Russell Hallbauer, President & CEO
Good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us today.
My comments are going to be brief as our results speak for themselves as they did last quarter and are clearly illustrated in our press release. However, some important points to notice: revenue in the quarter was a CAD 104 million, up CAD 10 million from the CAD 94 million achieved in Q4 2016 despite sales being similar quarter-over-quarter.
Correspondingly, EBITDA was up from CAD 46 million to CAD 53 million. Effectively in the last six months, we’ve generated nearly CAD 90 million in earnings from mining operations. And our average selling price over the past six months was approximately $2.50 a pound and an exchange rate of approximately CAD 1.32 to $1 over this period given an average Canadian selling price of CAD 3.30 a pound.
Over the past week or so, we have seen a lot of volatility on the Canadian â€“ in the copper space. The Canadian
denominated price has been as high as CAD 3.65 per pound. So while we can’t predict copper price in U.S. denominated dollars, we have a very good heads in terms of revenue in Canadian dollar terms against the backdrop of U.S. price volatility.
Our total spending at Gibraltar has been very consistent over the last two years quarter-over-quarter and we believe that this level of spending will continue. We have very good C1 cost as is evident from our recent results, where we’ve seen by-product credits increase from CAD 0.03 per pound in Q1 2016 to CAD 0.15 per pound in this most recent quarter after we started our moly plant a number of months ago.
We anticipate moly prices to remain near the levels we experienced in this quarter and we expect C1 costs to remain at present levels dependent on moly prices, exchange rates, milling cost performance, all things equal.
Recovery was somewhat affected by the processing of some higher oxidized ores in the period, as we began a new
push-back and that that to some degree also affected mill throughput tonnage. Generally speaking, everything at Gibraltar is working the way we want it to and we anticipate being able to generate very good cash flows for the foreseeable future.
We have complete control over our mining and milling processes, and subsequent control of costs. I would bet a dollar to a doughnut, no other open pit mine, any in the world has cost per ton milled at roughly $6.50 a ton as we do and this is ultimately what is driving our profitability at Gibraltar.
We continue to spend money on our projects, advancing all of them. At Florence, we are drilling point of compliance wells and we anticipate spending a few million dollars per quarter over the next few quarters there. We are excited we are coming to the end of our Permian process and are looking forward to moving the production test facility toward completion in the months ahead.
At Aley, we are working on metallurgical studies and we expect to have a new 43-101 published in the not too distant future. As well, we are in discussions on off-take with Chinese steel representatives and we’ll see where that goes in the months ahead.
We are continuing to work with the provincial government on permits for more work on our New Prosperity project,
while at the same time, we await the judge’s decision on our court challenges to the panel for report findings.
With that, I would like to now turn the call over to Stuart.
Stuart McDonald, CFO
Thanks, Russ, and good morning, everyone.
We’re pleased to report another quarter of strong earnings and cash flow generation. First quarter earnings from mine operations before depreciation were $53 million and adjusted EBITDA was $48 million. These results represent a second consecutive quarter of strong earnings as a result of improved metal prices and production at Gibraltar.
Quarterly revenues were $104 million from the sale of 30 million pounds of copper and just over 600,000 pounds of
molybdenum, and those amounts represent a 75% share of Gibraltar sales volumes. Our realized sales price was $2.72 per pound and that includes $0.07 a pound related to positive provisional price adjustments which arose in the quarter because of the increase in copper price.
Total operating cost fell to $1.33 per pound produced, 10% lower than the previous quarter of $1.48 as a result of
increased copper production and higher by-product moly prices. We also capitalized $12 million of stripping cost in the quarter. That’s an accounting allocation that will vary from time-to-time depending on mining activity, but it’s
important to note that our total site spending, which includes capitalized strip and operating costs has been maintained at a low level in recent quarters.
Other significant items on the first quarter P&L include a $2.7 million unrealized foreign exchange gain on our U.S.
dollar denominated debt and a $1.6 million unrealized derivative loss due to increase in copper prices.
GAAP net income for the quarter was $16.5 million or $0.07 a share, and after adjusting for unrealized foreign
exchange and derivative losses we are reporting adjusted net income of $15.3 million, which is also $0.07 per share.
Turning to cash flows now, Taseko generated operating cash flow of $80 million in the quarter. That amount is net of $12 million of negative working capital adjustments related to increased accounts receivable. Our operating cash flows also include $44 million of cash proceeds from a sale of a silver stream to Osisko Gold Royalties. The stream
transaction effectively monetizes our 75% share of Gibraltar’s silver, which immediately strengthens our balance sheet and has a minimal impact on our cost structure going forward. In fact, you’ll see in our Q1 numbers that the increase in molybdenum prices more than offset the lost silver by-product credit.
CapEx in the period included $12 million for capitalized stripping and $3 million of project costs at Florence and Aley.
We also spent CAD 5 million on capital lease payments, and we continue to steadily pay that debt down. We ended the first quarter with a cash balance of a CAD 149 million, which is a CAD 60 million increase over the quarter, and the current prices will continue generating positive cash flow over the remainder of the year.