Gran Colombia Gold Corp. (TSX: GCM) (OTCQX: TPRFF) announced the release of its audited consolidated financial statements and accompanying management’s discussion and analysis for the year ended December 31, 2019. All financial figures contained herein are expressed in U.S. dollars (“USD”) unless otherwise noted.
Serafino Iacono, Executive Chairman of Gran Colombia, commenting on the Company’s results for 2019, said, “We had a very solid year in 2019 with record production and new highs for revenue, adjusted EBITDA, free cash flow and adjusted earnings that helped us to significantly strengthen our balance sheet. Our market capitalization has responded and we were delighted to be acknowledged in the TSX30 and the OTCQX Best 50 based on our share price performance. We are excited about the new company, Caldas Gold, and the opportunity for value creation that lies ahead with the expansion on the underground mining operations at Marmato. Today we have also announced an update on our mineral resources and reserves at Segovia and we are pleased to report that we have not only replaced the mineral resources and reserves we mined last year, but our drilling programs have given us several high priority targets we will be following up in our 2020 drilling program to add more reserves and mine life at this high-grade operation. We are continuing to monitor developments in the battle against COVID-19 and we are adapting our response plan as new information becomes available almost daily. Keeping our workers and their families healthy is our number one priority. We are fortunate that we have been able to continue operating at this time and we will provide updates on our progress. We are also working with our social foundation partners to provide food and aid to the local communities in which we operate. On behalf of the Board and management, I would like to thank all of our workers for adapting to the required protocols during this very difficult time.”
Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Highlights
As previously announced, Gran Colombia set new quarterly and annual records for gold production in 2019 with 65,237 ounces produced in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 18% over the fourth quarter of 2018, and total annual production for 2019 of 239,991 ounces, up 10% over last year, reaching the upper end of our guidance.
Revenue amounted to $88.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, up 30% over the fourth quarter last year, getting a boost from the 21% increase in spot gold prices. For 2019, production growth, the higher spot gold and silver prices and the reduction in refining charges all combined to increase annual revenue to $326.5 million, up 22% over last year.
Total cash costs (1) per ounce averaged $685 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with $698 per ounce in the fourth quarter last year, reflecting a reduction in Segovia’s total cash cost to $607 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2019 from $623 per ounce in the fourth quarter last year. In 2019, the Company’s total cash costs decreased to $661 per ounce from $680 per ounce in 2018.
All-in sustaining costs (1) and All-in costs (1) of $1,003 per ounce and $1,048 per ounce, respectively, in the fourth quarter of 2019 reflected increased levels of capital and exploration spending and arbitration-related costs in G&A, compared with $934 per ounce and $951 per ounce, respectively, in the fourth quarter last year. For 2019, AISC and All-in costs per ounce were $916 and $946 per ounce, respectively, compared with $919 and $930, respectively, last year. For 2019, the Company met its guidance with AISC and All-in costs for the full year below $925 per ounce and $950 per ounce, respectively.
The Company reported adjusted EBITDA (1) of $40.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2019, up 71% over the fourth quarter last year, bringing the total for 2019 to $146.7 million, up 43% over 2018.
Net cash provided by operating activities in the fourth quarter of 2019 of $34.6 million brought the total for 2019 to $103.3 million, up 30% over last year. The Company’s Free Cash Flow (1) in the fourth quarter of 2019 of $22.0 million brought the total for 2019 to $60.6 million, up 38% over last year.
The Company’s balance sheet continued to benefit from 2019’s operating and financial performance and the private placements of Convertible Debentures in April and common shares and warrants in November, increasing cash and cash equivalents to $84.2 million at December 31, 2019 from $35.6 million at the end of 2018. At the end of 2019, the aggregate principal amount of Gold Notes issued and outstanding had been reduced through four quarterly repayments in 2019 to $68.8 million, down from $88.3 million at the end of 2018, and the Convertible Debentures stood at CA$20 million.
Eric Sprott acquired an 11.24% equity interest in Gran Colombia through his participation in two private placements over the last five months. In November 2019, the Company closed a CA$15 million non-brokered private placement (the “2019 Private Placement”) resulting in the issuance of approximately 3.3 million common shares and 3.3 million common share purchase warrants exercisable at CA$5.40 per share expiring November 5, 2023. In February 2020, Gran Colombia completed a CA$40 million non-brokered private placement (the “2020 Private Placement”) resulting in the issuance of approximately 7.1 million common shares and 7.1 million common share purchase warrants exercisable at CA$6.50 per share expiring February 6, 2023.
The Company completed the spin-out of its Marmato Mining Assets through a reverse takeover transaction. The resulting issuer, named Caldas Gold Corp. commenced trading on the TSXV on February 28, 2020 under the symbol “CGC”.
As of March 27, 2020, the total issued and outstanding common shares of the Company is 60.8 million and after inclusion of stock options, warrants and the Convertible Debentures, the Company’s fully diluted common shares would total approximately 88.7 million.
On March 31, 2020, using a portion of the cash from the 2020 Private Placement, the Company is redeeming 30% of the aggregate principal amount of its Gold Notes at approximately 110% of the principal amount being redeemed, reducing the issued and outstanding balance to $44.7 million.
The Company reported a net loss for the fourth quarter of 2019 of $148.8 million ($2.86 per share) compared with net income of $8.0 million ($0.17 per share) in the fourth quarter last year. The fourth quarter 2019 net loss includes an after-tax impairment charge of $153.6 million associated with the Company’s exploration and evaluation assets in Zona Alta and Echandia at the Marmato Project. For 2019, the net loss amounted to $131.2 million ($2.65 per share) compared with a net loss of $3.4 million ($0.10 per share) last year.
Adjusted net income (1) for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $17.1 million ($0.33 per share), up from $14.5 million ($0.30 per share) in the fourth quarter last year. For 2019, adjusted net income amounted to $60.5 million ($1.22 per share) compared with $42.5 million ($1.23 per share) in last year. The year-over-year increase in 2019’s adjusted net income largely reflects the positive impact of Segovia’s production growth, the increase in realized gold prices and the reduction in total cash costs per ounce sold on income from operations in 2019, net of an associated increase in income tax expense.
The Company’s drilling program at Segovia is continuing to provide encouraging results, reaffirming confidence in the high grade nature of the Segovia gold deposits and replacing Mineral Reserves and Resourced mined in 2019. The updated Mineral Resource estimate as of December 31, 2019 comprises 3.6 million tonnes at a grade of 11.7 g/t totalling 1.36 million ounces of gold in Measured and Indicated Resources, up 2% from last year. Inferred Resources increased to 4.1 million tonnes at a grade of 9.6 g/t totalling 1.27 million ounces of gold, up 9% compared to last year. The Company also reported an updated Mineral Reserve for Segovia with a total of 2.0 million tonnes at an average grade of 10.5 g/t representing 670,000 proven and probable ounces of gold as of December 31, 2019.
In October 2019, the Company completed the acquisition of a 19.89% equity investment in Western Atlas Resources Inc. and in December 2019, the Company acquired a $5 million convertible debenture in Gold X Mining Corp. to help fund Gold X Mining to exercise its option to purchase 100% of the interest in the Toroparu Project in Guyana.
Selected Financial Information
|Gold produced (ounces)||65,237||55,260||239,991||218,001||173,821|
|Gold sold (ounces)||59,169||56,360||233,866||214,622||173,645|
|Average realized gold price ($/oz sold)||$||1,480||$||1,198||$||1,381||$||1,239||$||1,226|
|Total cash costs ($/oz sold) (1)||685||698||661||680||720|
|AISC ($/oz sold) (1)||1,003||934||916||919||942|
|All-in costs ($/oz sold) (1)||1,048||951||946||930||942|
|Financial data ($000’s, except per share amounts)|
|Adjusted EBITDA (1)||40,607||23,736||146,675||102,386||75,456|
|Impairment (charge) reversal||(175,989)||–||(175,989)||–||45,307|
|Net (loss) income||(148,849)||8,038||(131,164)||(3,379)||36,848|
|Per share – basic||(2.86)||0.17||(2.65)||(0.10)||1.81|
|Per share – diluted||(2.86)||0.17||(2.65)||(0.11)||0.61|
|Adjusted net income (1)||17,113||14,517||60,460||42,498||22,895|
|Per share – basic||0.33||0.30||1.22||1.23||1.13|
|Per share – diluted||0.27||0.29||1.04||0.59||0.30|
|Net cash provided by operating activities||34,635||23,463||103,276||79,643||50,527|
|Free cash flow (1)||21,953||14,444||60,611||44,040||25,560|
|Balance sheet ($000’s):|
|Cash and cash equivalents||$||84,239||$||35,645||$||3,272|
|Gold Notes, including current portion – principal amount outstanding (2)||68,750||88,250||–|
|Convertible Debentures – principal amount outstanding (3)||CA20,000||–||–|
|Former Convertible Debentures – principal amount outstanding (4)||–||–||140,811|
Refer to “Non-IFRS Measures” in the Company’s MD&A.
The Gold Notes were issued in 2018 and are recorded in the Financial Statements at fair value. At December 31, 2019 and 2018, the carrying amounts of the Gold Notes outstanding were $69.0 and $74.1 million, respectively.
The Convertible Debentures were issued in 2019 and are recorded in the Financial Statements at fair value. At December 31, the carrying amount of the Convertible Debentures outstanding was $21.1 million.
The Former Convertible Debentures were retired in 2018 and were recorded in the Financial Statements at amortized cost. At December 31, 2017, the carrying amount of the Former Convertible Debentures outstanding was $98.7 million.
Marmato Project Impairment Charge
During the fourth quarter of 2019, the Company recorded an impairment charge in the amount of $176.0 million ($153.6 million net of tax) related to its Marmato Project. The Company determined that the proposed spin-out of the Zona Baja part of the Marmato Project through the Bluenose RTO Transaction, along with its assessment of the prospects for the Zona Alta and Echandia mining titles, were indicators that the recoverable amount of the Marmato Project may be less than its carrying amount of approximately $194.8 million. In the Bluenose RTO Transaction, the arm’s length fair value assigned to the Marmato Mining Assets in Zona Baja was $44.2 million. With the spin-out of Zona Baja, including its operating mine, the Company reassessed the separate fair value of the Zona Alta and Echandia mining titles on a stand-alone basis. The Company has no exploration operations in Zona Alta or Echandia and has not been able to establish its own mining operations in these areas due to the presence of illegal miners who have not only impeded any mining operations by the Company in the area but have also curtailed access to it. In addition, in May 2018, as a consequence of these ongoing impediments to establishing mining operations, along with certain related matters associated with its Segovia Operations, the Company had filed the FTA Claim. The arbitration proceedings center on claims against Colombia for its non-compliance with its obligations under the Free Trade Agreement which effectively continues to preclude the Company from establishing operations in Zona Alta and Echandia. The arbitration proceedings are in process; however, a decision on the matter is expected to be more than 12 months away. In light of the various factors considered by the Company in evaluating its inability to develop Zona Alta and Echandia, the Company concluded that, even if it could sell such assets, the estimated fair value (less cost of disposal) realizable through a potential sale process at the present time would be negligible.
The Company started 2020 with the completion of two significant transactions in February. The CA$40 million non-brokered private placement that closed in early February enables the Company to deleverage its balance sheet and reduce its debt service costs with an early redemption at the end of March of 30% of the aggregate principal amount of the Gold Notes issued and outstanding. The spin-out of the Marmato Mining Assets in Zona Baja into Caldas Gold, in which the Company holds a 74.4% equity interest, in late February sets the stage for Caldas Gold to move toward the eventual financing and development for the expansion of the existing underground mining operation to incorporate the Deeps mineralization. Caldas Gold is proceeding with the preliminary feasibility study (“PFS”) which should be completed by mid-2020 and has started a 15,000 meters drill program aimed at extending the Main Zone down-plunge, from the 650-level down to the 400-level. The drilling program also aims to test the hanging-wall and footwall of the Main Zone, looking for satellite bodies and a replica of the Deeps Zone.
In February 2020, the Company provided its annual production guidance for this year. At its Segovia Operations, total gold production for the first two months of 2020 amounted to 33,413 ounces and the Company indicated at the time that it expects its annual gold production at Segovia for 2020 will range between 200,000 and 220,000 ounces. Head grades averaged 15 g/t through the first two months of 2020 and are expected to average approximately 14 g/t (+/- 5%) over the course of the full year as the Company opens additional new areas within its existing three mines and commences production from its Carla mine late in the third quarter of 2020. Caldas Gold also indicated at the time that it expects that with the implementation of the optimized mine plan envisioned in the 2019 preliminary economic assessment, the existing Marmato mine will produce a total of between 32,000 and 37,000 ounces of gold in 2020.
The World Health Organization declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic on March 11, 2020. COVID-19 has spread globally, and actions taken in response to COVID-19 have interrupted business activities and supply chains; disrupted travel; contributed to significant volatility in the financial markets, resulting in a general decline in equity prices and lower interest rates; impacted social conditions; and adversely impacted local, regional, national and international economic conditions, as well as the labor market. To date, COVID-19 has not had any significant impact on production or product shipments at Segovia and Marmato. However, the Company has activated its business continuity program at its mine sites in Colombia in response to a national quarantine that went into effect on March 25, 2020 and is expected to continue through to mid-April and possibly longer. To the extent possible, the Company expects that the mines at Segovia and Marmato will continue to operate during the quarantine period, leveraging stockpiled material and supported by a contingent of employees, both Company and contractor, who will remain isolated within the mine camps during the quarantine period to carry out mine, plant and other operations. The Company is continuing to monitor the situation and at this point in time, is taking remedial action as the situation unfolds. However, in light of COVID-19, the Company has taken steps to slow down discretionary operating and capital expenditures to preserve its liquidity during this unusual situation. The Gold Trust account already holds sufficient physical gold to meet the April 30th quarterly amortizing payment of the Gold Notes and the Company’s cash balances are sufficient to meet its debt service other financial obligations through the balance of the year. There is risk in the event of an extended quarantine or other circumstances which disrupt the Company’s operations over a prolonged period that the Company’s production could be impacted in the future as the situation unfolds, which may cause the Company to have to revise its production guidance and outlook for 2020 accordingly. The Company will provide further guidance regarding expected cost metrics and planned capital and exploration spending once the situation returns to normal and it has a more fulsome understanding of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Company’s 2020’s operating and financial results.
Segovia Operations – Mineral Resource and Reserve Update
Gran Colombia also announced today that it has completed updated Mineral Resource and Mineral Reserve estimates for its Segovia Operations prepared in accordance with the Canadian Institute of Mining Metallurgy and Petroleum Definition Standards incorporated by reference in National Instrument 43-101 with an effective date of December 31, 2019.
Highlights of the December 31, 2019 MRE update include:
The following table summarizes the MRE for the Segovia Operations as of December 31, 2019 and changes by category in tonnes, grade and ounces of gold compared with the previous total MRE as of December 31, 2018:
|Project||Deposit||Type||Measured||Indicated||Measured & Indicated||Inferred|
|Subtotal Segovia Project||LTR||118||15.9||60||1,504||11.5||555||1,623||11.8||616||3,136||8.0||809|
|Carla||Subtotal Carla Project||LTR||154||9.7||48||154||9.7||48||178||9.3||53|
|December 31, 2019 (1)||226||20.8||151||3,385||11.1||1,205||3,611||11.7||1,356||4,098||9.6||1,265|
|December 31, 2018 (2)||218||20.0||140||3,289||11.2||1,187||3,507||11.8||1,327||3,562||10.1||1,157|
|% Change vs previous||4%||4%||8%||3%||-1%||2%||3%||-1%||2%||15%||-5%||9%|
The Mineral Resources are reported at an in situ cut-off grade of 3.0 g/t Au over a 1.0 m mining width, which has been derived using a gold price of US$1,400 per ounce and technical and economic parameters for the existing underground mining and conventional gold mineralized material processing using a gold recovery of 90.5%. Each of the mining areas have been sub-divided into Pillar areas, which represent the areas within the current mining development, and long-term resources, which lie along strike or down dip of the current mining development. Mineral Resources are reported inclusive of the Mineral Reserve. Mineral Resources are not Mineral Reserves and do not have demonstrated economic viability. All figures are rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimate. All composites have been capped where appropriate.
Derived from the Amended NI 43-101 Technical Report Prefeasibility Study Update, Segovia Project, Colombia, dated July 8, 2019, prepared by SRK Consulting (US) Inc.
During 2019, Gran Colombia continued its in-mine and near mine drilling campaign designed to increase the Company’s confidence in the potential to add new mineral reserves and extend mine life. The results of the 2019 drilling program were included in press releases issued by the Company on August 13, 2019, October 21, 2019 and February 24, 2020, including (i) the discovery of a new high-grade vein called the 1180 Vein at El Silencio that is expected to begin mining as early as the third quarter of 2020, (ii) confirmation of the extension of the Manto Vein at El Silencio down-dip by over 1,000 meters relative to Level 38, the deepest level of mining on the Manto Vein by Frontino Gold Mining, (iii) continued to delineate and further extend down-plunge, to approximately Level 8, the main high-grade shoots at Sandra K and (iv) successfully intercepted the faulted block of the Providencia vein. The results of the 2019 drilling have identified potential targets to increase the Mineral Resources at Segovia, all of which will be followed up in the 2020 drilling program. The updated MRE for the Segovia Operations incorporates assay results from an additional 319 diamond drillholes totalling 52,335 meters of sampling information in the databases compared to the previous model, inclusive of the 2019 drilling program and the ongoing validation exercises of historical information being completed by the Company’s geologists. All diamond core has been logged and sent for preparation at the SGS laboratories in Medellin, with associated Quality Control Programs. In addition to the drilling, a total of 5,700 channel samples totalling some 5,869 meters in length were completed in 2019.
Ben Parsons, Principal Consultant (Resource Geology) with SRK, prepared the Segovia MRE according to CIM Definition Standards and will be supported by a NI 43-101 independent report which will be published and filed on the Company’s website and SEDAR profile within 45 days. Mr. Parsons is a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. The NI 43-101 independent report will include detailed information on the key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate the mineral resources.
Segovia Life-of-Mine Mineable Gold Reserves Total 670,000 Contained Ounces Effective December 31, 2019
SRK has also completed preliminary results of an updated Preliminary Feasibility Study (“PFS”) for the Segovia Operations effective December 31, 2019 and is currently finalizing the technical report. The PFS demonstrates that the Company has replaced the Mineral Reserves mined in 2019. At December 31, 2019, Segovia’s reported Mineral Reserve totaled 670,000 proven and probable ounces of gold, based on 2.0 million tonnes of material at an average head grade of 10.5 g/t, compared with 688,000 ounces at the end of 2018.
The following table shows a breakdown of the Mineral Reserve as of December 31, 2019 by area and category compared with the total Mineral Reserve as of December 31, 2018:
|December 31, 2019 (1)||Total||
|December 31, 2018 (2)||Total||1,941||11.0||688|
|% Change vs previous||2%||-5%||-3%|
Ore reserves are reported using a gold cutoff grade ranging from 3.25 to 4.24 g/t depending on mining area and mining method. The cutoff grade calculations assume a $1,350/oz Au price, 90.5% metallurgical recovery, $6/oz smelting and refining charges, $25/t G&A, $26/t processing cost, and projected LoM mining costs ranging from $76/t to 115/t. The reserves are valid as of December 31, 2019. Mining dilution is applied to a minimum mining height and estimated overbreak (values differ by area/mining method) using a zero grade. Reserves are inclusive of Mineral Resources. All figures are rounded to reflect the relative accuracy of the estimates. Totals may not sum due to rounding. Mineral Reserves have been stated on the basis of a mine design, mine plan, and cash-flow model. There are potential survey unknowns in some of the mining areas and lower extractions have been used to account for these unknowns. The Mineral Reserves were estimated by Fernando Rodrigues, BS Mining, MBA, MMSAQP #01405, MAusIMM #304726 of SRK, a Qualified Person.
Derived from the Amended NI 43-101 Technical Report Prefeasibility Study Update, Segovia Project, Colombia, dated July 8, 2019, prepared by SRK.
A summary of the key LoM operating and financial parameters of the current PFS dated as of December 31, 2019 compared with the previous PFS prepared as of December 31, 2018 is as follows:
|Ore milled (tonnes)||1,985,000||1,941,000|
|Gold produced (ozs)||607,000||623,000|
|Financial data (U.S. dollars):|
|Expected long-term gold price||$1,350/oz||$1,275/oz|
|LoM gold revenue||$819 million||$794 million|
|Total cash cost, including refining||$711/oz||$695/oz|
|LoM sustaining capex, including exploration||$150 million||$132 million|
|Undiscounted after-tax free cash flow||$151 million||$148 million|
|NPV after-tax free cash flow @ 5%||$139 million||$136 million|
Derived from the Amended NI 43-101 Technical Report Prefeasibility Study Update, Segovia Project, Colombia, dated July 8, 2019, prepared by SRK.
Fernando Rodrigues, BS Mining, MBA, MAusIMM, MMSAQP Practice Leader/Principal Consultant (Mining Engineer) with SRK, prepared the Segovia Mineable Reserve according to CIM Definition Standards and will be supported by a NI 43-101 independent report which will be published and filed on the Company’s website and SEDAR profile within 45 days. Mr. Rodrigues is a Qualified Person as defined by NI 43-101. The NI 43-101 independent report will include detailed information on the key assumptions, parameters and methods used to estimate the mineable reserve.
Fourth Quarter and Year End 2018 Results Webcast
About Gran Colombia Gold Corp.
Gran Colombia is a Canadian-based mid-tier gold producer with its primary focus in Colombia where it is currently the largest underground gold and silver producer with several mines in operation at its high-grade Segovia Operations. Gran Colombia owns approximately 74% of Caldas Gold Corp., a Canadian mining company currently advancing a prefeasibility study for a major expansion and modernization of its underground mining operations at its Marmato Project in Colombia. Gran Colombia’s project pipeline includes its Zancudo Project in Colombia together with an approximately 21% equity interest in Gold X Mining Corp. (TSXV: GLDX) (Guyana – Toroparu) and an approximately 20% equity interest in Western Atlas Resources Inc. (TSX-V: WA) (Nunavut – Meadowbank).
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We acknowledge the [financial] support of the Government of Canada.