Aurizon Mines' CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Aurizon Mines Ltd. (AZK)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 09, 2012 11:00 am ET


George Paspalas - President & CEO

Ian Walton - EVP & CFO

Martin Bergeron - VP, Operations


Ovais Habib - Deutsche Capital

Jeff Wright - Global Hunter Securities

Derek Macpherson - National Bank Financial

Chris Martino - Desjardins Capital Markets

Michael Fowler - LOM



Hello. Good morning ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to Aurizon Mines Ltd. Conference call. As a reminder, all participants are in listen-only mode and the conference is being recorded. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. (Operator Instructions) At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to George Paspalas, President and CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

George Paspalas

Thank you operator, good morning everyone and welcome to the Aurizon Mines second quarter 2012 conference call and webcast. We'll be making some forward-looking statements today and I'll draw everyone’s attention to the forward-looking statements and cautionary note to you as listeners in the presentation and also available on the website.

Participating on the call with me today will be Ian Walton, Executive Vice President and CFO, and Martin Bergeron, Vice President of Operations. Also on the call is Julie Kemp, Corporate Secretary and Jennifer North, Manager, Investor Relations.

We’re starting our presentation on slide five. Quarter two 2012 was a good quarter from Casa with EBITDA at $25.4 million and net profit of $8.6 million corresponding to $0.05 per share which was 29% higher in the corresponding quarter in 2011. We crossed the quarter with approximately $290 million in cash and have started to build on this balance after the 2011 tax payments earlier in the year.

We continue to be able to self fund the significant capital requirements for Casa Berardi this year, as we set up for the future mining areas and deepened the existing shaft. We did complete the Joanna feasibility study during the quarter as forecasted and we conducted a detailed conference call to review of the feasibility study.

I will not repeat the detail here today. However, the high level summary on the project is that whilst the feasibility on the Hosco pit returned positive economics and proven and probable reserves of 1.66 million assets of gold, it was decided to defer a development decision until the full potential of the Heva and Hosco West Extension areas were fully understood.

We believe that we have to be extremely prudent in how we allocated our hard-earned capital and the potential to identify sufficient number of refractory ore despite the overall development of the property and/or supplement the current Hosco pit refractory ore with higher grade refractory ore are worthwhile programs that could reduce the execution risk, gauge capital deployment and enhance the return on the project.

Hence we have been very active this year drilling the Heva and Hosco West Extension and more of that to come later. Along with some initial encouraging good results at Heva and the Hosco West Extension, we have also enjoyed very encouraging results from the in mine exploration at Casa Berardi particularly around the 123 Zone.

Moving onto slide six, you see we have seen a significant increase in second quarter gold production projection compared to the first quarter this year. The change to the mine plan required in the first quarter is now behind us and we are producing at the expected levels.

The second half of the year will realize higher grades and slightly higher tonnage which will push us towards our annual production guidance range by 155,000 to 160,000 ounces. However, we feel it’s prudent at this point to trim our 2012 guidance to approximately 150,000 ounces as we may not fully recover from the quarter one mine plan change within this year.

The slightly lower production and rehabilitation and development costs incurred to recover from the excess drilled area [failure] in the 113 Zone earlier in the year has pushed our anticipated total costs for 2012 from $600 per ounce to $645 per ounce.

Now exploration drilling has returned some very encouraging results around Zone 123 and Martin will talk about the capital exploration in more detail later. The Shaft Sinking project is progressing and we have achieved some significant milestones with the 795 level loading pocket excavation and the sinking hoist installation for the second phase of the shaft deepening now completed.

Turning to slide seven as discussed earlier the Hosco feasibility study has been deferred and we have four drill rigs active on the Heva and the Hosco West Extension areas on the Joanna property. We are anticipating being in a position to have an understanding of the size of the Heva resource by the end of the year.

Now I will hand it over to Ian Walton, our Chief Financial Officer now for a more detailed review of the quarter two financials. Over to you, Ian.

Ian Walton

Thank you, George. As we look at the first slide of the financial highlights you can see that our second quarter revenue from Casa Berardi operations rose 3% to $60.9 million from the sale of 37,345 ounces of gold compared to revenues of $59 million from the sale of $39,900 ounces of gold from the same quarter of 2011. Our average realized gold price in the second quarter was $15.92 somewhere to the realized prices of $15.21 in the same quarter of 2011, although lower than the average London p.m. fix of $1,611 per ounce.

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