Freitag, 07.05.2021 12:55 von PR Newswire | Aufrufe: 71

Karora Delivers Strong Start to Year with First Quarter 2021 Adjusted Earnings of $0.06 Per Share, Adjusted EBITDA of $0.15 Per Share as Operations Continue to Deliver in Line With 2021 Guidance and Phase I Mill Expansion Tracks Ahead of Schedule

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Canada NewsWire


Karora will host a call/webcast on May 7, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) to discuss the first quarter 2021 results. North American callers please dial:  1-888-231-8191, international callers please dial: (+1) 647-427-7450. For the webcast of this event click [here] (replay access information below).

TORONTO, May 7, 2021  /CNW/ - Karora Resources Inc. (TSX: KRR) ("Karora" or the "Corporation") is pleased to announce its financial results and review of activities for the three months ended March 31, 2021. All amounts are expressed in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted. For additional information please refer to Karora's Management's Discussion & Analysis ("MD&A") and unaudited condensed interim financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020.

Highlights

  • First quarter 2021 consolidated gold production of 24,694 ounces and gold sales of 25,547 ounces was precisely on track with budget, positioning the Company well to deliver 2021 guidance. Full year consolidated 2021 gold production guidance of 105,000 to 115,000 ounces is maintained (assumes no significant interruption in operations as a result of the COVID-19 virus).
  • First quarter 2021 consolidated all-in-sustaining-costs ("AISC")1 of US$1,049 per oz. was in line with the full year 2021 guided range of US$985-$1,085 per ounce and sets the pace for continued strong cost performance during 2021.
  • Net earnings of $5.6 million or $0.04 per share for the first quarter of 2021 compared to $0.5 million in the first quarter of 2020. First quarter earnings were negatively impacted by a non-cash unrealized foreign exchange loss of $4.5 million (or $0.03 per share).
  • Adjusted earnings1 of $8.1 million or $0.06 per share for the first quarter of 2021.
  • Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA")1 was $21.2 million or $0.15 per share for the first quarter of 2021, a $1.8 million increase compared to $19.4 million for the first quarter of 2020.
  • Cash flow from operating activities of $18.7 million or $0.13 per share, a 53% increase compared to $12.2 million for the first quarter of 2020.
  • Cash Position and Balance Sheet: Karora ended the first quarter of 2021 with a strong cash position of $76.7 million, and working capital of $63.2 million, slightly lower by $3.0 million and slightly higher by $6.4 million respectively from December 31, 2020. The cash position decrease was due to timing of planned investment into Karora's assets as part of 2021's capital program as well as a scheduled US$2.5 million cash payment to Maverix Metals as part of the Beta Hunt royalty buy back agreement announced in 2020.
  • Phase I mill expansion to increase capacity by 15%, or 550 tonnes per day, to 1.6 million tonnes per annum is proceeding ahead of schedule having already achieved an annualized production rate of 1.5 million tonnes per annum (up from the prior capacity of 1.4 million tonnes per annum).
  • At Beta Hunt's Larkin Zone, drilling intersected 19.0 g/t gold over 9.0 metres, including 542 g/t over 0.3 metres in hole EL-EA2-023E with visible gold mineralization observed in the drill core. The Larkin Zone discovery was announced in September 2020.
  • Second new high grade nickel discovery at Beta Hunt in the last six months, known as the "Gamma Zone - 50C", where 1.6% nickel over 4.6 metres, including 18.4% nickel over 2.2 metres was intersected in hole G50-22-005E. The drilling, which was targeting nickel, also intersected gold mineralization above and below the 50C trough and suggests the Beta Hunt gold mineralized system extends for over 3.5 kilometres of strike from the northern end of the A Zone.
  • At the Lake Cowan prospect, air core drilling on the dry salt lake returned an interval of 1.35 g/t gold over 50 metres, including 3.64 g/t over 16 metres from hole HIGA8864, an excellent result from first pass drilling in this underexplored area.
  • At the Spargos Reward Gold Project, continued strong drilling results were announced, including 6.1 g/t over 14.0 metres in hole SPDD0003, which confirmed the interpreted high grade gold plunging shoot thesis by extending the shoot to over 300 metres down-plunge (remains open down-plunge).

Paul Andre Huet, Chairman & CEO, commented: "I am pleased with Karora's first quarter performance, which places us on a very strong footing to achieve our full year 2021 gold production guidance of between 105,000 and 115,000 ounces and AISC1 of US$985-$1,085 per ounce sold. First quarter gold production of just under 25,000 ounces was right on budget as we prepared new higher grade mining areas at Higginsville Central. Over the course of 2021, as we have previously stated, we expect quarterly grade improvements resulting from Spargos and Two Boys to drive increased production towards the second half of the year.

After recently visiting site upon my relocation to Australia, I am extremely happy to announce that our Phase I mill expansion is proceeding well ahead of schedule. We have already achieved an annualized production rate of 1.5 million tonnes per annum. Once completed, as previously announced, the Phase I expansion will increase production capacity at our Higginsville mill in 2021 by approximately 15%, or 550 tonnes per day, to 1.6 million tonnes per annum from the prior capacity of 1.4 million tonnes per annum.

Karora delivered a solid financial performance in the first quarter of 2021 with adjusted EBITDA of $21 million or $0.15 per share, operating cash flow of $19 million or $0.13 per share and consolidated AISC1 of US$1,049 per ounce sold. Net earnings of $5.6 million or $0.04 per share were negatively impacted by an unrealized non-cash foreign exchange loss of $4.5 million or $0.03 per share, primarily related to intercompany loans due to quarter over quarter currency fluctuations. We reiterate that these are unrealized intercompany loans as we do not transfer cash out of the Australian business unit. Adjusted for these fluctuations, earnings were $8.1 million or $0.06 per share. On the cost front, despite planned lower grades during the first quarter, we recorded yet another strong three month period of disciplined cost control with AISC of US$1,049 per ounce well within our 2021 guidance range.

With Karora's strong cash balance of $76.7 million at the end of the first quarter, and much of the ground work to bring on higher grade mining areas over the balance of 2021 completed, we are in a very strong position to deliver on our 2021 organic growth commitments. In this regard, I am looking forward to delivering our multi-year growth profile to the market later in the second quarter."

Kurse

  
  1. Non-IFRS: the definition and reconciliation of these measures are included in the Non-IFRS Measures section 17 of Karora's MD&A dated May 7, 2021.

COVID-19 Protocols

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, Karora's protocols and contingency plans have mitigated impacts of the pandemic. Karora's operations continued at expected levels, consistent with the Corporation's full year 2021 guidance for the first quarter of 2021. Karora's ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to prioritize the safety of its workforce and host communities while mitigating potential operational impacts.

Results of Operations

Table 1 - Highlights of operational results for the periods ended March 31, 2021 and 2020


Three months ended

For the periods ended March 31,

2021

2020

Gold Operations (Consolidated)



Tonnes milled (000s)

371

314

Recoveries

93%

93%

Gold milled, grade (g/t Au)

2.16

2.35

Gold produced (ounces)

24,694

24,816

Gold sold (ounces)

25,547

24,626

Average realized price (US $/oz sold)

$1,762

$1,493

Cash operating costs (US $/oz sold)1

$952

$965

All-in sustaining cost (AISC) (US $/oz sold)1

$1,049

$1,101

Gold (Beta Hunt Mine)1



Tonnes milled (000s)

233

186

Gold milled, grade (g/t Au)

2.63

2.58

Gold produced(ounces)

18,261

17,170

Gold sold (ounces)

18,754

17,078

Cash operating cost (US $/oz sold)1

$899

$944

Gold (HGO Mine)



Tonnes milled (000s)

138

128

Gold milled grade (g/t Au)

1.57

2.00

Gold produced (ounces)

6,433

7,646

Gold sold (ounces)

6,793

7,548

Cash operating cost (US $/oz sold)1

$1,100

$1,013

  1. Non-IFRS: the definition and reconciliation of these measures are included in the Non-IFRS Measures section 14 of Karora's MD&A dated May 7, 2021.

Consolidated Operations

For the first quarter of 2021, Karora's gold operations milled 371,000 of material at an average grade of 2.16 g/t to produce 24,694 ounces of gold, the Corporation's seventh consecutive quarter of consistent production of approximately 25,000 gold ounces since the acquisition of the Higginsville Mill in mid-2019. Cash operating costs for the first quarter were US$952 per ounce.

The mill feed was made up of approximately 63% material from Beta Hunt underground and 37% material from Higginsville Central open pit compared to an average 55% from Beta Hunt and 45% from HGO in 2020. The increased weighting of Beta Hunt material was due primarily to increased productivity at Beta Hunt and a lower contribution from Higginsville Central as part of the planned ongoing transition to higher grade mining areas throughout 2021.

Beta Hunt

Production for the first quarter of 2021 was 219,000 tonnes mined, a 33% increase over the first quarter of 2020, and 233,000 tonnes milled, a 25% increase over the first quarter of 2020. Gold production was 18,261 ounces and cash operating costs of US$899 per ounce sold.

The increased production is a direct reflection of improved mining techniques and a staged fleet replacement and upgrade program, including the addition of a CAT R2900 underground loader and two CAT AD60 trucks into the mining fleet. Two additional CAT R2900 underground loaders and two CAT AD60 trucks are planned for 2021 which are required as part of the continued production ramp up in 2021. The first of these two new trucks recently hauled its first load of ore at Beta Hunt in May.

Nickel production is currently limited to remnant nickel resources south of the Alpha Fault; however, recent drilling has identified a number of new areas including the high grade 30C Nickel Trough discovery where production can potentially be increased.

Furthermore, on April 6, 2021 Karora announced the second new high grade nickel discovery at Beta Hunt in the last six months, known as the "Gamma Zone - 50C", where 11.6% nickel over 4.6 metres, including 18.4% nickel over 2.2 metres was intersected in hole G50-22-005E. The drilling, which was targeting nickel, also intersected gold mineralization above and below the 50C trough and suggests the Beta Hunt gold mineralized system extends for over 3.5 kilometres of strike from the northern end of the A Zone.

Higginsville ("HGO") Central

During the first quarter, 138,000 of HGO material was milled at an average grade of 1.57 g/t to produce 6,433 ounces of gold and cash operating costs of US$1,100 per ounce sold.

In the first quarter of 2021 mine production from Hidden Secret totaled 141,078 tonnes and metallurgical recoveries were aligned with expectations at 92-93%. At Mousehollow, grade control work commenced during the quarter which will provide valuable additional operational flexibility for mill feed optimization.

With Higginsville Central mining primarily focused at Hidden Secret, minimal production occurred during the first quarter of 2021 at Baloo. Mine production from Baloo totaled 21,355 tonnes for the quarter. A re-optimization of the pit was completed with additional mineralization identified in the northern portion of the pit which has driven the development of a new ramp from the south to allow additional open pit material to be mined from the North eastern corner. Karora continues to evaluate the underground potential at Baloo.

At Two Boys dewatering and exploratory work was significantly advanced during the first quarter of 2021. Mining is on track to commence as planned in the second quarter of 2021.

Karora continues to target the development of a starter pit at the high-grade Aquarius deposit, located less than two kilometres from the HGO treatment plant. As previously reported, near surface drilling identified a number of high grade supergene gold intersections, including 43.5 g/t over 3.0 metres and 5.7 g/t over 6.0 metres (see Karora news release dated November 9, 2020). A starter pit will be developed to access the higher grade underground gold mineralization. Development of the Aquarius starter pit could commence as early as mid 2021.

The existing Aquarius historical resource1,2 is 20 kt @ 19.5 g/t (Measured and indicated) and 43 kt @ 4.2g/t (Inferred) will be updated as part of the Corporation's 2021 resource report.

¹ Karora Resources profile at www.sedar.com technical report, February 6th, 2020.

² Westgold 2018 Annual Update of Mineral Resources & Ore Reserves dated October 2, 2018 and is available to view on the ASX (www.asx.com.au).

A qualified person has not done sufficient work on behalf of Karora to classify the historical estimate noted as current mineral resources and Karora is not treating the historical estimates as current mineral resources.

Spargos Reward Gold Project

The first stage of a reverse circulation ("RC") drilling program designed to test the offset southerly strike extension of the main Spargos Reward zone was completed in the first quarter. This program was part of HGO's larger resource definition program with the aim of improving the confidence of the Spargos Reward main zone ahead of mining activities schedule to begin by mid-year. An updated gold Mineral Resource statement is expected later in the second quarter of 2021.

Results from the RC drilling program were reported in Karora news release dated March 1, 2021. The intersection of 6.1 g/t over 14.0 metres in diamond drill hole SPDD003 supports the interpretation of high grade gold mineralization extending over a down-plunge distance of over 300 metres. The down-plunge extension of this shoot remains open at depth and highlights the underground growth opportunity remaining to be tested.

Cash Operating Costs and AISC1

For the first quarter, consolidated cash operating costs1 and AISC1 were US$952 and US$1,049 per ounce sold, respectively (reductions of 1% and 5% compared to the first quarter of 2020). The first quarter cost performance is within full year 2021 AISC guidance range of US$985-$1,085 per ounce.

Outlook

Karora is maintaining its previously announced full year consolidated 2021 production guidance of between 105,000 - 115,000 ounces of gold at an AISC range of US$985 to US$1,085 per ounce. The high-end of 2021 production guidance represents a 21% increase over the high-end of 2020 guidance (19% mid-point to mid-point). The mid-point of 2021 AISC cost guidance represents an 8% reduction when compared to the mid-point of 2020 guidance. The reduced AISC guidance reflects Karora's continued focus on cost reduction initiatives following a very successful year of reducing AISC during 2020.

The above guidance assumes no significant disruption in operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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