Golden Star Resources Ltd. (GSS)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 9, 2012 11:00 AM ET


Tom Mair – President and CEO

Sam Coetzer – EVP and COO


Paolo Lostritto – National Bank Financial

Trevor Turnbull – Scotia Capital



Greetings and welcome to the Golden Star Resources’ Second Quarter Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only-mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Tom Mair, President and CEO for Golden Star Resources. Thank you, sir. You may begin.

Tom Mair

Thank you. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m Tom Mair, President and CEO of Golden Star Resources. Welcome to our 2012 second quarter conference call. Joining me on the call today are Sam Coetzer, Chief Operating Officer; Bruce Higson-Smith, Senior Vice President of Finance and Corporate Development; and Roger Palmer, our Chief Financial Officer.

During the course of our presentation today, we will be making forward-looking statements based on current expectations, estimates and projections that are subject to risk. There are many factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. So I encourage you to review the Safe Harbor language and to remain as current as possible with our activities by reviewing our news releases, website and our SEC filings on EDGAR and/or SEDAR, including Forms 10-K and 10-Q. As always, unless otherwise stated, all references to currency amounts will be in U.S. dollars.

Today, we’ll be reviewing our financial and operational results for the second quarter and six months periods ended June 30, 2012. We’ll also be commenting on operating and development activities, exploration activities, the outlook for the balance of 2012, and then I’ll provide some closing remarks. Following the presentation, we will open the call to questions from analysts.

Golden Star continued to show real progress in the second quarter. We produced approximately 85,000 ounces of gold in the quarter, a 10% increase over first quarter and a 20% increase over Q4 of 2011. Gold prices averaged $1,600 in Q2 which was $86 lower than Q1. Higher production meant our revenues were up 4%. Year-over-year, our revenues were up 24% on higher gold production and higher prices.

We’re happy to report that our combined cash operating costs are trending lower to $921 in the second quarter from $1,118 in the first quarter as we achieved lower costs at both our Bogoso and Wassa operations. In addition, our corporate G&A cash costs were approximately 25% lower than Q2 a year ago.

Operating cash flow before changes in working capital was almost $0.13 per share in Q1 which is up from $0.08 in – I’m sorry in Q2 which is up from $0.08 in Q1. We have put together four consecutive quarters of positive cash flow from operations, an indication that, in addition to gold prices remaining high and our production trending in the right direction, we are achieving solid operational improvements at both mines.

We closed the quarter with approximately $106 million in cash and cash equivalents, a slight increase over $104 million at the end of the first quarter. CapEx in Q2 was about $15 million and we used $15.5 million in working capital. Inventories, largely store ore stockpiles were up $8.5 million and we reduced payables by $8.5 million.

One additional note, we refinanced $74.5 million of our convertible debentures. At this point, it is our expectation to pay the remaining $50.5 million in cash on November 30, 2012. I refer you to complete disclosure on this matter in the 10-Q filing of yesterday.

Turning to our six-month results, Golden Star produced almost 163,000 ounces of gold in the first half of 2012, a 4% increase over the same period last year. Our average realized gold price in the first half was up 13% to $1,641 per ounce from $1,447 in the first six months of 2011, a better than $190 per ounce increase year-over-year. I’ll again remind investors that our gold production this year is completely unhedged.

Higher gold prices, in combination with more ounces produced, led to an 18% revenue increase to $267 million for the first half of 2012 versus $226 million in the same period a year ago. Combined cash operating cost declined slightly in the first half of 2012 to $1,015 per ounce. However, these costs included the effects of the oxide mill startup that skewed our Bogoso cost to the high side.

Cash flow before working capital changes was about $0.21 per share in the first half. Golden Star generated $54 million in cash flow through the first six months of 2012, a positive swing of nearly $37 million over the same period last year.

Now to give you some color on how our operations are generating improved financial results, I’m going to hand it over to Sam Coetzer, our Chief Operating Officer

Sam Coetzer

Thanks, Tom. Good morning, everybody. As a start, I should say I’m happy to comment that Golden Star operations continued to move in the right direction. On a sequential quarter basis, second quarter gold production was up 20%, and 10% and 20% respectively over the previous two quarters. I believe the key drivers in our recent success have been the successful startup of a new business line in the form of Bogoso oxide mill, the implementation of effective weather mitigation initiatives, utilizing synergies now available between our various operations and functions, and also enhancing our forward planning function in the corporation.

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