Northgate Minerals Reports Excellent Cash Flow from Operations of $56.5 Million in the Fourth Quarter of 2010admin
Northgate Minerals Corporation today announced its financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010. The Company reported adjusted net earnings of $17.2 million or $0.06 per diluted share and cash flow from operations of $56.5 million or $0.19 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of 2010.
Fourth Quarter and Year End 2010 Highlights
– Adjusted net earnings(1) of $17.2 million or $0.06 per diluted share for the fourth quarter and $19.2 million or $0.07 per diluted share
for the full year 2010.
– Excellent cash flow from operations of $56.5 million or $0.19 per diluted share for the fourth quarter, a 36% increase compared to the
same period last year.
– Production of 66,077 ounces of gold and 10.6 million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter, bringing full year production to 272,713
ounces and 40.7 million pounds, respectively, in 2010.
– Average net cash cost in the fourth quarter was $646 per ounce of gold, bringing the average net cash cost for the full year to $660
– Fourth quarter metal sales were 70,145 ounces of gold at a realized price of $1,393 per ounce and 12.4 million pounds of copper at a
realized price of $4.27 per pound.
– Northgate’s cash balance at the end of the year was $334.8 million.
– At December 31, 2010, open pit reserves at Young-Davidson increased
by over 20% to 325,000 ounces of gold.
– Recently released an updated NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate for the Kemess Underground project with an Indicated Resource of 136.5 million tonnes (“Mt”) containing 2.6 million ounces of gold and
860.6 million pounds of copper.
– At the end of February, Northgate announced the sale of its entire portfolio of auction rate securities (“ARS”) for total consideration
of $40.9 million.
“We finished the 2010 year strong with solid operating and financial results, posting excellent cash flow from operations of $56.5 million in the fourth quarter” commented Ken Stowe, Northgate’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We also started 2011 on a positive note. In February, we released an updated resource estimate for the Kemess Underground project, which now contains an indicated resource of 2.6 million ounces of gold and 861 million pounds of copper. The project represents a significant organic growth opportunity for the company and would boost our growing production profile. We are also pleased to report that open pit reserves have increased by over 20% to 325,000 ounces at Young-Davidson. We look forward to the year ahead, where ongoing exploration at Young-Davidson is expected to further add to the current 15-year mine-life.”
Revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010 was a record $148.7 million, compared with revenue of $110.7 million in the same period last year. The record revenue in the most recent quarter was attributable to strong metal sales and higher realized metal prices. For the full year 2010, Northgate recorded consolidated revenue of $485.0 million.
Adjusted net earnings for the fourth quarter were $17.2 million or $0.06 per diluted share. For the full year 2010, Northgate reported adjusted net earnings of $19.2 million or $0.07 per diluted share. Adjusted net earnings do not include certain non-cash items from its calculation of net earnings prepared in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles (“Canadian GAAP”). Northgate has provided this figure as it may be a useful indicator to investors.
The net loss for the fourth quarter was $72.0 million, compared with a net loss of $67.8 million in the corresponding period last year. The fourth quarter net loss includes a non-cash impairment charge of $76.9 million for the Fosterville Gold mine in Victoria, Australia, and a negative mark-to-market hedging adjustment of $12.0 million relating to Northgate’s copper forward sales contracts, which were put into place in order to secure a significant portion of cash inflow over Kemess South’s remaining mine-life.
During the fourth quarter of 2010, Northgate’s cash flow from operations increased by 36% to $56.5 million or $0.19 per diluted share. For the full year 2010, Northgate generated cash flow from operations of $87.3 million or $0.30 per diluted share.
During the year, Northgate’s cash and cash equivalents increased by $81.3 million. Our strong balance sheet now boasts cash and cash equivalents of $334.8 million at the end of 2010.
Sale of Auction Rate Securities
At the end of February, Northgate announced the sale of its entire portfolio of ARS for total consideration of approximately $40.9 million. At December 31, 2010, Northgate had estimated the fair market value of its ARS at $36.0 million based on an independent third-party valuation. The proceeds from the sale were used to repay, in full, the outstanding balance of the loan of approximately $40.0 million. The loan was originally made by Lehman Brothers Inc. (“Lehman”), which was collateralized by the ARS held in the Corporation’s investment account managed by Lehman. The loan and associated ARS account were subsequently acquired by Barclays plc in September 2008 as part of its court-approved purchase of the assets of then-bankrupt Lehman.
Organic Growth at Kemess Underground
In February, Northgate released a new resource estimate for its Kemess Underground Project, located five kilometres (“km”) north of the Kemess South mine. The new resource estimate represents an 18% increase in tonnes, a 10% increase in contained gold and a 9% increase in contained copper when compared to the May 2010 resource. The total Indicated Resource now stands at 136.5 Mt containing 2.6 million ounces of gold and 860.6 million pounds of copper.
Northgate has engaged an independent mining consulting firm to complete technical studies, which will be incorporated into a Preliminary Assessment and will be used to determine the economics and development concept for the Kemess Underground Project that could be milled using the existing Kemess facilities. Production at Kemess Underground would further strengthen Northgate’s growing production profile and significantly reduce the Corporation’s average net cash cost of production.
Sale of Kemess South Equipment
As mining activities come to a close at the Kemess South mine, Northgate has appointed an international mining services firm to market for sale its open pit mining fleet and some limited milling infrastructure that will no longer be needed once production ceases. Northgate will continue to maintain a majority of its Kemess milling facilities for the development and operation currently being contemplated at Kemess Underground.
Results from Operations
The results from operations for the fourth quarter and year ended 2010 follows on the press release dated January 13, 2011, when Northgate released production figures for the same periods. The results from operations contained in this press release should be read in conjunction with Northgate’s fourth quarter MD&A report, available on our website at www.northgateminerals.com.
Fosterville Gold Mine
Fosterville achieved quarterly production of 23,108 ounces of gold, which was better than forecast, due to higher than expected ore grades in the stopes that were mined. For the second straight year, production at Fosterville exceeded the 100,000-ounce mark, producing 100,441 ounces of gold in 2010. The average net cash cost of production for the fourth quarter and full year 2010 was $856 and $738 per ounce, respectively, in line with the most recent forecast. However, the net cash cost was impacted by the substantial appreciation of the Australian dollar during the year. The Australian dollar averaged slightly below parity with the US dollar for the last three months of 2010.
During the fourth quarter of 2010, a total of 163,404 tonnes of ore were mined for a total 729,080 tonnes mined in 2010. Also during the quarter, mill throughput was excellent, achieving a record 214,593 tonnes of ore. As a result, overall unit operating costs dropped to A$93 per tonne of ore milled compared to $101 per tonne in the same period last year. Mill throughput for all of 2010 was 817,535 tonnes of ore, which was better than the 781,879 tonnes milled last year.
For the full year 2010, the mill head grade was 4.57 grams per tonne (g/t). Gold recoveries averaged 82% for the year, slightly lower than forecast as a result of processing low-grade stockpile ore.
In 2011, production at Fosterville is forecast to be in the range of 97,000 – 102,000 ounces of gold.
Impairment Charges for Fosterville
At the end of each year, Northgate re-estimates reserves at all of its properties and revises its life-of-mine (“LOM”) plans. LOM plans incorporate management assumptions and estimates of revenues and related costs, as well as the conversion of a portion of resources to reserves over the LOM. When this annual exercise was performed in early 2011, there were indicators of impairment at the Fosterville Gold mine. In accordance with Canadian GAAP, a recoverability test was performed for the long-lived assets, which identified them as potentially impaired as of December 31, 2010. The fair value of the Fosterville mine as at December 31, 2010 was established by using a LOM discounted cash flow model incorporating the following assumptions: gold prices of A$1,350/oz for 2011, A$1,300/oz for 2012 to 2013, A$1,250/oz for 2014 to 2015 and A$1,200/oz thereafter; a discount rate of 6.5%; and, a net asset value multiplier of 1.0x.
As a result of this analysis, an impairment charge of $76.9 million was recorded in earnings for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2010.
Stawell Gold Mine
During the year, the Stawell Gold mine steadily improved operations since its low in the second quarter, producing 17,882 ounces of gold at a net cash cost of $1,129 per ounce. Production for the entire year totalled 71,482 ounces at an average net cash cost of $969 per ounce. The net cash cost for 2010 was negatively impacted primarily by lower than forecast production resulting from lower than expected ore grades and also by a stronger Australian dollar relative to the US dollar. Production in 2011 is expected to increase by at least 20% from 2010 to between 86,000 – 91,000 ounces of gold. In years 2012 and 2013, this improvement in production is expected to continue with production forecast to be in the range of 105,000 – 117,000 ounces as ore is increasingly sourced from the higher-grade GG6 zone. The net cash cost of production is also expected to decrease from 2010 by approximately 15% in 2011 and 20% in 2012 as ore is sourced from the higher-grade GG6 zone.
During the quarter, mine production improved to 209,644 tonnes of ore and mine development advanced 1,506 m. In addition, the mill performed extremely well, with approximately 211,405 tonnes of ore milled during the quarter, which was the highest quarterly throughput for the year. Mining costs were A$66 per tonne of ore mined and milling costs were A$23 per tonne of ore milled. For all of 2010, mill throughput of 826,454 tonnes of ore was achieved, which was 9% higher than mill throughput of 759,819 tonnes in 2009.
The Kemess South mine posted production of 25,087 ounces of gold and 10.6 million pounds of copper in the fourth quarter of 2010, bringing full year production to 100,790 ounces of gold and 40.7 million pounds of copper, which was in line with forecast. The net cash costs for the fourth quarter and full year 2010 were $109 and $363 per ounce, respectively, which were slightly higher than forecast due to lower copper production in the fourth quarter of the year.
The Kemess South mine is scheduled to close in March 2011. Total gold and copper production for 2011 is anticipated to be 12,000 ounces and 5.3 million pounds, respectively, at a net cash cost of $285 per ounce of gold. With the recent surge of copper prices in the first quarter of 2011, the net cash cost may be lower than previously forecast.
At December 31, 2010, Northgate reported Proven and Probable reserves of 3.6 million ounces.
At Young-Davidson, open pit reserves increased by over 20% to 325,000 ounces. Underground reserves at the end of 2010 remained unchanged at 26.2 million tonnes containing 2.5 million ounces of gold, as no revisions were made to price assumptions used for the mine plan.
During 2010, Northgate undertook a $3 million exploration program to better define the geometry and grade of the high-grade core of the Kemess North deposit for the purposes of evaluating the potential for mining a portion of the original 719 million tonne resource using bulk underground methods. As at December 31, 2010, a new indicated resource has been estimated for the Kemess Underground Project of 136.5 million tonnes containing 2.6 million ounces of gold at a grade of 0.56 g/t and 860.6 million pounds of copper at a grade of 0.29%. The total resource at Kemess Underground has increased by 18% in tonnes, 10% in contained gold and 9% in contained copper from the May 2010 resource estimate. Engineering studies are currently underway to determine the feasibility of converting a portion of this resource into a reserve.
At the Fosterville mine, reserves decreased slightly to 3.1 million tonnes containing 475,000 ounces. Fosterville was successful in resource to reserve conversion of approximately 100,000 ounces as a result of extending the Phoenix and Harrier orebodies (approximately 73,000 ounces) and from infill drilling within Phoenix (approximately 24,000 ounces). However, resource conversion was offset by mining depletion of 124,000 ounces during the course of 2010.
Indicated Resources at Fosterville increased by 65,000 ounces to 470,000 ounces as a result of successful drilling within the Phoenix and Harrier orebodies.
At Stawell, Proven and Probable Reserves at December 31, 2010 stood at 2.0 million tonnes containing 234,000 ounces. During the year, approximately 86,000 ounces were mined with a conversion of approximately 33,000 ounces to reserves to partially offset mine depletion.
Notes to Mineral Reserves and Resources
1. Mineral reserves and mineral resources for Kemess South, Kemess Underground and Young-Davidson have been estimated in accordance with the definitions contained in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (“CIM”) Standards and National Instrument
43-101 (“NI 43-101″).
2. Mineral reserves and mineral resources for Fosterville and Stawell have been estimated in accordance with the AusIMM JORC Code and have
been reconciled to CIM Standards as prescribed by NI 43-101.
3. All mineral resources are exclusive of mineral reserves.
4. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have
demonstrated economic viability.
5. Mineral reserves and resources are rounded to 1,000 tonnes, 0.01 g/t gold and 1,000 ounces. Minor discrepancies in summations may occur
due to rounding.
6. Mineral reserves were calculated using the following parameters:
– Kemess South: exchange rate Cdn$/US$1.03; gold price $1,300/oz; copper price $4.00/lb; and, silver price $15.00/oz. Operating assumptions were as follows: gold recovery 57.5%; copper recovery 77.8%; mining costs Cdn$1.20/tonne; milling costs Cdn$4.00/tonne;
and, G&A costs Cdn$1.50/tonne.
– Young-Davidson: Underground mineral reserves were estimated using an average long-term gold price of $725/oz (Cdn$853/oz). A 1.7 g/t gold cut-off grade was applied to the underground resource model for the sublevel cave and longhole shrinkage mining methods based on 15% dilution, mining costs of Cdn$21.74, process costs of Cdn$11.40, G&A costs of Cdn$2.75 and a gold recovery of 92.5%. A 2.3 g/t gold cut-off grade was applied to the longhole retreat mining method to account for the additional capital development and lower productivity of this mining method. The open pit gold cut-off considers ore-based operating costs of $12.11/tonne (processing and G&A), a gold recovery of 91%, a $0.68/tonne stockpile rehandle cost and royalty costs as appropriate. A 0.62 g/t cut-off was applied within royalty free claims, 0.68 g/t cut-off and 0.69 g/t cut-off applied to claims subject to royalty agreements. For open pit reserves, the following parameters were used: exchange rate Cdn$/US$1.00, gold price $1,200/oz, a 91.5% gold recovery and a Cdn$18.82/tonne open pit operating cost to estimate a breakeven cut-off of approximately 0.6 g/t gold. A minimum true thickness of approximately five metres was employed
in defining the mineralized drill intercepts.
– Fosterville: gold price A$1,165/oz; cut-off grade applied was variable for underground ore depending on width, mining method and ground conditions; dilution of 5%-30% and mining recovery of 70%-
100% were applied depending on mining method.
– Stawell: gold price A$1,165/oz; cut-off grade applied was variable for underground ore depending upon width, mining method and ground conditions. Wonga surface and Magdala surface above 130 mRL and
above, a nominal 0.8 g/t gold cut-off was applied.
7. Mineral resources were calculated using the following parameters:
– Young-Davidson: Mineral resources were estimated using an average long-term gold price of $750/oz (Cdn$806/oz). Underground mineralized wireframes constructed based on approximately a 1.70 g/t gold cut-off grade, a 1.3 g/t incremental cut-off grade and a minimum true thickness of three metres. Open pit mineralized wireframes constructed based on approximately a 0.60 g/t gold cut-
off grade and a minimum true thickness of five metres.
– Kemess Underground: Mineral resources were estimated using an average long-term exchange rate Cdn$/US$1.00, gold price of $1,100/oz, copper price of $ 2.80/lb and silver of $20.00/oz. Gold
recoveries of 68% and copper recoveries of 90% were used.
– Fosterville: gold price A$1,250/oz; cut-off grade applied were 0.5 g/t gold for oxide, 1.0 g/t gold for near-surface sulphide (above 5050mRL) and 3.0 g/t gold for underground sulphide (below
– Stawell: gold price A$1,250/oz; Wonga Surface and Magdala surface above 130 mRL and above, a nominal 0.8 g/t gold cut-off was
8. Mineral reserve estimates were prepared by:
– Kemess South: Gordon Skrecky, Chief Mine Geologist, Kemess mine. Mr. Skrecky is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia and has over 24
years of experience in mineral resource estimation.
– Young-Davidson: Underground mineral reserve estimates were prepared by Gary Taylor, Mining Manager, AMEC Americas Limited (“Amec”), Jay Melnyk, Principal Mining Manager, Amec, and Carl Edmunds, Exploration Manager, Northgate Minerals Corporation. Mr. Taylor is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers of Saskatchewan and the Association of Professional Engineers of the Province of Manitoba and has over 37 years of relevant geological experience. Mr. Melnyk is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia and has over 20 years of relevant geological experience. Mr. Edmunds is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of British Columbia and has 23 years of experience in mineral resource estimation. Open pit mineral reserve estimates were prepared by Jim Grey, GR Technical Services Ltd. Mr. Gray is a member of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the province of British Columbia, the Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta and the Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and has over 31 years of relevant engineering
– Fosterville: Ion Hann, Mining Manager, Northgate and Marcus Binks, Processing Manager, Northgate. Mr. Hann is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and has over 20 years of relevant engineering experience. Mr. Binks is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and has over
18 years of relevant metallurgical experience.
– Stawell: Austin Hemphill, Mine Technical Superintendent, Northgate. Mr. Hemphill is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and has over eight years of relevant
9. Mineral resource estimates were prepared by:
– Young-Davidson: Carl Edmunds, Exploration Manager, Northgate.
– Kemess Underground: Northgate’s geological staff, which includes a number of individuals who are Qualified Persons as defined under NI 43-101 and under the supervision of Carl Edmunds, Exploration
– Fosterville: Simon Hitchman, District Exploration Geologist, Northgate and Paul Napier, Senior Mine Geologist, Northgate. Mr. Hitchman is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and the Australian Institute of Geoscientists and has over 24 years of relevant geological experience. Mr. Napier is a member of the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy and
has 13 years of relevant geological experience.
– Stawell: Mark Haydon, Geology Manager, Stawell Gold Mines. Mr. Haydon is a member of the Australasian Institute of Geoscientists
and has over 16 years of relevant geological experience.
Q4 and Year End 2010 Financial Results – Conference Call and Webcast
You are invited to participate in today’s live conference call and webcast discussing our fourth quarter and year-end financial results. The conference call and webcast will be held at 10:00 am Toronto time.
You may participate in our conference call by calling 647-427-7450 or toll free in North America at 1-888-231-8191. To ensure your participation, please call five minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call.
A live audio webcast and presentation package will be available on Northgate’s homepage at www.northgateminerals.com.
For those unable to participate in the conference call at the scheduled time, a replay of the conference call will be available beginning on March 8, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. ET until March 15, 2011 at 11:59 p.m. ET.
Replay Access # 416-849-0833 Passcode: 432 128 03 #
Replay Access # 800-642-1687 Passcode: 432 128 03 #
A podcast will also be made available at http://podcast.newswire.ca/feeds/newswire/97360-en.xml.
Northgate Minerals Corporation is a gold and copper producer with mining operations, development projects and exploration properties in Canada and Australia. Our vision is to be the leading intermediate gold producer by identifying, acquiring, developing and operating profitable, long-life mining properties.
The program design, implementation, quality assurance/quality control and interpretation of the results are under the control of Northgate’s geological staff, which includes a number of individuals who are qualified persons as defined under NI 43-101. Carl Edmunds, PGeo, Northgate’s Exploration Manager, has reviewed the geologic content of this release.
Note to Investors:
The terms “Qualified Person”, “Mineral Reserve”, “Proven Mineral Reserve”, “Probable Mineral Reserve”, “Mineral Resource”, “Measured Mineral Resource”, “Indicated Mineral Resource”, and “Inferred Mineral Resource” used in this news release are defined in accordance with NI 43-101. All mineral resources are exclusive of mineral reserves. Mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.