TORONTO, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – March 26, 2013) – Argonaut Gold Inc. (TSX:AR) (the “Company”, “Argonaut Gold” or “Argonaut”) is pleased to announce its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2012. All dollar amounts are expressed in United States dollars unless otherwise specified.
- Completed the Prodigy Gold acquisition, adding the Magino project which contains over 6.3 million ounces in resources, nearly doubling our overall resource base.
- Constructed and started pouring gold at the La Colorada Mine, representing our second operating mine.
- Successfully carried out capital expansion programs to enhance production at El Castillo, and La Colorada while reducing operating cost.
- Production increased to 108k ounces, a 50% improvement over 2011, and 10% greater than guidance.
- Cash cost per gold ounce sold of $597, a 4% improvement over 2011, and lower than guidance of $625-$650.
- Expanded our drill programs at La Colorada (Veta Madre) and San Antonio (La Colpa) adding further mineralization to the Company’s resources.
- Completed further metallurgical test work on El Castillo’s sulphide resource, adding over 360k ounces to our in-pit resources.
|4th Quarter||Year End|
|Income per share – basic||$||0.19||$||0.10||+90||%||$||0.68||$||0.30||+127||%|
|Cash flow from operating activities before changes in non-cash operating working capital and other items||$||24,134||$||15,333||+57||%||$||83,405||$||41,906||+99||%|
|Gold production and cost:|
|Gold ozs. loaded to the pad||48,174||30,162||+60||%||191,642||117,939||+62||%|
|Gold ozs. produced||32,000||19,698||+62||%||108,081||72,049||+50||%|
|Gold ozs. sold||29,502||20,468||+44||%||109,781||66,521||+65||%|
|Average realized sales price||$||1,698||$||1,684||+1||%||$||1,662||$||1,568||+6||%|
|Cash cost per gold ounce sold||$||587||$||679||-14||%||$||597||$||622||-4||%|
Peter Dougherty, Argonaut’s Chief Executive Officer stated, “2012 was another milestone year for Argonaut Gold; the Company exceeded initial top end gold production guidance of 90-95k ounces. This production was accomplished at lower cash costs per gold ounce and sold at a higher realized gold price. Our focus on continual improvement has provided stellar results for our shareholders. The culmination of the Company’s performance was the acquisition of Prodigy Gold and the Magino project in Wawa, Ontario. The Company’s total measured and indicated resource now exceeds more than 12 million ounces. The portfolio provides a strong base for production growth to our goal of 300-500,000 ounces per year.”
Mr. Dougherty added, “2013 initiatives will include additional pad construction and final installation of equipment that aim to provide an increase in overall production for the Company at La Colorada and El Castillo. The permitting process will continue at San Antonio. A prefeasibility study will be published mid-year 2013 for Magino. Finally, the Company will maintain its commitment to exploration as a top focus for internal growth.”
This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company’s audited annual consolidated financial statements for the year‐ended December 31, 2012 and associated management’s discussion and analysis (“MD&A”) which are available from the Company’s website, www.argonautgold.com, in the “Investors” section under “Financial Filings”, and under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Financial Results – Fourth Quarter 2012
During the fourth quarter of 2012, revenue was $52.3 million from gold sales of 29,502 ounces. Gross profit was $26.6 million for the quarter. Cash cost per gold ounce sold in the quarter was $587 (compared to $679 for the same period in 2011). (Cash cost per gold ounce sold is a non-IFRS measure, see note below). During the quarter, profit from operations was $23.9 million. Net income for the quarter was $19.1 million or $0.19 per basic share.
Financial Results – Year End 2012
For the year ended December 31, 2012, revenue was $187.1 million from gold sales of 109,781 ounces. Gross profit was $95.2 million for the year. Cash cost per gold ounce sold in the year was $597 (compared to $622 for the same period in 2011). For the full year, profit from operations was $85.2 million. Net income for the year was $64.9 million or $0.68 per basic share.
|El Castillo Operating Statistics|
|4th Quarter||Year End|
|Tonnes ore direct to leach pad||2,033,514||2,097,980||-3||%||7,561,325||8,114,249||-7||%|
|Gold grade (g/t)||0.37||0.32||+16||%||0.39||0.33||+18||%|
|Gold loaded to leach pad (oz)||39,329||30,162||+30||%||151,462||117,939||+28||%|
|Gold produced (oz)||25,805||19,698||+31||%||87,712||72,049||+22||%|
|Gold ounces sold||23,595||20,468||+15||%||89,881||66,521||+35||%|
|Cash cost per gold ounce sold||$||661||$||679||-3||%||$||635||$||622||+2||%|
Summary of Production Results
Total tonnes mined increased by 23% for the fourth quarter 2012 over fourth quarter 2011 and 20% year over year. The total of ounces loaded to the pads increased primarily due to an increase in the mining fleet and additional east side crusher at the operation in 2012 over 2011. There were 39,329 ounces placed on the pad in the fourth quarter of 2012, representing a 30% increase from the fourth quarter of 2011. Year over year, there was a 28% increase in ounces of gold loaded to the pad.
Gold production of 25,805 ounces in the fourth quarter of 2012 was a 31% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Production in 2012 of 87,712 ounces was a 22% increase over 2011 production.
The strip ratio of waste to ore increased in the fourth quarter to 1.02 compared to 0.87 in the fourth quarter of 2011. The strip ratio for the year ended December 31, 2012 was 1.01 compared to 0.80 for the year ended December 31, 2011, reflecting a push to the southwest side of the pit.
|La Colorada Operating Statistics (1)|
|4th Quarter||Year End|
|Gold grade (g/t)||0.43||0.43|
|Gold loaded to leach pad (oz)||8,845||40,180|
|Gold produced (oz)||6,195||20,369|
|Silver produced (oz)||47,890||132,805|
|Gold ounces sold||5,907||19,900|
|Silver ounces sold||54,108||116,717|
|Cash cost per gold ounce sold||$||292||$||424|
(1) The La Colorada mine started production in the first quarter of 2012. As such, there are no comparative statistics for prior periods.
Summary of Production Results
Total tonnes moved were 2,947,525 for the fourth quarter 2012; 7,173,662 tonnes were moved during the full year 2012. There were 8,845 ounces placed on the pad in the fourth quarter of 2012. Total gold production was 20,639 ounces during the year ended December 31, 2012, coming from reprocessing run of mine ore on the pad.
Expansion Projects for 2013
The Company plans on investing a total of between $57 million to $75 million on capital expenditures and exploration initiatives in 2013. Major capital expenditures in 2013 are expected to include approximately $32 million at El Castillo, $14 million at La Colorada, $3 million at Magino, and between $3 million and $15 million at San Antonio. Exploration expenditures in 2013 are expected to amount to between $5 million and $11 million.
The Company has included a non-IFRS measure for “Cash cost per gold ounce sold” in this press release to supplement its financial statements which are presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”). Cash cost per gold ounce sold is equal to production costs less silver sales divided by gold ounces sold. The Company believes that this measure provides investors with an improved ability to evaluate the performance of the Company. Non-IFRS measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS. Therefore they may not be comparable to similar measures employed by other companies. The data 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. Please see the MD&A for full disclosure on non-IFRS measures.
Technical Information and Mineral Properties Reports
The technical information contained in this document has been prepared under supervision of, and reviewed and approved by Mr. Thomas H. Burkhart, Argonaut’s Vice President of Exploration, a qualified person as defined by National Instrument 43-101. For further information on the Company’s properties please see the reports as listed below on the Company’s website or on www.sedar.com:
|El Castillo Mine||NI 43-101 Technical Report on Resources and Reserves, Argonaut Gold Inc., El Castillo Mine, Durango State, Mexico dated November 6, 2010|
|La Colorada Mine||NI 43-101 Preliminary Economic Assessment La Colorada Project, Sonora, Mexico dated December 8, 2011|
|Magino Gold Project||NI 43-101 Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate on the Magino Gold Project, Ontario, Toronto, Canada dated October 4, 2012|
|San Antonio Gold Project||NI 43-101 Technical Report and Mineral Resource Estimate on the San Antonio Gold Project, Baja California Sur, Mexico dated October 10, 2012|
About Argonaut Gold
Argonaut Gold is a Canadian gold company engaged in exploration, mine development and production activities. Its primary assets are the production stage El Castillo Mine in Durango, Mexico and, the La Colorada Mine in Sonora, Mexico, the advanced exploration stage San Antonio project in Mexico, the recently acquired advanced exploration stage Magino project in the Province of Ontario, Canada and several exploration stage projects, all of which are located in North America.
Creating Value Beyond Gold
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements
This news release contains forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties that could cause results to differ materially from management’s current expectations. Actual results may differ materially due to a number of factors. Except as required by law, Argonaut Gold Inc. assumes no obligation to update the forward-looking information contained in this news release.