(All amounts expressed in US dollars, unless otherwise stated)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, April 26, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Atico Mining Corporation (the “Company” or “Atico”) (TSX.V: ATY | OTC: ATCMF) today announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2021, posting income from mining operations of $28.0 million and a net income of $7.0 million. Production for the year at Atico’s El Roble mine totaled 18.1 million pounds (“lbs”) of copper and 11,018 ounces (“oz”) of gold in concentrate at a cash cost(1) of $1.45 per payable pound of copper(2).
Fernando E. Ganoza, CEO and Director, commented, “At the beginning of the year, the operation had a very rough start due to extreme weather conditions and equipment failure. However, the team was able to turn things around at mid-year, making up for most of lost production to reach our 2021 budget. As a result, along with a very strong metal price environment, the Company achieved its highest single year revenue and income from operations since inception. These results continue to strengthen our balance sheet and cash position.” Mr. Ganoza continued, “Over at the La Plata project the Company successfully consolidated 100% ownership while fast tracking development and permitting of the asset with the support of the Ecuadorian government. In 2022, the main focus will be on extending the life of mine at El Roble while in parallel putting tremendous emphasis on advancing La Plata towards a construction decision.”
2021 Consolidated Financial Highlights
- Net income for the year ended December 31, 2021, amounted to $7.0 million, compared with $8.4 million for last year. The increase in income from operations was offset by higher income taxes, higher interest and G&A expenses, and losses from metal hedging and foreign exchange, as compared to 2020.
- Sales for the year increased 22% to $72.7 million when compared with 2020. Copper (“Cu”) and gold (“Au”) accounted for 89% and 11% of the 38,783 (2020 – 43,150) dry metric tones of concentrate sold during the year. The Company ended the year with 8,202 dry metric tones of concentrate in inventory (December 31, 2020 – 4,824).
- The average realized price per metal on provisional invoicing was $4.24 (2020 – $2.87) per pound of copper and $1,790 (2020 – $1,802) per ounce of gold.
- Working capital was $13.7 million (2020 – $22.5 million), while the Company had $6.0 million (2020 – $6.8 million) in long-term loans payable and convertible debenture.
- Cash costs(1) were $119.31 per tonne of processed ore and $1.45 per pound of payable copper produced(2), increases of 14% and 37% over the previous year, respectively.
- Income from operations was $21.4 million (2020 – $12.8 million) while cash flow from operations, before changes in working capital, was $22.7 million (2020 – $20.3 million). Cash used for capital expenditures amounted to $19.1 million (2020 – $10.9 million).
- All-in sustaining cash cost per payable pound of copper produced(1)(2) for the year was $2.36 (2020 – $1.53).
2021 Consolidated Operating Highlights and Review
- Ore processed decreased 1% year-on-year;
- Copper head-grade decreased 12% year-on-year;
- Concentrate production decreased 5% year-on-year;
- Copper metal production decreased 12% year-on-year; and
- Gold metal production increased 2% year-on-year.
The Company has come in just below its copper production target while meeting almost all other operational goals set for El Roble mine in 2021. During the first half of 2021, the Company faced a number of weather-related challenges due to a very strong and persistent rainy season in the region. At the mid-year point, the Company made an important turnaround and was able to make up for almost all of the shortfall during the second half of 2021.
In 2021, the Company produced 18.1 million lbs of copper, 11,018 oz of gold, and 40,238 oz of silver. When compared to same period in 2020, production decreased by 12% for copper and increased 2% for gold. The decrease for copper is mostly explained by 12% decrease in processed head-grade along operational setbacks in the first half of the year caused by challenging weather conditions.
Cash costs(1) were $119.31 per tonne of processed ore and $1.45 per pound of payable copper produced(2), which were increases of 14% and 37% over 2020, respectively (refer to non-GAAP Financial Measures). The increase in cash costs per tonne processed compared to the prior year is mainly explained by a higher price of energy, more back-filling required at the mine, the operation of the new tailings-filtering plant and some tailing-rehandling required prior to completion of the new dry-stack tailings facility. The increase in cash cost per pound of payable copper produced is also explained by lower processed head-grade for copper than in prior year, resulting in lower payable copper production, and an increase in transportation costs. The all-in sustaining cash cost net of by-product credits(1)(2) was $2.36 per pound of payable copper produced, which represents a 54% increase over 2020.
2021 Consolidated Operational Details
|Production(Contained in Concentrates)(3)|
|Copper (000s pounds)||4,385||4,312||4,442||4,928||18,067|
|Tonnes of ore mined||64,101||71,437||76,276||74,864||286,678|
|Tonnes processed per day||954||892||919||908||918|
|Copper grade (%)||3.15||3.10||2.80||3.23||3.06|
|Gold grade (g/t)||1.76||2.00||2.02||2.16||1.98|
|Silver grade (g/t)||6.77||9.04||8.27||8.44||8.14|
|Copper Concentrates (dmt)||10,366||10,020||10,704||11,159||42,249|
|Payable copper produced (000s lb)||4,166||4,070||4,182||4,682||17,100|
|Cash cost per pound of payable copper(1)(2)($/lb)||1.71||1.33||1.40||1.36||1.45|
The financial statements and MD&A are available on SEDAR and have also been posted on the company’s website at http://www.aticomining.com/s/FinancialStatements.asp
Fourth Quarter Financial Highlights
During the quarter, the Company generated sales of $8.1 million, where copper accounted for 91% and gold for 9%. The average realized price per metal on provisional invoicing was $4.37 per pound of copper and $1,803 per ounce of gold. Cash flow used in operations, before changes in working capital, for the quarter was $5.1 million. Cash costs(1) for the quarter were $123.03 per tonne of processed ore and $1.36 per pound of payable copper produced(2), increases of 13% and 32% over Q4-2020, respectively.
Annual General Meeting
Atico Mining cordially invites all shareholders to its Annual General and Special Meeting of Shareholders, at 10:00 am, Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at Suite 501 – 543 Granville Street, Vancouver, British Columbia. This year, to proactively deal with the unprecedented health impact of the novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, to mitigate risks to the health and safety of our communities, shareholders, employees, and other stakeholders, and in compliance with current government direction and advice, the meeting will be held by teleconference.
The Company announced in its press release dated July 22, 2021 and then again on December 29 2021, that it is in the process of renewing the title on its claim hosting the El Roble mine in Colombia, which under the current agreement was set to expire in January 2022. This process is still ongoing and the company can continue operating while the renewal process is defined by the authorities. The Company is working diligently with the authorities who have confirmed all the renewal requirements have been fulfilled. However, at this time, the title has not been renewed and there is no assurance that it will be renewed, in which case the outcome would be materially adverse for the Company since it will have no cash flow from operations and will be required to change its priorities.
At the La Plata Project in Ecuador, the Company’s current focus is on concluding the Feasibility Study which is near completion. In parallel, the Company has completed and presented the Environmental Impact Study to the Ecuadorian authorities for review and approval. This effort is being complemented by advancing towards securing the necessary permits and licenses to begin construction.
El Roble Mine
The El Roble mine is a high grade, underground copper and gold mine with nominal processing plant capacity of 1,000 tonnes per day, located in the Department of Choco in Colombia. Its commercial product is a copper-gold concentrate.
Since obtaining control of the mine on November 22, 2013, Atico has upgraded the operation from a historical nominal capacity of 400 tonnes per day.
El Roble has Proven and Probable reserves of 1.00 million tonnes grading 3.02% copper and 1.76 g/t gold, at a cut-off grade of 1.3% copper equivalent with an effective date of September 30, 2020. Mineralization is open at depth and along strike and the Company plans to further test the limits of the deposit. On the larger land package, the Company has identified a prospective stratigraphic contact between volcanic rocks and black and grey pelagic sediments and cherts that has been traced by Atico geologists for ten kilometers. This contact has been determined to be an important control on VMS mineralization on which Atico has identified numerous target areas prospective for VMS type mineralization occurrence, which is the focus of the current surface drill program at El Roble.
La Plata Overview
Atico’s wholly-owned La Plata project is a gold rich volcanogenic massive sulphide deposit that was the subject of small-scale mining from 1975-1981 by Outokumpu Finland. The project benefits from a modern drill and exploration database which was completed by Cambior Inc. from 1996-1999, Cornerstone Capital from 2006-2009 and Toachi from 2016-2019.
Toachi Mining completed a PEA estimating an inferred resource of 1.85 million tonnes grading 4.10 grams gold per tonne, 50.0 grams silver per tonne, 3.30% copper, 4.60% zinc and 0.60% lead per tonne.
The La Plata project consists of two concessions covering a total area of 2,235 hectares along its 4-kilometer length, which contains known mineralization in two VMS lenses and nine priority exploration targets.
Mr. Thomas Kelly (SME Registered Member 1696580), advisor to the Company and a qualified person under National Instrument 43-101 standards, is responsible for ensuring that the technical information contained in this news release is an accurate summary of the original reports and data provided to or developed by Atico.
About Atico Mining Corporation
Atico is a growth-oriented Company, focused on exploring, developing and mining copper and gold projects in Latin America. The Company generates significant cash flow through the operation of the El Roble mine and is developing it’s high-grade La Plata VMS project in Ecuador. The Company is also pursuing additional acquisition of advanced stage opportunities. For more information, please visit www.aticomining.com.
ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD
Fernando E. Ganoza
Atico Mining Corporation
Trading symbols: TSX.V: ATY | OTC: ATCMF
Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
No securities regulatory authority has either approved or disapproved of the contents of this news release. The securities being offered have not been, and will not be, registered under the United States Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the ‘‘U.S. Securities Act’’), or any state securities laws, and may not be offered or sold in the United States, or to, or for the account or benefit of, a “U.S. person” (as defined in Regulation S of the U.S. Securities Act) unless pursuant to an exemption therefrom. This press release is for information purposes only and does not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy any securities of the Company in any jurisdiction.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward Looking Statements
This announcement includes certain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, included herein, without limitation the use of net proceeds, are forward-looking statements. Forward- looking statements involve various risks and uncertainties and are based on certain factors and assumptions. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the Company’s expectations include uncertainties as to the timing and process for renewal of title to the El Roble claims; uncertainties relating to interpretation of drill results and the geology, continuity and grade of mineral deposits; uncertainty of estimates of capital and operating costs; the need to obtain additional financing to maintain its interest in and/or explore and develop the Company’s mineral projects; uncertainty of meeting anticipated program milestones for the Company’s mineral projects; the world-wide economic and social impact of COVID-19 is managed and the duration and extent of the coronavirus pandemic is minimized or not long-term; disruptions related to the COVID-19 pandemic or other health and safety issues, or the responses of governments, communities, the Company and others to such pandemic or other issues; and other risks and uncertainties disclosed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2021 as filed on SEDAR and as available on the Company’s website for further details, and in the prospectus of the Company dated March 2, 2012 filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
The items marked with a “(1)” are alternative performance measures and readers should refer to Non-GAAP Financial Measures in the Company’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2021, as filed on SEDAR and as available on the Company’s website for further details.
(1) Alternative performance measures; please refer to “Non-GAAP Financial Measures” at the end of this release.
(2) Net of by-product credits
(3) Subject to adjustments on final settlement