Gold Resource Corporation (NYSE Amex: GORO) today announced record 2011 production, fourth quarter results and provides its 2012 production outlook which continues to target an aggressive low-cost growth profile. Gold Resource Corporation is a low-cost gold producer with operations in the southern state of Oaxaca, Mexico.
2011 YEAR-END HIGHLIGHTS
• Record production of 66,159 ounces precious metal gold equivalent (AuEq)• Annual cash cost of $136 per ounce AuEq (excluding royalty expense)• Record annual revenue of $105 million• Record annual mine gross profit of $87 million• Record annual net income of $58 million or $1.10 per share• Record annual dividend distributions of $26.5 million, or $0.50 per share• Physical gold and silver treasury of $2.5 million• Stock repurchase of 104,251 shares at an average price of $18.69 per share• Increased cash in bank from approximately $48 million to $52 million
Overview of 2011 Results from El Aguila Project
Mr. Jason Reid, President of Gold Resource Corporation stated, “We are very pleased with our first full year of production and proud of our good people in Oaxaca that made it possible. Ramping up a mining operation, particularly an underground mine, is not an easy task. The results for the year underscore our ability to execute as a company, as much was accomplished in 2011.”
Gold Resource Corporation produced a total of 66,159 ounces of precious metal gold equivalent (AuEq), up 531% over its 2010 production of 10,493 gold ounces. Cash costs for 2011 averaged $136 per ounce AuEq, a 37% decrease from cash costs of $217 per gold ounce in 2010.
Record revenues were $105.2 million, up 611% from 2010, mine gross profit was $87.2 million, up 790% from 2010, and net income was $58.34 million, compared to net loss of $23 million in 2010.
Mr. Jason Reid added, “These results allowed management to continue our shareholder friendly and focused philosophy by distributing 2011 record dividends of $26.5 million, or $0.50 per share.”
Overview of Q4 2011 Results from El Aguila Project
Fourth quarter production from the El Aguila Project totaled 19,934 ounces AuEq at a cash cost of $120 per ounce AuEq and realized average sales prices of $1,691 per ounce gold and $30 per ounce silver. The mine generated gross profit of $30.0 million. The Company paid $7.9 million to shareholders in dividends, and repurchased 53,251 shares at an average share price of $18.39, after which the Company increased its bank account by $7.0 million over the previous quarter. (See Note 14 contained in the footnotes to the consolidated financial statements in Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for 2011)
2012 Production Outlook
The Company maintains its 2012 production target between 120,000 to 140,000 ounces AuEq. The Company is targeting a cash cost per ounce (excluding royalty) ranging between $50 to $150 per ounce AuEq in 2012. (Cash cost per ounce is a Non-GAAP Financial Measure, please see additional information in Management’s Discussion and Analysis and Results of Operation in the Company’s annual report on Form 10-K for 2011)
The Company is proceeding with finalizing a formal resource report in consideration of a possible secondary securities exchange listing in Canada. This NI 43-101* resource report is being prepared by engineering firm Pincock Allen and Holt of Denver and is expected to be completed in March or April.
Recent El Aguila mill improvements include the installation and commissioning of additional cleaner cells in the floatation circuit and the installation of a third filter press. Mill optimization continues as the Company ramps up daily production to an estimated average 900 tonnes per day for 2012.
La Arista Mine development is progressing well with the primary decline ramp approaching Level 11. Drifts on the veins at each level, between Levels 4 and 9, provide five to six working faces at any given time. The intercepted vein width on Level 9.5 was an impressive 12 meters. The Company’s mining staff recently began its first long hole stoping on Level 6 and expects to transition away from its original descending benches mining method going forward. In addition to its own mining staff, the Company currently engages two mine contractors to assist with mine development. One mine contractor continues developing the primary spiral decline while a second mine contractor is developing an additional decline ramp (-15% slope) south from Level 7 to access the southern part of the ore body. By developing off the veins, the Company anticipates this Level 7 decline ramp will allow for better and more expedited access for future mine development along the entire strike length of the deposit. As underground mine development at Arista continues, the Company expects to mine more efficiently, pulling greater tonnages with less dilution.
2012 Exploration Program
A total of four exploration drills are currently at the Company’s properties, with a fifth drill on order and expected to arrive shortly. Three drills are concentrated at the Arista mine, with two underground and one surface rig. A fourth drill is located at the Alta Gracia property. The anticipated primary focus for drilling in 2012 will be to test the extension of the Arista deposit which remains open on strike and depth. The Company continues to add personnel to its geology department with the recent hiring of an Exploration Manager for the Oaxaca Mining Unit and another core logging geologist. The Company may add additional drills as it expects to gradually increase the size of its exploration program.
El Rey Property
Progress has been made on the refurbishment of the existing mine shaft, which when complete will allow drifting along the veins and an underground drill station. The Company has received permission from the local Ejido (agrarian community) and town to work at El Rey. However, the Company has temporarily ceased work at El Rey following a recent request to obtain additional approvals from local community agencies. For the time being, the Company will focus its exploration efforts elsewhere on its extensive land holdings until work at El Rey can resume.
Alta Gracia Property
2011 exploration efforts at Alta Gracia returned positive results including multiple high-grade drill intercepts. 21 shallow exploratory core holes for a total of 5,030 meters were drilled on the property during 2011. This program encountered 33 intercepts grading over 200 grams silver per tonne from intervals averaging over one meter down hole length. Assays identified mineralization up to 1,020 grams per tonne silver with 3.73 grams per tonne gold. The Company has budgeted approximately $1 million for exploration at Alta Gracia in 2012.
Las Margaritas Property
The Company has permission from authorities to explore the area and is constructing a new road which will allow year-round access to the property. A drill program is planned for 2012 to test multiple high-grade targets identified from surface mapping and sampling. The Company expects to spend approximately $700K at Las Margaritas in 2012 for drilling, geochemical and geophysical surveys.
Gold Resource Corporation is planning a 2012 regional airborne geophysical survey for five of its contiguous properties which span a mineralized structural corridor over 48 kilometers. This important survey will give the Company data to analyze for developing more detailed exploration programs for these properties. This will be the first wide-scale exploration program to cover the Company’s entire mineralized trend.
The Company is also continuing an IP-Resistivity and CSAMT survey launched in 2011 on selected target areas. Those surveys are being conducted by Zonge International of Tucson, Arizona under the direction of Ellis Geophysical Consulting, Inc. of Reno, Nevada.
“Gold Resource Corporation provides premier precious metal exposure with an aggressive production growth profile of low cost ounces, growing cash and physical precious metal treasury, high-grade exploration prospects and distribution of a substantial monthly dividend,” stated Mr. Jason Reid. “2011 was an excellent year for Gold Resource Corporation, but more importantly, it sets a solid base for the Company’s exciting growth trajectory.”