Russell E. Hallbauer
Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. My comments, as they were last quarter, are going to be brief as our results clearly speak for themselves.
This quarter, Gibraltar sold roughly 40 million pounds of copper in concentrate, approximately the same as we did in Q1. Moly production was down slightly as a result of lower head grades.
Site spending continue to be well maintained. It’s just under CAD 8 per ton milled and has been consistently under
CAD 10 per ton milled since Q2 2015. As a result, we’ve generated CAD 62 million of cash flow from mining
operations in Q2, which resulted in adjusted EBITDA of CAD 43 million and adjusted earnings of CAD 0.06 per share.
Over the last nine months, the company has generated approximately CAD 192 million of operating cash flow and
CAD 147 million of earnings from mining operations, which is a pretty stellar performance.
We anticipate our financial performance, as exhibited over the last three quarters, to continue in the quarters ahead. As it appears, the copper price wants to advance well above the prices we have received in Q1 and Q2, and that’s reflected in the price today of approximately US$2.88 per pound.
While the copper market appears to be balanced at this time, the anticipated deficit so long talked about is beginning to present itself. And we anticipate higher prices in the months ahead based on no shocks to the macroeconomic system of the world and in particular China. Thus, fluctuations in our head grade quarter-over-quarter and quarterly metal production will be largely offset by strengthening copper and moly prices.
As most of you know, the wildfire situation in and around Williams Lake resulted in evacuation orders for many
communities, including Williams Lake itself. These evacuation orders affected our employees’ ability to come to work.
This in turn affected Gibraltar and our production in July. We have effectively returned to normal operations over the past week as evacuation orders have been lifted. And I might add, our staff at site has done a stellar job in keeping the operation running over that very difficult period of time.
It’s too early at this juncture to tell the effects on our mine plan as we need to reconcile overall head grades with ore
mined, with the ore we’ve mined from the pit during this period, along with the stockpile feed and those interactions of the two various feeds. However, looking forward to the 40,000-foot level, we anticipate being able to sell roughly 36 million to 37 million pounds of copper in concentrate in Q3. And as a result of the rise in copper prices we have seen recently, we anticipate revenue in Q3 and our operating margins to be similar to those generated this quarter.
We are continuing to advance Florence with on-the-ground-activity. We’ve approximately CAD 9 million
worth of equipment onsite for the PTF. We’ve completed a number of point of compliance wells. And as we look
through on where copper prices are going, how our balance sheet looks as we do and develop our 2018 budget, I
anticipate asking the board for approval to begin construction of the planned facility sometime in the next quarter or so.
So we’re excited about moving forward on that project.
In New Prosperity, we’re working with the BCEAO on our permit amendment, and they have just been given a permit from the BC Ministry of Energy Mines to do more investigative work on the site there in the tailings pond basin, which will help us develop a better understanding of the geotechnical aspects of the basin and the ore body, so we can advance discussions and the path forward for Prosperity.
With that, I’d like to now turn the call over to Stuart.
Stuart D. McDonald
Thanks, Russ, and good morning, everyone. It’s certainly been another quarter â€“ or another strong quarter in
terms of financial performance, and I can provide a few more details on the second quarter numbers, as well as our recent debt refinancing.
Earnings from mine operations before depreciation were CAD 46 million in the second quarter and adjusted EBITDA was CAD 43 million. We’ve now had three consecutive quarters of strong earnings with CAD 135 million of adjusted EBITDA over the last nine months as a result of increased metal production and prices.
Second quarter revenues were CAD 100 million from the sale of 30 million pounds of copper, approximately 600,000 pounds of moly, and those amounts are reported on a 75% basis based on our share of Gibraltar. The realized copper sales price was CAD 2.61 per pound for the second quarter. And since the end of the quarter, copper prices had a great run and are currently 11% higher than the average LME price in Q2.
Total operating costs were $1.31 per pound U.S., which is similar to the previous quarter, and 37% lower than the
second quarter of 2016 due to increased copper and moly production, and a higher allocation of capitalized stripping
cost. We capitalized CAD 18 million of stripping costs in the quarter, which relates to waste stripping activity and a new section of the Granite pit.
Other significant items on the second quarter P&L include a CAD 6.2 million unrealized foreign exchange gain on our U.S. dollar debt, a CAD 13.1 million loss related to the refinancing of our long-term debt, and CAD 4.9 million loss on our copper call option that was previously issued to a lender and cancelled this quarter.
GAAP net income for the second quarter was CAD 5.2 million, or CAD 0.06 per share. Adjusted net income was CAD 14.3 million, or CAD 0.06 per share, and that excludes the unrealized foreign exchange gain, the accounting losses on the settlement of debt, and the copper call option and related tax adjustments.
Turning to the cash flow statement now. Taseko has generated CAD 102 million of cash from operating and investing activities in the first half of this year, which includes CAD 44 million from the sale of a silver stream in Q1. In June, we used CAD 72 million of that cash, along with the proceeds of a new senior secured note offering, to redeem our US$200 million senior notes at par value to repay the Red Kite secured credit facility and a related copper call option, and for transaction costs and fees.
The net effect of this transaction is that we’ve reduced our long-term debt and other financial liabilities by CAD 63
million since the start of the year, and we’ve also extended the maturity date of our long-term debt from 2019 to 2022.
And, of course, we continue to maintain a healthy cash balance, as we ended June with CAD 97 million in the bank.
The balance sheet’s in good shape.
We’ve also taken advantage of the recent run-up in copper prices and extended our price protection program by adding put options at a strike price of CAD 2.70 per pound for 30 million pounds spread over the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2018. I think it’s important to repeat that this is downside protection only and shareholders continue to have full exposure to the upside of the copper price.