(all amounts in US dollars, unless otherwise noted)
Vancouver, British Columbia – Ero Copper Corp. (TSX: ERO) ("Ero" or the "Company") today is pleased to announce its financial results for the three and twelve-months ended December 31, 2019. Management will host a conference call tomorrow, Friday, March 13, 2020, at 11:30 a.m. Eastern to discuss the results. Dial-in details for the call can be found near the end of this press release.
•Record annual copper production in 2019 with 42,318 tonnes of copper produced – a 39% year-on-year increase in production at the Curaçá Valley operations;
•Record C1 cash costs* of $0.80 and $0.93 per pound of copper produced during the three and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2019, respectively;
•Record $31.2 and $134.1 million in Adjusted EBITDA* during the three and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2019, respectively;
•Record cash flow from operations of $35.9 and $127.8 million during the three and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2019, respectively;
•Record net income attributable to owners of the Company of $45.2 and $91.9 million ($0.49 and $1.01 per share on a diluted basis) during the three and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2019; respectively;
•Record adjusted net income attributable to owners of the Company* of $40.7 and $86.3 million ($0.44 and $0.94 per share on a diluted basis) during the three and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2019, respectively;
•6,043 ounces of gold produced at C1 cash costs* of $980 per ounce during the fourth quarter resulting in full-year production of 30,434 ounces of gold at C1 cash costs* of $691 per ounce at the NX Gold Mine; and,
•Reiterate previously announced full-year production, operating cost and capital guidance for 2020.
Commenting on the 2019 results, David Strang, President and CEO, stated, "2019 was a fantastic year for the Company and the financial results highlight the extraordinary quality of our assets and people. Execution of our business plan over the past several years has continued to translate to significant year-on-year growth in production and profitability – a trend we see continuing with the support of our exploration programs underway both within and around our existing operations and regionally throughout the Curaçá Valley.
Our results are highlighted by full year C1 cash costs of $0.93 per pound of copper produced in 2019 – well below our long-term target of $1.00 per pound, and significantly improved when compared to the 2018 result of $1.19 per pound of copper produced. Similarly, net income of $91.9 million in 2019 ($1.01 per share on a fully diluted basis) and cash flow from operations of $127.8 million reflect a significant year-on-year improvement when compared to our 2018 results (net loss of $3.2 million and cash flow from operations of $82.9 million, respectively).
Despite entering a period of global macroeconomic uncertainty in early 2020, our business is as well positioned as ever to continue to execute our business plan and long-term growth strategy. Supported by low-cost, highly profitable operations, we are successfully running one of the most comprehensive exploration programs globally. At each of our operations, excess mill capacity paired with low capital intensity, supported by first-quartile operating costs continues to translate into high returns on this invested capital."
*EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted net income (loss), C1 cash cost of copper produced (per lb) and C1 cash costs of gold produced (per ounce) are non-IFRS measures – see the Notes section of this press release for a discussion on non-IFRS Measures
OPERATIONS & EXPLORATION HIGHLIGHTS
•Mining & Milling Operations – another year of record copper production ?589,065 tonnes of ore grading 2.16% copper processed during the fourth quarter producing 11,526 tonnes of copper in concentrate after metallurgical recoveries of 90.7%. ?Total of 2.4 million tonnes of ore processed grading 1.93% copper producing 42,318 tonnes of copper in concentrate after metallurgical recoveries that averaged 90.5% during the twelve-month period ended December 31, 2019.
?Strong operating performance from Pilar and Vermelhos, highlighted by significant quarter-on-quarter increases in grades and tonnes mined with 433,258 tonnes grading 1.73% copper and 185,045 tonnes grading 3.39% copper mined during the period, respectively – an increase of approximately 1,500 tonnes of contained copper mined as compared to prior quarter.
?The NX Gold Mine processed 158,275 tonnes of ore grading 6.98 grams per tonne gold, resulting in the production of 30,434 ounces of gold and 19,641 ounces of silver as by-product after metallurgical recoveries that averaged 85.7% during the twelve month period ended December 31, 2019. ?Successfully commenced mining of the high-grade Santo Antonio vein prior to year-end.
•Exploration Activities – focus on regional exploration in 2020 with 26 drill rigs operating at MCSA and 4 at NX Gold ?Vermelhos District ?Drilling within the Vermelhos District, where 12 drill rigs are operating (including four drill rigs operating on regional targets), is currently targeting several high-priority exploration targets identified during the Company's comprehensive targeting work. These targets extend over approximately 10 kilometers of anomalous soil geochemistry and induced polarization ("IP") anomalies known as the Vermelhos System targets.
?Pilar District ?Exploration activity within the Pilar District, where 11 drill rigs are currently operating, continues to focus on infill and extensional drilling of high-grade zones that the Company has yet to fully delineate within the Pilar underground mine. These zones are highlighted by recent drill results from the Deepening zone, located down-plunge to the north and along strike to the south of known mineralization where a new "Super Pod" of mineralization was discovered. Additionally, drilling at Pilar will seek to further delineate the up-dip extension of the Baraúna zone, which extends from the upper levels of the Pilar underground mine towards surface south of the historic open pit.
?Surubim District ?There are three drill rigs operating on regional exploration targets within the Surubim District.
?NX Gold Mine ?At the NX Gold Mine, four exploration drill rigs are currently operating on extensions of the recently announced Santo Antonio vein and testing for continuity of the Brás vein. Additionally, the first comprehensive regional exploration program is underway.
•Corporate Highlights – strong overall liquidity, well positioned for 2020 plans ?Total cash and cash equivalents and available liquidity at December 31, 2019 was $21.5 million and $25.1 million compared to $18.9 million and $4.7 million, respectively, at the end of 2018.
?As at the end of 2019, the Company had $14.0 million undrawn on its secured, revolving credit facility in Canada, plus an additional R$64.8 million in available undrawn lines of credit in Brazil.
OPERATING AND FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
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