 54.4% Silver recovery 49.1% 44.5% 46.4% Concentrate Production: Copper concentrate produced (dry metric tonnes (“DMT”)): 1,728 2,830 4,558 Copper contained in concentrate (%) 24.8% 26.0% 25.5% Gold contained in concentrate (g/DMT) 12.4 18.9 16.4 Silver contained in concentrate (g/DMT) 538.8 337.02 413.5 Copper contained in concentrate (pounds) 942,900 1,619,100 2,562,000 Estimated payable copper produced (pounds) 892,700 1,536,500 2,429,200 Estimated payable gold produced (ounces) 601 1,574 2,176 Estimated payable silver produced (ounces) 27,023 25,984 53,007 Average cash cost per payable pound of copper produced, net of gold & silver credits (2), (3) $4.87 $3.28 $3.75 ————————————————————————— (1) Recoveries based on mixture of sulphide and oxide ores, not primary sulphide ore. (2) See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures. (3) Q1-2011 and year to date 2011 cash cost of payable copper produced from February 1, 2010.
For the second quarter of 2011, 159,200 tonnes of open pit and underground ore were mined, an increase of 51% over the first quarter. This mine production was supplemented by additional tonnage from the historic, high-grade gold ore material in the “Jaime” stockpile, to make up the 175,100 tonnes processed through the mill. As a result, mill throughput increased 39% over the first quarter. However, mill throughput continued to be impacted by lower than expected mill and equipment availability due to the shortage of skilled maintenance personnel. Certain of these problems were overcome and ore throughput rates had risen steadily in the second quarter and reached 2,200 – 2,400 tonnes per day by mid-May. The Company has taken measures to correct these maintenance issues by stocking more critical spare parts, bringing in a more experienced maintenance manager and increasing training. A well experienced mine manager has also been contracted to improve mine production.
The processing of a higher than planned proportion of oxidized material during the second quarter also had a negative impact on metal recoveries and concentrate grade. The mine plan for 2011 includes a combination of both open pit and underground mining and the Company expects to continue mining mixed oxide / sulphide ore in 2011, albeit with oxide components reducing steadily over the last half of the year. Since the end of May, the Company has been mining a higher proportion of sulphide ore which has resulted in improved copper recovery.
Subsequent to quarter-end, the Aranzazu Mine was impacted by a water shortage due to the caving of a portion of the main supply well which caused a water pump to be wedged in the well approximately 175 metres below surface. As a result, the operation averaged one-third milling capacity for approximately 16 days during July. The pump was extracted and the well has since been cased with 12-inch diameter steel pipe. The well is now secure and fully operational. The Aranzazu Mine plans to permit and drill a back-up well in the near future to avoid recurrence of this event. The average head grades of the ore processed during the second quarter were 0.92% copper, 0.56 g/tonne gold and 14.12 g/tonne silver, representing an increase of 24% and 86% in copper and gold grades, respectively, and an 11% decrease in silver grade. Similarly, second quarter recoveries increased to 54.0% and 57.0% for copper and gold, respectively, from 46.2% and 50.7%, but silver recoveries decreased from 49.1% to 44.5%. As a result, the Aranzazu Mine produced 2,830 DMT of copper concentrate in the second quarter, containing 1,619,100 pounds of copper (1,536,500 pounds of payable copper). Concentrate tonnes produced increased by 64% over the first quarter and metal content increased by 72% over the first quarter, which is a result of a 26.0% copper concentrate grade in the second quarter as compared to 24.8% in the prior quarter. As previously indicated, upon final commissioning of the re-grind milling circuit and cleaner flotation circuits later in the third quarter, together with the steady state processing of primary sulphide ore, concentrate grades are expected to increase to between 28% and 30%.
The lower production levels during the restart of operations had an adverse impact on cash costs(1) per pound of copper, which averaged $4.87 per payable pound of copper in the post-commissioning period from February 1 to March 31, 2011. The increases in mine production, mill throughput, copper and gold grades, mill recoveries, and concentrate production and grades, resulted in second quarter cash costs(1) decreasing to $3.28 per payable pound of copper. This represents a 33% decrease from the first quarter and as the Aranzazu Mine moves toward achieving mill design throughput levels the Company expects cash cost(1) per payable pound to continue to decrease.
Based on the encouraging exploration results both at depth and along strike, the Company will initiate a study to look at alternatives to significantly expand the mine and processing rate of ore. Together with the extensive surface and underground drill program mentioned above, this work will include all necessary geotechnical and engineering studies. Based on the continuity of mineralized intersections and favourable ground conditions, the Company believes that the deposit is suited to a low cost bulk mining scenario such as sub-level caving and long-hole stoping.
Since taking over the Aranzazu Mine in June 2008, the Company has completed 183,166 metres of drilling.
The feasibility study will focus on developing the Serrote Deposit as an open pit mine that will supply sulphide ore to a concentrator at a rate of 12 million tonnes per year, producing copper in concentrate with gold credits, as well as an iron in magnetite concentrate. With all critical permits in place, and with the excellent infrastructure in the vicinity of the project, the Company expects to commence negotiations for project financing and development during 2012, with a construction decision to follow later that year.
The price of commodities, namely gold and copper, is one of the largest factors affecting
In the first half of 2011, gold prices continued with their upward trend rising from just above $1,400 per ounce at the start of the year to slightly over $1,500 per ounce by the end of the second quarter. Gold prices remain well-supported in light of continued concerns over the
The price of copper trended lower in the first and second quarters of 2011, falling 5% from the price level at December 31, 2010 to $4.22 per pound by June 30, 2011. Since the end of the second quarter, the copper price has been volatile, trading in the $3.93 – $4.45 per pound range. The main contributor to this volatility since the end of June is concern over the slowing world economy against a backdrop of demand for copper from the emerging markets, particularly China.
For the San Andres Mine, the Company now expects 2011 production guidance of between 68,000 and 72,000 ounces of gold with cash costs(1) in the higher end of the previously guided range of $700 – $750 per ounce. The reduced guidance is primarily a result of the higher-than-normal percentage of mixed ore which has a lower recovery, disruptions in cyanide deliveries encountered from May through June, and lower levels of ore mined. The Company is working with its mine contractor to address productivity targets and with its main cyanide supplier to ensure adequate deliveries to treat the greater proportion of mixed ore and to catch-up on the delayed leaching of stacked ore arising from the cyanide supply disruption experienced in the second quarter. Subsequent to the end of the second quarter, the government of Honduras passed a new tax law, including new taxes on revenues. The most significant of the new taxes to the Company is a 5% security tax on the San Andres Mine’s export revenues, which is effective from July 8, 2011, the date the new law was passed. The Company is currently in discussions with government agencies in Honduras regarding these significant new taxes and the impact on the Company’s operations and the mining industry in Honduras.
For the Sao Francisco Mine, the Company has raised its 2011 production guidance to between 60,000 – 65,000 ounces of gold from its previous guidance of between 55,000 – 60,000 ounces of gold. Upon the resumption of normal mining operations early in the second quarter, the Sao Francisco Mine has exceeded its short-term production targets. The Company expects gold production will ramp up in the last half of 2011 as head grades improve from the mining of higher-grade benches and from greater ore movement as the mining contractor deploys more equipment and operational crews beginning in the third quarter of 2011. The combination of better head grades and greater tonnage throughput are expected to result in significant improvements in gold production and cash costs(1) in future years. By mid-2012, the Company anticipates that annual production will reach 100,000 ounces of gold per year at estimated cash costs(1) of between $900 – $1,000 per ounce. For the current year, however, taking into consideration the second-quarter re-start and lower initial head grades, the Company’s full year cash cost(1) is expected to average between $1,100 – $1,200 per ounce. Lower cash cost(1) resulting from higher production on improving head grades will be partially offset by the expected stronger Brazilian real currency in the last half of 2011.
At the Sao Vicente Mine, profitability is being threatened by the rising Brazilian real currency which has appreciated significantly against the US dollar since the start of 2011 and has eroded cost saving benefits from operational improvements implemented by the Company. This pressure on profit margins has been mitigated by a rising gold price in the first half of 2011. In the third quarter of 2011, the Company intends to critically examine the long-term mining and financial operations of the Sao Vicente Mine in order to best optimize the financial return to the Company. For 2011, the Company maintains its annual production guidance of between 42,000 – 45,000 ounces of gold at estimated cash costs(1) of between $1,250 – $1,350 per ounce.
Estimated 2011 gold production guidance per mine, with the restart of normal operations at the Sao Francisco Mine in early April, is summarized in the table below:
Gold Production Estimates ———————————————————— San Andres Mine 68,000 – 72,000 oz Sao Francisco Mine 60,000 – 65,000 oz Sao Vicente Mine 42,000 – 45,000 oz ———————————————————— Total 170,000 – 182,000 oz ————————————————————
At the Aranzazu Mine, the processing of a higher than expected proportion of oxidized ore continues to impact metal recoveries and concentrate grades. The transition to more primary sulphide ore and less oxide material will allow the Aranzazu Mine to improve copper recoveries and sustain design tonnages. During the quarter, the Company saw significant improvements in mining and processing rates, copper head grades, process recoveries, concentrate grades, and production levels, as well as significantly lower cash costs(1).
Due to the water shortage caused by the caving of a portion of the main supply well in July and the continued processing of oxidized ore, the Company has revised its 2011 production guidance to between 9-10 million pounds of copper, and 6,000 – 8,000 ounces of gold and 130,000 – 140,000 ounces of silver. Cash costs(1) are expected to continue to decrease as production increases quarter by quarter and are estimated at $1.25 – 1.50 per payable pound of copper, net of by-product credits from gold and silver, once steady state production is achieved.
Total capital expenditure guidance for the balance of 2011 is approximately $15.3 million, of which $7.3 million relates to underground development and machinery and equipment at the Aranzazu Mine, $1.0 million relates to the Sao Francisco Mine, $3.5 million to the Sao Vicente Mine and $3.5 million to the San Andres Mine. Exploration expenses are forecast to be approximately $5.0 million for the balance of 2011, which primarily includes $0.7 million at the Aranzazu Mine and approximately $4.0 million on the Serrote Deposit feasibility study.
The Company believes that the commodity price environment and prospects for its business remain favourable and that the asset base will commence generating positive operating cash flows in the second half of 2011.
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This news release includes certain non-GAAP performance measures, in particular, the total cash costs of gold per ounce, and adjusted profit or loss and adjusted profit or loss per share. These non-GAAP measures do not have any standardized meaning within International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. The Company believes that this information is useful to management and certain investors in evaluating the Company’s performance. The data presented is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. Cash costs are presented as they represent an industry standard method of comparing certain costs on a per unit basis. Total cash costs include on-site mining, processing and, administration costs, off-site refining and royalty charges, reduced by by-product credits, but exclude amortization, reclamation, and exploration costs, as well as capital expenditures. Total cash costs are divided by ounces to arrive at per ounce cash costs. Adjusted profit or loss and adjusted profit or loss per share are calculated by taking the Company’s net profit or loss, excluding (a) non-recurring revenue and expense items; (b) share-based payment expense; (c) unrealized foreign exchange gains and losses; (d) unrealized gains and losses on derivative financial instruments; and (e) impairment losses.
(1) See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statement:
This news release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation. Except for statements of historical fact relating to the Company, information contained herein constitutes forward-looking statements, including any information as to the Company’s strategy, plans or future financial or operating performance. Forward-looking statements are characterized by words such as “plan,” “expect”, “budget”, “target”, “project”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “estimate” and other similar words, or statements that certain events or conditions “may” or “will” occur. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions, assumptions and estimates of management considered reasonable at the date the statements are made, and are inherently subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other known and unknown factors that could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, the impact of general business and economic conditions, global liquidity and credit availability on the timing of cash flows and the values of assets and liabilities based on projected future conditions, fluctuating metal prices (such as gold, copper, silver, nickel and iron ore), currency exchange rates (such as the Canadian dollar, Brazilian Real,
Mexican Peso and the Honduran Lempira versus the United States dollar), possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates, changes in accounting policies, changes in the Company’s corporate resources, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, changes in project development and production time frames, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, higher prices for fuel, steel, power, labour and other consumables contributing to higher costs and general risks of the mining industry, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, unexpected changes in mine life, final pricing for concentrate sales, unanticipated results of future studies, seasonality and unanticipated weather changes, costs and timing of the development of new deposits, success of exploration activities, successful completion of proposed acquisitions, permitting time lines, government regulation of mining operations, environmental risks, unanticipated reclamation expenses, title disputes or claims, limitations on insurance coverage and timing and possible outcome of pending litigation and labour disputes, as well as those risk factors discussed or referred to in the Company’s Annual Information Form, dated March 30, 2011, under the heading “Item 4 – Risk Factors”. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements if circumstances or management’s estimates, assumptions or opinions should change, except as required by applicable law. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The forward-looking information contained herein is presented for the purpose of assisting investors in understanding the Company’s expected financial and operational performance and results as at and for the periods ended on the dates presented in the Company’s plans and objectives and may not be appropriate for other purposes.