TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - May 13, 2013) - Aura Minerals Inc. ("Aura Minerals" or the "Company") (ORA.TO) announces financial and operating results for the first quarter of 2013.
This release does not constitute management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A") as contemplated by applicable securities laws and should be read in conjunction with the MD&A and the Company's condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2013, which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website.
- Highest gold ounce ("oz") production in Aura's history achieved in the first quarter of 2013, which was 34% higher as compared to the first quarter of 2012;
- Net sales revenues in the first quarter of 2013 increased 17% over the first quarter of 2012;
- Copper concentrate sales are from the shipment of 5,370 dry metric tonnes ("DMT") and 5,396 DMT of copper concentrate for the quarters ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively;
- Copper production at Aranzazu for the first quarter of 2013 was in line with management's expectations at 3,005,000 pounds. On-site average cash cost1 per pound of payable copper produced, net of gold and silver credits was $3.69 for the first quarter of 2013, including $0.57 in respect of Arsenic related charges and penalties;
- Gross margin of $(7.2) million and $(10.5) for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, respectively;
- Loss of $10.9 million or $0.05 per share for the first quarter of 2013 compared to a loss of $18.7 million or $0.08 per share for the first quarter of 2012;
- Cash flows from operating activities of $16.1 million for the first quarter of 2013 compared to $20.6 million for the first quarter of 2012;
- The Company was not in compliance with its revolving credit facility's financial covenant at March 31, 2013 and is in negotiations with its Lenders to obtain a waiver or a forbearance; and
- Subsequent to quarter end, received R$20.6 million (approximately $10.3 million) in additional preliminary bridge financing for Serrote development.
Jim Bannantine, the Company's President and Chief Executive Officer stated, "Over the past year and a half, we have focused on achieving cost-efficient improvements to our existing operations while continuing to focus on our expansion plans at Aranzazu and the development of the Serrote Project. As a result of this effort, this quarter shows an overall improvement in throughput and production at our operations and the highest quarterly gold production in the Company's history. Aranzazu is producing to expectations with a substantially reduced Arsenic content, and the Company has generated a strong cash flow from operations.
As we move into Aranzazu's expansion phase including the installation of the partial roasting facility, it is currently anticipated that major equipment purchases for this phase will commence in the middle of this year. The Serrote Project continues to be under budget and negotiations for long-term financing are progressing. We are exploring our value maximization options with respect to all the Brazilian Projects in addition to a number of corporate financing alternatives.
I'd also like to announce that Ian Stalker decided not to stand for re-election to the Board of Directors at the Company's annual general meeting on May 10th to focus on his other endeavours. Management and the Board wish to thank Ian for his valuable contributions and dedication to the development of the Company during his tenure as a director."
Production and Cash Costs
The Company's production and cash costs for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 are summarized in the table below:
|For the three months ended||For the three months ended|
|March 31, 2013||March 31, 2012|
|Oz Produced||Cash Costs1||Oz Produced||Cash Costs1|
|Total / Average||50,414||$||1,279||37,587||$||1,758|
Gold production at San Andres in the first quarter 2013 increased 17% over the comparable period due to higher plant feed. Average cash cost per oz of gold produced1 in the first quarter of 2013 decreased 1% over the first quarter of 2012.
Gold production at Sao Francisco in the first quarter of 2013 was 67% higher than the first quarter of 2012 due to both the higher plant throughput and recovery of additional gold from the staged leach on the heap quarter on quarter, as well as the first quarter of 2012's production being impacted by a structural failure of the primary crusher feed bin in February 2012, which resulted in Sao Francisco not having use of the primary crusher for 47 days. The crushing system at Sao Francisco has performed well since it was repaired and stockpile management policies have resulted in sufficient ore feed being fed to the plant during the rainy season which is now over. Average cash cost per oz of gold produced2 in the first quarter of 2013 was 45% lower than the first quarter of 2012. The higher average cash cost per oz of gold produced in the first quarter of 2012 was primarily due to lower volumes caused by the structural failure of the primary crusher during that period.
During the first quarter of 2013 at Sao Vicente, 2% more gold oz was produced compared to the first quarter of 2012. The average cash cost per oz of gold produced1 in the first quarter of 2013 was 9% lower than the average cash cost1 in the first quarter of 2012. Sao Vicente implemented revised stockpile management plans which have mitigated the effect of the heavy rainy season.
At Aranzazu, the 4% decrease in copper grades for the three months ended March 31, 2013 compared to the three months ended March 31, 2012 was primarily due to the blending of ore from four distinct zones to reduce the arsenic feed grades. Copper concentrate production decreased by 10% in the first quarter of 2013 as compared to the first quarter of 2012 and the copper recovery increased by 5%.
Average cash cost per payable pound of copper produced1 for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased by 50% as compared to the three months ended March 31, 2012. Average cash cost per payable pound of copper produced1 decreased to $3.69 from the fourth quarter of 2012 of $5.42 due to higher production volumes and lower penalties and charges related to the improvement in the concentrate quality. The impact on the first quarter of 2013's average cash cost1 as a result of arsenic related charges and penalties is estimated to be $0.57 per payable pound of copper as compared to the fourth quarter of 2012's $1.21 per payable pound of copper.
Brazilian Assets - Value Maximization
The Company has been investigating multiple options to maximize the disposal and closure value of the assets of the Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente mines, including selling the plant and equipment and utilizing key members of their operating teams in other group locations. The Company is also considering multiple options to maximize the value of Serrote including, but not limited to, a disposal of either a majority holding or the entire project.
Revenues and Cost of Goods Sold
Revenue for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 was $88,585,000 and $75,596,000, respectively. The Company's revenue for the first quarter 2013 is comprised of sales of gold from the Company's gold mines of $78,541,000 and copper concentrate sales from Aranzazu of $10,044,000 compared to $61,618,000 from the gold mines and $13,978,000 from Aranzazu for the first quarter of 2012.
Revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2013 increased 17% compared to the three months ended March 31, 2012. The increase in revenues resulted from a 27% increase in gold sales partially offset by a 28% decrease in copper concentrate sales.
The increase in gold sales is mainly attributable to a 31% increase oz sold partially offset by a 3% decrease in the realized average gold price per oz.
The decrease in copper concentrate sales is fully attributable to the decrease in realized revenue per DMT of copper concentrate as the DMT sold were consistent quarter over quarter. Total revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2013 at Aranzazu related to the shipment of 5,370 DMT of copper concentrate compared to 5,396 DMT of copper concentrate for the prior comparable period. Total concentrate shipment revenues for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 were $1,870 per DMT and $2,590 per DMT, respectively. The lower concentrate shipment revenue per DMT is due to lower copper prices and the arsenic penalties incurred starting in the second quarter of 2012.
At San Andres, for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, total cost of goods sold was $20,721,000 or $1,456 per oz compared to $17,160,000 or $1,354 per oz, respectively. For the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012, cash operating costs were $1,189 per oz and $1,116 per oz, respectively, while non-cash depletion and amortization charges were $266 per oz and $237 per oz, respectively.
At the Brazilian Mines, total cost of goods sold for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 were $62,028,000 or $1,794 per oz and $56,878,000 or $2,317 per oz, respectively. Cash operating costs for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 were $1,404 per oz and $2,017 per oz, respectively, while non- cash depletion and amortization charges were $390 per oz and $300 per oz, respectively. The three months ended March 31, 2013 included a write-down of $3,194,000 or $92 per oz to bring production inventory to its net realizable value (2012: $13,422,000 or $547 per ounce).
At Aranzazu, total cost of goods sold for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 were $13,031,000 or $2,427 per DMT and $12,090,000 or $2,241 per DMT, respectively. Cash operating costs for the three months ended March 31, 2013 and 2012 were $2,034 per DMT and $1,797 per DMT, respectively, while non- cash depletion and amortization charges were $393 per DMT and $444 per DMT, respectively. The three months ended March 31, 2013 included a write-down of $1,024,000 or $191 per DMT to bring production inventory to its net realizable value (2012: $918,000 or $170 per DMT of concentrate).
Other expense items for the first quarter of 2013 include general and administrative expenses of $3,466,000 (2012: $6,268,000) and exploration expenses of $676,000 (2012: $3,865,000). The first quarter 2012 exploration primarily consisted of expenditures at the Serrote Project and the Aranzazu PEA.
Additionally, for the first quarter of 2013, the Company recorded finance costs of $1,664,000 (2012: $872,000), interest and other income of $120,000 (2012: expense of $19,000), and other gains of $1,817,000 (2012: $4,913,000). Loss before income taxes for the first quarter of 2013 was $11,164,000 (2012: $16,643,000).
For the quarter ended March 31, 2013, the Company recorded income tax recovery of $226,000 (2012: expense of $2,040,000) comprising a current income tax expense of $1,034,000 (2012: $1,353,000) relating to the San Andres Mine, offset by a future income tax recovery of $1,260,000 (2012: $687,000).
For the first quarter of 2013, the Company recorded a loss of $10,938,000 or $0.05 per share. This compares to a loss of $18,683,000 or $0.08 per share for the first quarter 2012.
Outlook and Strategy
Aura Minerals' future profitability, operating cash flows and financial position will be closely related to the prevailing prices of gold and copper. Key factors influencing the price of gold and copper include the supply of and demand for these commodities, the relative strength of currencies (particularly the U.S. dollar) and macroeconomic factors such as current and future expectations for inflation and interest rates. Management believes that the short-to-medium term economic environment is likely to remain relatively supportive for both gold and copper prices but with continued volatility for both commodities. In order to decrease risks associated with gold price volatility the Company will evaluate entering into additional hedging programs.
Other key factors influencing profitability and operating cash flows are production levels (impacted by grades, ore quantities, labour, plant and equipment availabilities, and process recoveries) and production and processing costs (impacted by production levels, prices and usage of key consumables, labour, inflation, and exchange rates).
Aura Minerals' production and cash cost per oz guidance for the 2013 year has not changed from previous guidance and is as follows:
|Gold Mines||Cash Cost per oz||2013 Production|
|San Andres||$1,000 - $1,150||60,000 - 65,000 oz|
|Sao Francisco||$1,100 - $1,250||78,000 - 88,000 oz|
|Sao Vicente||$950 - $1,100||28,000 - 32,000 oz|
|Total||$1,050 - $1,200||166,000 - 185,000 oz|
Aranzazu's production for 2013 is expected to be between 13,000,000 and 15,000,000 pounds of copper at a revised range of $2.90 to $3.40 average cash cost per payable pound of copper.
With respect to the Company's gold operations, the first quarter 2013 results were in line with the Company's expectation that the first two quarters of 2013 would have higher cash costs. The Company expects to meet the previously reported annual guidance and it is anticipated that the cash costs per ounce over the remainder of the 2013 year will be at the lower end of the guidance range provided above.
For the remainder of 2013, total capital spending is expected to be $43 million. This amount relates to growth and sustaining capital for existing mines - including $36 million on the Aranzazu expansion and roaster installation and $5 million on completing Phase V of the heap leach expansion and community expenditures at San Andres. These capital expenditures are expected to be funded by a combination of internal cash flows and external financing and may be delayed if financing is not obtained; The Company has also delayed previously planned development expenditures at Serrote until the bridge loan financing is completed.
Aura Minerals' management will host a conference call and audio webcast for analysts and investors on Tuesday, May 14, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) to review the first quarter 2013 results. Participants may access the call by dialing 416-340-8530 or the toll-free access at 1-888-340-9642. Participants are encouraged to call in 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to avoid delays.
The call is being webcast and can be accessed at Aura Minerals' website at www.auraminerals.com. Those who wish to listen to a recording of the conference call at a later time may do so by dialing 905-694-9451 or 1- 800-408-3053 (Passcode 6892960#). The conference call replay will be available from 2:00 p.m. on May 14, 2013, until 11:59 p.m. (EST) on May 28, 2013.
This news release includes certain non-GAAP performance measures, in particular, the average cash cost of gold per oz, average cash cost per payable pound of copper and operating cash flow which are non-GAAP performance measures. These non-GAAP measures do not have any standardized meaning within IFRS and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. The Company believes that these measures provide investors with additional information which is useful in evaluating the Company's performance and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.
Average cash costs per oz of gold or per payable pound of copper are presented as they represent an industry standard method of comparing certain costs on a per unit basis. Total cash costs of gold produced include on- site mining, processing and administration costs, off-site refining and royalty charges, reduced by silver by- product credits, but exclude amortization, reclamation, and exploration costs, as well as capital expenditures.
Total cash costs of gold produced are divided by oz produced to arrive at per oz cash costs. Similarly, total cash costs of copper produced include the above costs, and are net of gold and silver by-products, but include offsite treatment and refining charges. Total cash costs of copper produced are divided by payable pounds of copper produced to arrive at per payable pound cash costs.
Operating cash flow is the term the Company uses to describe the cash that is generated from operations excluding depletion and amortization, stock based compensation, impairment charges and the effect of changes in working capital.
About Aura Minerals Inc.
Aura Minerals is a Canadian mid-tier gold and copper production company focused on the development and operation of gold and base metal projects in the Americas. The Company's producing assets include the San Andres gold mine in Honduras, the Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente gold mines in Brazil and the copper-gold- silver Aranzazu mine in Mexico. The Company's core development asset is the copper-gold-iron Serrote project in Brazil. Activities to date on the Serrote project include detailed negotiations for debt and equity financing, a geotechnical drill program, the engineering has been awarded and the Company has commenced advancing with early procurement.
For further information, please visit Aura Minerals' web site at www.auraminerals.com.
National Instrument 43-101 Compliance
Unless otherwise indicated, Aura Minerals has prepared the technical information in this press release ("Technical Information") based on information contained in the technical reports and news releases (collectively the "Disclosure Documents") available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Each Disclosure Document was prepared by or under the supervision of a qualified person (a "Qualified Person") as defined in National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"). Readers are encouraged to review the full text of the Disclosure Documents which qualifies the Technical Information. Readers are advised that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The Disclosure Documents are each intended to be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon out of context. The Technical Information is subject to the assumptions and qualifications contained in the Disclosure Documents. The disclosure of Technical Information in this MD&A has been reviewed and approved by Bruce Butcher, P. Eng., Vice President, Technical Services.
This news release contains certain "forward-looking information" and "forward-looking statements", as defined in applicable securities laws (collectively, "forward-looking statements"). All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect the Company's current estimates, predictions, expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, without limitation, statements with respect to: the amount of mineral reserves and mineral resources; the amount of future production over any period; the amount of waste tonnes mined; the amount of mining and haulage costs; cash costs; operating costs; strip ratios and mining rates; expected grades and ounces of metals and minerals; expected processing recoveries; expected time frames; prices of metals and minerals; mine life; and gold hedge programs. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "projects", "estimates", "assumes", "intends", "strategy", "goals", "objectives" or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions.
Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Forward-looking statements in this news release and related MD&A are based upon, without limitation, the following estimates and assumptions: the presence of and continuity of metals at the Company's Mines at modeled grades; the capacities of various machinery and equipment; the availability of personnel, machinery and equipment at estimated prices; exchange rates; metals and minerals sales prices; appropriate discount rates; tax rates and royalty rates applicable to the mining operations; cash costs; anticipated mining losses and dilution; metals recovery rates, reasonable contingency requirements; and receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms.
Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond the Company's ability to predict or control could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Specific reference is made to the most recent Annual Information Form on file with certain Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities for a discussion of some of the factors underlying forward- looking statements, which include, without limitation, gold and copper or certain other commodity price volatility, changes in debt and equity markets, the uncertainties involved in interpreting geological data, increases in costs, environmental compliance and changes in environmental legislation and regulation, interest rate and exchange rate fluctuations, general economic conditions and other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect the forward-looking statements.
All forward-looking statements herein are qualified by this cautionary statement. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information or future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law. If the Company does update one or more forward- looking statements, no inference should be drawn that it will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.