TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Aldridge Minerals Inc. (TSX-V: AGM) (“Aldridge” or the “Company”) announced today the filing of its audited consolidated financial statements for the year ending December 31, 2014 (the “2014 Financials”), and the Management’s Discussion & Analysis related thereto (the “2014 MD&A”), which are available on SEDAR and at www.aldridgeminerals.ca.
Han Ilhan, President & CEO, commented: “Despite the current challenging market conditions for mining companies, 2014 was a very positive and productive year for Aldridge. Following the NI 43-101 compliant Feasibility Study published in May 2013, the major accomplishments of 2014 included:
- Completion of the Yenipazar Project Optimization Study which resulted in a CAPEX estimate of US$ 230 million, an after-tax NPV(7%) of US$ 330 million, and an after-tax IRR of 32.2%. The Optimization Study demonstrated that the Yenipazar Project has high margins with estimated revenue (NSR) of US$ 83.24 per tonne versus operating costs of US$ 29.65 per tonne.
- Approval of the EIA in seven months after the submittal of our application. This relatively fast approval is a clear indication of the Central Government Agencies’ comfort with and support of the Yenipazar Project despite the stringent Turkish EIA approval process.
- Approval of the local operating permit, referred to as the GSM permit, two months after our application. The approval of the local operating permit by the Governor’s Office is a clear demonstration of the continuation of our Social License to Operate that we have established and benefited from throughout Aldridge’s 11 years of exploration and development at Yenipazar.
- Completion of a US$ 40 million interim bridge financing in September 2014 with Orion Mine Finance, a private equity mineral resources investment business. This financing included US$ 35 million in debt and approximately US$ 5.25 million in equity at C$ 0.49 per share, or approximately a 70% premium to market price at the time, and partial lead and gold offtakes. Our two largest shareholders, ANT Holding and APMS Investment Fund, demonstrated additional strong financial support for the Yenipazar Project by contributing an additional US$ 5 million of equity at the same premium for a total interim financing of US$ 45 million.
The US$ 45 million interim bridge financing allowed us to start acquiring the farmland within our approved project fence line in Q4 2014. Our target is to complete the land acquisition process in Q4 2015 with the assistance of the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources. The interim financing also provides the Company with working capital to Q1 2016 when we plan to initiate construction. As I have stressed throughout 2014, our senior management team is fully qualified and capable to mitigate the risks associated with construction execution and leverage the mature construction industry in Turkey. Accordingly, in 2015 we are focused on construction execution planning as well as strategies to provide cost and schedule certainty before we start any construction activity in 2016. This intense construction planning will allow us to be well prepared for the construction activities, as we recognize that construction execution must meet cost and schedule objectives.
The financial metrics of the Yenipazar Project presented above coupled with our highly qualified management team has attracted multiple senior banks from North America, Europe and Australia to provide indicative term sheets for senior debt facilities. In addition, we have been approached by streaming companies to provide alternate financing mechanisms as a supplement to the senior debt. I am working closely with our Finance Committee and the Board to systematically evaluate multiple project finance alternatives and select the best one for our shareholders for the short and long term. I will provide more details in the coming months and plan to complete the Project Financing in Q4 2015.
Throughout 2015, I look forward to in-person meetings as well as regular public announcements to inform our shareholders of our progress towards Project Financing and Construction Planning. Our key milestones beyond 2015 are to start construction in 2016 with the ultimate goal of production in early 2018. As you know, I firmly believe that company leadership must be close to the development of its key mining asset. Accordingly, I will continue to be located in Turkey with our construction team throughout the development phase, providing in-depth knowledge of the business culture and conditions in Turkey.”
Aldridge’s Highlights and Achievements
The following are a summary of the key achievement areas in 2014. Additional details are provided in the 2014 MD&A:
- US$45,000,000 Interim Financing Closed (the “Interim Financing”) – On September 25, 2014, the Company completed its previously announced Interim Financing with participation by Orion Fund JV Limited, an affiliate of Orion Mine Finance funds (“Orion”), and the Company’s two largest shareholders. The Interim Financing included a US$10,000,000 equity private placement at US$0.45 per Common Share or approximately CDN$0.49 per Common Share, which was a 70% premium to the closing price of the Common Shares on the TSX Venture Exchange on August 28, 2014, the date prior to the announcement of the Interim Financing. The Company also entered into a loan agreement with Orion for a US$35,000,000 secured bridge loan maturing on August 29, 2016 and lead concentrate and gold offtake agreements with an Orion affiliate. At December 31, 2014, the Company had drawn US$10,000,000 of the Loan facility.
- Leadership – The Company further enhanced its leadership team with the appointment of several key leadership roles. Mr. Han Ilhan, who lives in Turkey, was appointed President and CEO in March 2014. Mr. Ilhan is an experienced mining executive with capabilities spanning the entire mine life cycle including scoping, exploration, construction, commissioning, financial management, operations, and reclamation. In September 2014, Mr. Douglas Silver was appointed to the Board as Director. Mr. Silver is currently a portfolio manager of Orion and a director of Stornoway Diamond Corporation. Mr. Jaymes Dircks was appointed Engineering, Procurement and Construction (“EPC”) Director in January 2015 bringing 26 years of experience in varying roles of successful EPC delivery for heavy industry minerals projects worldwide that finished on budget and schedule. Additionally, Mr. Dircks’ recent experience in Turkey includes working for Eldorado Gold Corporation at both the Kişladağ and Efemçukuru mines where he was responsible for project and construction management.
- Yenipazar Optimization Study – In April 2014 the Company announced the positive results of its Optimization Study, which utilized revisions to key design and operating parameters undertaken since the release of the Yenipazar Feasibility Study in May 2013. Aldridge reduced the estimated pre-production project capital costs to US$230 million, or approximately 40% lower than the original Feasibility Study estimate of US$382 million. Plant throughput remains unchanged at 2.5 million tonnes of ore per annum over a 12-year mine life.
Numerous well-respected engineering and consultancy firms contributed to the Optimization Study, including Promer Engineering (Turkey) and Jacobs Minerals Canada Inc. By maximizing the use of highly qualified Turkish contractors and suppliers, the work capitalized on Turkey’s key positive differentiators including the ability to effectively employ contract mining, leverage the country’s skilled construction industry and its lower labour and manufacturing costs. Additionally, design areas such as the waste rock dump, tailings management facility and grinding circuits were optimized based on new studies and testwork completed since the Feasibility Study.
On May 26, 2014 the Company filed the Optimization Study NI 43-101 compliant technical report on SEDAR (the “Technical Report”). The Technical Report demonstrates that the Yenipazar Project is highly robust with an after-tax IRR of 32.2%, an after-tax NPV (7% discount rate) of US$330 million, and an after-tax payback of 2.4 years.
- EIA, Permits & Licenses – On March 6, 2014, the Company announced receipt of the Environmental Impact Assessment Positive Decision Certificate (“EIA Permit”). Obtaining the EIA approval in less than seven months from the initial application date was a significant achievement. Additionally, Aldridge also received the local commercial operating permit (“GSM Permit”), a five-year extension to the Yenipazar Operating (mining) License to May 21, 2019, and five-year Operating Permits for each of its five metals.
Strategy and Outlook
The Company’s primary objective in 2015 is to position the Company for construction in 2016 and 2017 with the ultimate objective of production in 2018. As a result, the Company’s 2015 focus will be to advance the following initiatives already underway:
- Land Acquisition – The land acquisition process (“LAP”) for the Yenipazar Project involves acquiring approximately 8.2 square kilometres of land divided into approximately 500 land parcels presently owned by many of the people living in the nearby communities of Eğlence and Gövdecili. The September 2014 Interim Financing included sufficient funds to purchase the land required. Turkish government investment policies provide support, including land acquisition, for projects like the Yenipazar Project that provide economic benefits to under developed regions. The Company expects to utilize legislated government support, while adhering to applicable IFC equator principles, in order to acquire the needed land. The land acquisition process is estimated to be completed by the end of 2015, although there are inherent procedural risks that could extend the process.
- Project Financing – The Company is actively considering various project financing alternatives, including evaluating indicative term sheets from traditional banks, commodity streaming companies and private equity firms. The process is estimated to be completed by the end of 2015. The amount and timing of obtaining new funds may be affected by numerous factors including capital market conditions for junior mining companies, fluctuations in commodity prices, potential changes to the political environment in Turkey and the timing of completing the land acquisition process.
- Exploration – The Company will also undertake an exploration program at its Yenipazar Property. To date approximately ten percent of the Company’s 100 square kilometre concession has been explored. The focus of the Company’s exploration efforts will be a diamond drill program immediately to the north of the known orebody. In addition, the Company will focus on other areas of the 100 square kilometres of the Yenipazar Property.
Selected Financial Information
The following table provides selected consolidated financial information that should be read in conjunction with the audited consolidated financial statements of the Company. Up to June 30, 2013, Yenipazar Project expenditures were recorded as exploration and evaluation expenditures in the Statement of Loss. Beginning July 1, 2013 further expenditures on Yenipazar were capitalized as mineral property under development in the Statement of Financial Position in accordance with the Company’s accounting policy.
(In Canadian Dollars)
|Loss before income tax||$(3,523,378)||$(7,387,867)|
|Net loss per share||(0.04)||(0.09)|
|Cash and cash equivalents||16,657,397||7,055,868|
|Working capital (i)||16,392,660||6,917,577|
|Total non-current financial liabilities||9,816,297||123,772|
(i) Working capital equals current assets less current liabilities, and is a non-GAAP measure used by management.
Aldridge is a development stage mining company focused on its wholly owned Yenipazar polymetallic Volcanogenic Massive Sulfide Project (Au, Ag, Cu, Pb, Zn) in Turkey (the “Project”), a country that is committed to developing its natural resources. Aldridge completed the Yenipazar Optimization Study and filed the related NI 43-101 compliant technical report in May 2014, which updated the original May 2013 Feasibility Study. The Company is currently advancing the Project on key aspects including engineering, land acquisition and project financing.
Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release includes certain forward-looking statements within the meaning of Canadian securities laws, including, but are not limited to the ability to accomplish remaining milestones, land acquisitions, securing project financing and commencing construction in 2016, advancing the Yenipazar Project to production in 2018, economic performance, future plans and objectives of the Company.
Forward-looking statements involve risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results, performance, prospects and opportunities to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and factors including meeting conditions for advances under the Loan and the other factors discussed under the heading “Risk Factors” in the Company’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2014 and in other continuous disclosure filings made by the Company with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available at www.sedar.com. Any number of important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements as well as future results.
Forward-looking information is based on a number of factors and assumptions which have been used to develop such information but which may prove to be incorrect, including, but not limited to, assumptions in connection with the continuance of Aldridge and its subsidiaries as a going concern, general economic and market conditions, mineral prices, the accuracy of mineral resource estimates. Although Aldridge believes that the assumptions and factors used in making the forward-looking statements are reasonable, undue reliance should not be placed on these statements, which only apply as of the date of this news release, and no assurance can be given that such events will occur in the disclosed time frames or at all. Aldridge disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise unless required by law.
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 news release.