Record operating cash flow supported by lowest quarterly cash operating costs to date
Lundin Gold Inc. (TSX: LUG) (Nasdaq Stockholm: LUG) reports results for the second quarter and first half of 2021. All amounts are in U.S. dollars unless otherwise indicated.
Second Quarter of 2021 Financial Overview
Second Quarter of 2021 Production Overview
Ron Hochstein, President and CEO commented, “Fruta del Norte continues to perform exceptionally well, and I am delighted with the team’s continued efforts to further optimize and enhance operations. Once again, record production during this second quarter of 2021 underpins our strong financial performance. In the first half of the year we generated $217 million in operating cash flow and ended the quarter with a cash balance of $192.2 million, which supports debt repayments, exploration and planned capital expenditures, including the expansion project to increase the mill throughput from 3,500 to 4,200 tonnes per day. The resulting strong treasury will also provide the opportunity to evaluate increased exploration activities, future potential expansion and other growth opportunities.”
|1 Refer to “Non-IFRS Measures” section.|
Based on results to date, by the end of 2021 the Company anticipates being near the upper end of its stated 2021 production guidance of 380,000 to 420,000 oz of gold produced and the lower end of the AISC guidance of between $770 and $830 per oz of gold sold, calculated on a basis consistent with prior periods.
Second Quarter of 2021 Operating and Financial Highlights
The following two tables provide an overview of key operating and financial results during the second quarter and first half of 2021.
|Three months ended
|Six months ended
|Tonnes mined (tonnes)||397,640||–1||763,111||197,674|
|Tonnes milled (tonnes)||346,561||–2||671,152||244,490|
|Average head grade (g/t)||11.1||–2||11.2||7.9|
|Average recovery (%)||88.2%||–2||88.0%||82.8%|
|Average mill throughput (tpd)||3,808||–2||3,708||3,056|
|Gold ounces produced||108,799||–2||212,936||51,320|
|Gold ounces sold||125,412||6,797||207,217||66,114|
|Three months ended
|Six months ended
|Net revenues ($’000)||139,991||13,146||36,856||14,7782|
|Income from mining operations ($’000)||110,604||4,442||174,635||14,7783|
|Net income (loss) ($’000)||49,984||(64,374)||135,964||(73,705)|
|Operating cash flow ($’000)||142,005||(18,596)||217,088||(4,760)|
|Average realized gold price ($/oz sold)||1,773||–2||1,770||1,6803|
|Cash operating cost ($/oz sold)4||596||–2||626||8763|
|All-in sustaining costs ($/oz sold)4||720||–2||764||9523|
|Operating cash flow per share ($)4||0.61||–2||0.94||(0.02)|
|Adjusted net earnings ($’000)4||74,800||–2||112,209||(16,100)|
|Adjusted net earnings per share ($)4||0.32||–2||0.48||(0.07)|
The difference between net income and adjusted earnings during the second quarter and the first half of 2021 is due to non-cash derivative losses of $25.6 million and derivative gains of $25.9 million, respectively, associated with fair value accounting for the gold prepay and stream facilities. These non-cash items are driven by numerous factors including anticipated forward gold prices and yields. Non-cash derivative gains (or losses) associated with anticipated decreasing (or increasing) forward gold prices are recorded in the statement of operations, while non-cash derivative gains (or losses) associated with increasing (or decreasing) yields are recorded in the statement of other comprehensive income. These non-cash gains or losses are derived from complex valuation modelling and accounting treatment which are explained in more detail in the MD&A. Revaluation of these obligations may result in considerable period-to-period volatility in the Company’s net income, comprehensive income, current and long term liabilities and do not necessarily reflect the amounts that will actually be repaid when the obligations become due.
|1 The figures presented are for the six months ended June 30, 2020 which include the two-month ramp up period before achievement of commercial production.|
|1 Operations were suspended during the second quarter of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, there was no production and non-IFRS measures during this period are not presented.|
|2 Amount relates to the period after achievement of commercial production.|
|3 Refer to “Non-IFRS Measures” section.
|(in thousands of U.S. dollars)||As at June 30,
|As at December 31,
Liquidity and Capital Resources
As at June 30, 2021, the Company had cash of $192.2 million and a working capital balance of $109.0 million compared to cash of $79.6 million and a working capital balance of $56.6 million at December 31, 2020. The change in cash during the first six months of 2021 was primarily due to cash generated from operating activities of $217.1 million and proceeds from the exercise of stock options and anti-dilution rights of $13.5 million. This is offset by principal and interest repayments under the loan facilities totalling $88.5 million and cash outflows of $29.6 million for capital expenditures including costs for remaining initial construction activities, the expansion project, and sustaining capital.
The Company expects to generate strong operating cash flow during 2021 based on its production and AISC guidance. This strong operating cash flow will support debt repayments, regional exploration and underground expansion drilling at Fruta del Norte, and planned capital expenditures, including the expansion project to increase the mill throughput from 3,500 to 4,200 tonnes per day.
Health and Safety
The health and safety of personnel at site is of paramount importance, and stringent procedures remain in place to minimize the impact of COVID-19 and related variants on the workforce. Vaccination programs commenced in Ecuador during the quarter with priority given to companies in the strategic sectors, including mining. As a result, vaccination campaigns by the Ecuador’s Ministry of Public Health are currently ongoing directly at site for the Company’s employees and contractors. As of the date of this news release, approximately 90% of the Company’s employees and on-site contractors had received at least their first dose.
Zero lost time incidents and six medical aid incidents were recorded during the second quarter of 2021. The Total Recordable Incident Rate during this same time period was 0.76 per 200,000 hours worked.
During the second quarter of 2021, progress continued on the connectivity project for local communities surrounding Fruta del Norte, with tablets distributed to all 1,370 students. Upgrades were also completed to increase the internet speed at the local school in Los Encuentros allowing teachers to work virtually with students. The installation of fibre optic infrastructure to provide improved internet service to the local communities, benefiting nearly 1,000 families, is well underway.
Furthermore, construction of the public bridge over the Zamora River advanced under the authority of the provincial government to replace the bridge that collapsed during the fourth quarter of 2020. Lundin Gold has provided the funding for this work to date. Lundin Gold has also been supporting the affected communities by assisting with transportation of people and supplies.
The Company’s 9,000 metre drilling campaign began at the end of March 2021. The regional exploration program is focused on two high priority targets, Barbasco and Puente-Princesa, to test for buried mineralization in a geological setting similar to that of Fruta del Norte. Drilling began on a section central to the Barbasco anomaly with two holes completed to a depth of approximately 1,000 metres each; the drill rigs were then moved 400 metres south where two additional holes are in progress. As of the end of the quarter, approximately 3,600 metres have been drilled, with assay results expected to be released in the fourth quarter.
While guidance for 2021 remains unchanged with production of 380,000 to 420,000 oz of gold expected at Fruta del Norte, the Company now anticipates ending the year closer to the upper end of guidance. Likewise, while maintaining its AISC guidance for 2021 at between $770 and $830 per oz of gold sold, calculated on a basis consistent with prior periods, the Company expects to be nearer to the lower end of its AISC guidance for 2021.
Under its sustaining capital activities for 2021, the Company remains on schedule with its planned 10,000 metre drill program targeting conversion and expansion of the Fruta del Norte mineral resource, and completion of the second raise of the tailings dam.
Construction is underway on the expansion program to increase the mill throughput from 3,500 to 4,200 tpd, with completion expected before the end of 2021 consistent with plan. The throughput expansion modifications are also expected to improve mill recoveries through increased retention time in the flotation process of the plant.
Furthermore, drilling will continue on the Barbasco target. Initial assay results are expected in the fourth quarter of 2021. Due to the slow start of the drilling campaign, the Company is evaluating starting the Puente Princesa drilling while continuing drilling on the Barbasco target.
The technical information relating to Fruta del Norte contained in this News Release has been reviewed and approved by Ron Hochstein P. Eng, Lundin Gold’s President and CEO who is a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101.
About Lundin Gold
Lundin Gold, headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, owns the Fruta del Norte gold mine in southeast Ecuador. Fruta del Norte is among the highest-grade operating gold mines in the world.
The Company’s board and management team have extensive expertise in mine operations and are dedicated to operating Fruta del Norte responsibly. The Company operates with transparency and in accordance with international best practices. Lundin Gold is committed to delivering value to its shareholders, while simultaneously providing economic and social benefits to impacted communities, fostering a healthy and safe workplace and minimizing the environmental impact. The Company believes that the value created through the development of Fruta del Norte will benefit its shareholders, the Government and the citizens of Ecuador.
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