Northgate Minerals Reports First Quarter Results

Strong Cash Flow from Operations of $40.1 Million

Notice: Conference Call and Webcast of Annual General Meeting and Q1 Results Today at 10:00 am ET

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VANCOUVER, May 10 /CNW/ - (All figures in US dollars except where noted) - Northgate Minerals Corporation ("Northgate" or the "Corporation") (TSX: NGX) (NYSE Amex: NXG) today announced its financial and operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2011 in accordance with the newly adopted International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS").

First Quarter Highlights

  • The net profit was $19.8 million or $0.07 per share.
  • The adjusted net profit(1) was $7.5 million or $0.02 per share.
  • Strong cash flow from operations of $40.1 million or $0.14 per share.
  • First quarter production was 51,210 ounces of gold and 6.5 million pounds of copper at an average net cash cost of $699 per ounce.
    • Production guidance for 2011 remains unchanged: 195,000 ounces - 205,000 ounces at a cash cost of $805 - $845 per ounce.
  • First quarter metal sales were 56,937 ounces of gold at a realized price of $1,386 per ounce and 9.0 million pounds of copper at a realized price of $2.77 per pound.
  • Northgate's cash balance at the end of the first quarter 2011 was $308.1 million.
  • Construction activities at Young-Davidson remain on schedule and on budget.  At the end of the first quarter 2011, Northgate had invested approximately $130 million towards construction of the Young-Davidson mine.
  • Subsequent to the end of the first quarter, Northgate entered into a Cdn$40 million three-year senior secured revolving credit facility with BNP Paribas.

"First quarter production was highlighted by an excellent performance at Kemess South, as the mine wrapped up with higher gold and copper production than forecast" commented Ken Stowe, President and CEO. "While production at our Australian mines came in lower than plan, we are pleased to report that our guidance remains the same for the year as both mines are forecasting higher production for the balance of 2011. On the development front, we are excited with the excellent progress being made at Young-Davidson, as the project remains on schedule and on budget."

"As the Kemess South mine came to a close in March, I would like to take this opportunity to thank our dedicated workforce that has been a part of the Northgate-Kemess family since taking ownership of the mine in 2000. The work and commitment of our workforce have been exemplary, transforming the mine into a world-class asset, with production close to 3 million ounces of gold and 700 million pounds of copper. We now look forward to the rebirth of Kemess, having recently released an updated resource estimate for the Kemess Underground project and are expecting to complete a Preliminary Assessment by the summer."

Financial Performance

Northgate recorded consolidated revenue of $123.0 million in the first quarter of 2011, compared with revenue of $125.3 million recorded in the same period last year. Revenues were strong in the first quarter as a result of higher metal prices.

The adjusted net profit for the first quarter of 2011 was $7.5 million or $0.02 per share, compared with $6.3 million or $0.02 per share in the first quarter of 2010. The net profit for the first quarter of 2011 was $19.8 million or $0.07 per share, compared with $3.9 million or $0.01 per share in the first quarter of 2010.

Northgate generated excellent cash flow from operations of $40.1 million or $0.14 per share in the first quarter of 2011. The Corporation continues to maintain a strong balance sheet, with cash and cash equivalents totalling $308.1 million as of March 31, 2011.

Corporate Revolver

Subsequent to the end of the first quarter 2011, Northgate entered into a Cdn$40 million, three-year senior secured revolving credit facility (the "Revolver") with BNP Paribas. While Northgate does not forecast the need to draw down any funds, the Revolver provides additional financial capacity, if necessary, for the construction of the Young-Davidson mine.

Adoption of International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS")

In February 2008, the Accounting Standards Board confirmed that publicly-accountable entities will be required to prepare financial statements in accordance with IFRS for interim and annual financial statements for fiscal years beginning on or after January 1, 2011. Accordingly, Northgate has adopted IFRS effective January 1, 2011, which is reflected in our unaudited condensed consolidated interim financial statements for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011. In addition, all comparative figures for the 2010 fiscal year, included in our interim financial statements and related first quarter management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A"), have been restated in accordance with IFRS. Previously, Northgate prepared its consolidated annual and consolidated interim financial statements in accordance with Canadian generally accepted accounting principles ("Canadian GAAP").

Details of the significant accounting differences between IFRS and Canadian GAAP can be found in Northgate's first quarter MD&A and note 16 of our interim financial statements.

Results from Operations

Fosterville Gold Mine
Fosterville achieved production of 20,632 ounces of gold in the first quarter of 2011. Early in the year, the mill was impacted by issues within the BIOX® circuit, which affected production for the quarter. These issues have since been resolved and there is no material impact to the mine's annual production forecast. Production is back on track, highlighted by a monthly record of just over 11,000 ounces in March. We are pleased to announce that Fosterville produced its half-millionth ounce of gold on the property in April.

During the quarter, mine development continued to progress well and was in line with forecast. A total of 188,906 tonnes of ore was mined and mine development advanced 2,203 m. Development towards the new Harrier zone also continued to progress well and production is on track to commence in the second half of 2011.

During the quarter, 161,064 tonnes of ore was milled at a grade of 4.96 grams per tonne ("g/t"), compared with the 191,663 tonnes milled at a grade of 5.11 g/t in the corresponding quarter of 2010.

The average net cash cost of production for the first quarter of 2011 was $1,012 per ounce, which was adversely effected by the dramatic increase in the Australian dollar relative to the US dollar and, to a lesser extent, by lower gold production. In the most recent quarter, the Australian dollar averaged 11% higher compared to the corresponding period last year. For the balance of 2011, cash costs in Australian dollars are expected to decrease relative to the first quarter and the annual forecast remains consistent with the original guidance provided.

Stawell Gold Mine
During the first quarter, the Stawell mine produced 16,006 ounces of gold, as a result of lower head grades mined. In the second quarter of 2011, production is expected to rise as grades improve and the annual production forecast remains unchanged.

During the quarter, a total of 197,317 tonnes of ore was mined and mine development advanced 1,493 m. Also during the quarter, 211,349 tonnes of ore was milled at an average grade of 2.85 g/t.  Although mill production was higher than plan, the processing of higher carbonaceous and low-grade ore resulted in lower-head grades, which impacted gold recoveries and production during the quarter.

Total operating costs were lower during the first quarter at A$76 per tonne of ore milled. Mining costs were A$50 per tonne of ore mined.

During the first quarter of 2011, the average net cash cost of production was $1,010 per ounce, resulting from the dramatic increase in the Australian dollar relative to the US dollar and lower gold production.  For the balance of 2011, cash costs in Australian dollars are expected to decrease relative to the first quarter and the annual forecast remains consistent with the original guidance provided.

Kemess South
During the first quarter, Kemess South posted strong production of 14,572 ounces of gold and 6.5 million pounds of copper. Quarterly production exceeded original guidance as a result of higher grades and higher mill throughput.  After processing all remaining stockpiles, the mill ceased production in March. The net cash cost of production for the first quarter was negative $85 per ounce of gold, as a result of higher copper prices, which increased 33% from the same period last year.

During the quarter, approximately 0.3 million tonnes of ore and waste were removed from the eastern end of the open pit. Unit mining costs were low at Cdn$0.92 per tonne moved.

2011 Production Forecast
Production for the full year 2011 remains unchanged from the original forecast:

     
  Total
(ounces)
Forecast 2011 Cash Cost ($/oz) 1
 
Fosterville 97,000 - 102,000 $885 - $930
Stawell 86,000 - 91,000 $800 - $850
Kemess (Actual) 14,572 ($85)
  195,000 - 205,000 $805 - $845

1 Assuming exchange rates of US$/Cdn$1.00 and US$/A$1.00 for Q2 to Q4 2011.

Building Young-Davidson

Construction activities at Young-Davidson remain on schedule and on budget. By the end of the first quarter 2011, Northgate had invested approximately $130 million towards construction of the Young-Davidson mine. In addition, 80% of the contracts worth approximately $170 million were awarded, 90% of the equipment purchase orders were placed and 66% of the engineering was completed.

Young-Davidson is scheduled for commissioning activities in the fourth quarter of 2011 and is targeting start-up of production in late Q1 2012.  The mine is expected to generate an average of 180,000 ounces of gold annually over an initial 15-year mine life.

Exploration Overview

Young-Davidson
Exploration at Young-Davidson in the first quarter was part of a $2.0 m drill program to explore for other deposits outside of the known reserves and resources currently being developed. Two drills totaling 5,000 m operated during the quarter focusing on the YD West zone. Hole YD10-198B (see press release dated April 13, 2011), located approximately 115 m below discovery hole 198, returned 5.43 g/t gold over 10.95 m. Drilling for the balance of 2011 will continue to focus on the YD West zone with the intent of delineating additional resources.  If the 2011 drilling program is successful, it is expected that an initial mineral resource estimate for the YD West zone will be completed by the end of the year.

In addition to this exploration program, underground delineation drilling in support of future underground mining activities began in late 2010 and is currently focusing on a sector of the Upper Boundary Zone.  This portion of the program is nearly complete and will be reported upon during the second quarter of 2011 once all results have been received.  It is expected that the results of this program will be incorporated into the annual reserve and resource re-estimate at the end of 2011.

Kemess Underground
During the quarter, Northgate released an updated resource estimate for its Kemess Underground project, located five kilometres north of the Kemess South mine in north-central British Columbia. The updated resource estimate followed on the completion of a 30-hole infill diamond drill program at Kemess Underground that was completed in 2010.  The updated resource estimate now contains an indicated resource of 136.5 million tonnes with 2.6 million ounces of gold and 860.6 million pounds of copper.  This represents 18% increase in tonnes, a 10% increase in contained gold and a 9% increase in contained copper when compared with the May 2010 total.

The mineral resource estimate will form the basis of a Preliminary Assessment, which will outline the economics and timeline for mining the current resources. Northgate expects to file the Preliminary Assessment in the third quarter of 2011.

Australia
At Stawell, drilling focused mainly on three target areas on or immediately adjacent to the current mining lease.  Two of these areas, the Northgate Gift and Wonga Dome, were discovered by diamond drilling during our "Big Fish" exploration campaign in 2010.  The third target area is GG6L, located below GG6, where there is potential to add to high-grade reserves.

During the quarter, approximately 8,800 m of drilling was completed. Within the Northgate Gift, a wedge hole intersected a target zone located 240 m above and south of the initial discovery hole, which suggests a continuous mineralized horizon. Follow-up drilling, which will take all of 2011 to complete, will better define the size and geometry of the zone and associated mineralization

Within the Wonga Dome, subsequent drilling has intersected lower sections of the basalt dome, where it is flanked by coarser grained sediments less favourable for gold mineralization. The next few holes are designed to intersect the basalt dome at a similar elevation and geologic setting as discovery hole 649 (13.7 g/t over 5.45 m - see press release dated November 1, 2010), at which point Northgate will evaluate whether mineralization in the area is sufficiently robust to support driving across to the zone to complete resource definition drilling.

Exploration activity at Fosterville, which had been scheduled for the first quarter, was deferred until the second quarter and commenced in April.  Exploration expenditures are forecast to be $3.8 million for approximately 18,000 m of diamond drilling, mainly focusing on resource conversion targets below and along trend from the currently mined Phoenix deposit.

Summarized Consolidated Results

(Thousands of US dollars, except where noted)                 Q1 2011              Q1 2010
Financial Data        
Revenue           $ 123,027        $ 125,278 
Adjusted net profit 1                 7,476              6,291 
      Per share (basic)                 0.02              0.02 
Net profit                 19,755              3,887 
      Per share (basic)                 0.07              0.01 
Cash flow from operations                 40,109              12,052 
Cash and cash equivalents                 308,088              230,306 
Total assets           $ 815,415        $ 713,710 
Operating Data        
Gold production (ounces)        
      Fosterville                 20,632              26,421 
      Stawell                 16,006              22,238 
      Kemess                 14,572              24,703 
      Total gold production                 51,210              73,362 
Gold sales (ounces)        
      Fosterville                 19,137              25,944 
      Stawell                 16,470              21,411 
      Kemess                 21,330              27,773 
      Total gold sales                 56,937              75,128 
Realized gold price ($/ounce) 2                 1,386              1,128 
Net cash cost ($/ounce) 3        
      Fosterville                 1,012              679 
      Stawell                 1,000              794 
      Kemess                 (85)              502 
Average net cash cost ($/ounce)                 696              654 
Copper production (thousands pounds)                       6,497              9,529 
Copper sales (thousands pounds)                 8,998              11,145 
Realized copper price ($/pound) 2                 2.77              3.49 

Adjusted net profit is a non-IFRS measure.  See section entitled "Non-IFRS Measures" in the Corporation's interim MD&A Report.
Commencing in the fourth quarter of 2010, metal pricing quotational period is three months after the month of ship loading for copper and one month after the month of ship loading for gold produced at Kemess South. Previously, the metal pricing quotational period was three months after the month of arrival ("MAMA") at the receiving facility for copper and one MAMA for gold. Therefore, realized prices reported will differ from the average quarterly reference prices, since realized price calculations incorporate the actual settlement price for prior period sales, as well as the forward price profiles of both metals for unpriced sales at the end of the quarter.
Net cash cost per ounce of production is a non-IFRS measure.  See section entitled "Non-IFRS Measures" in the Corporation's interim MD&A Report. 

Interim Condensed Consolidated Statements of Financial Position
(Previously referred to as the Consolidated Balance Sheets)
     
  March 31   December 31   January 1  
Thousands of US dollars, unaudited 2011   2010   2010  
             
Assets            
Current Assets            
Cash and cash equivalents $ 308,088   $ 334,840   $ 253,544  
Trade and other receivables, including derivatives 44,151   62,051   27,961  
Income taxes receivable   2,236    
Inventories (note 3) 28,569   46,268   44,599  
Prepaid expenses 3,915   2,367   2,566  
Assets held for sale (note 4) 13,075      
             
Total Current Assets 397,798   447,762   328,670  
             
Non-current Assets            
Other assets 41,740   40,819   27,544  
Deferred tax assets 21,898   13,014   20,113  
Mineral property, plant and equipment 352,497   323,903   316,086  
Investments (note 5) 1,482   36,519   38,001  
             
Total Non-current Assets 417,617   414,255   401,744  
             
Total Assets $ 815,415   $ 862,017   $ 730,414  
             
Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity            
Current Liabilities            
Accounts payable and accrued liabilities, including derivatives $ 73,458   $ 93,534   $ 51,717  
Income taxes payable 3,873     29,395  
Short-term loan (note 6)   40,161   41,515  
Equipment financing obligations 7,742   7,945   5,995  
Provisions (note 7) 26,880   38,359   31,717  
             
Total Current Liabilities 111,953   179,999   160,339  
             
Non-current Liabilities            
Equipment financing obligations 13,011   10,763   4,656  
Convertible senior notes 132,594   131,235    
Option component of convertible senior notes 36,787   47,414    
Other long-term liabilities 378   379   3,619  
Provisions (note 7) 31,226   30,459   29,963  
             
Total Non-current Liabilities 213,996   220,250   38,238  
             
Total Liabilities 325,949   400,249   198,577  
             
Shareholders' Equity            
Common shares 407,197   407,029   402,879  
Contributed surplus 10,083   8,915   7,090  
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) 29,621   23,014   (4,108)  
Retained earnings 42,565   22,810   125,976  
             
Total Shareholders' Equity 489,466   461,768   531,837  
             
Total Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity $ 815,415   $ 862,017   $ 730,414  

Subsequent event (note 15)

The accompanying notes form an integral part of these condensed consolidated interim financial statements.

Interim Condensed Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income  
      Three Months Ended March 31  
Thousands of US dollars, except share and per share amounts, unaudited     2011   2010  
Revenue     $ 123,027   $ 125,278  
Operating expenses          
  Cost of sales (note 3)     110,095   116,102
  Administrative and general     3,785   3,786
  Exploration     4,901   4,127
  Other expenses (note 11)     852   249
      119,633   124,264
Profit from operating activities     3,394   1,014
Financing income (expenses)          
  Interest income     1,659   932
  Finance costs (note 10)     (753)   (744)
  Currency translation gain     5,184   4,293
  Fair value adjustment on option component of convertible notes     10,627  
  Write-down of investments       (340)
      16,717   4,141
Profit before income taxes     20,111   5,155
Income tax expense     (356)   (1,268)
Net profit for the period     19,755   3,887
Other comprehensive income (loss)          
  Unrealized loss on available for sale securities   (114)   (866)
  Unrealized gain on translation of foreign operations     1,787   4,965
  Reclassification of impairment on available for sale investments to profit or loss   -   340
  Reclassification of realized loss on available for sale investments to profit or loss     4,934   -
      6,607   4,439
Comprehensive income     $ 26,362   $ 8,326
Earnings per share (note 12)          
  Basic     $ 0.07   $ 0.01
  Diluted     $ 0.03   $ 0.01
Weighted average shares outstanding (note 12)          
  Basic     291,877,902   290,718,756
  Diluted     334,617,292   292,005,260
The accompanying notes form an integral part of these condensed consolidated interim financial statements.          

  Interim Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows  
        Three Months Ended March 31  
  Thousands of US dollars, unaudited     2011   2010  
  Operating Activities            
    Net profit for the period     $ 19,755   $ 3,887  
  Adjustments for:            
    Depreciation and depletion     31,592   31,558  
    Unrealized currency translation gains     (352)   (324)  
    Loss (gain) on disposal of assets     (394)   333  
    Stock-based compensation     1,225   1,386  
    Accrual of employee severance costs     995   438  
    Interest income     (1,659)   (932)  
    Finance costs     753   744  
    Income tax expense     356   1,268  
    Income tax credited to exploration expense     (97)    
    Change in fair value of forward contracts     (967)   2,894  
    Fair value adjustment on option component of convertible notes     (10,627)    
    Write-down of investments       340  
    Gain on sale of investments     (17)    
  Changes in operating working capital and other (note 14)     1,666   (2,080)  
  Interest received     1,468   932  
  Interest paid     (3,461)   (564)  
  Income taxes paid     (127)   (27,828)  
        40,109   12,052  
               
  Investing Activities            
  Increase in restricted cash       (9,879)  
  Purchase of plant and equipment     (4,975)   (8,768)  
  Mineral property development     (14,680)   (12,541)  
  Assets under construction     (45,938)   (2,848)  
  Proceeds from sale of equipment     49   251  
  Proceeds from sale of investments     40,954    
  Purchase of investments     (201)    
  Deferred transaction costs paid     (123)    
        (24,914)   (33,785)  
               
  Financing Activities            
  Repayment of equipment financing obligations     (2,748)   (1,514)  
  Cash from equipment financing     1,275    
  Repayment of short-term loan     (40,161)   (378)  
  Repayment of other long-term liabilities     (453)   (217)  
  Issuance of common shares     111   223  
        (41,976)   (1,886)  
  Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents     29   381  
  Decrease in cash and cash equivalents     (26,752)   (23,238)  
  Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period     334,840   253,544  
  Cash and cash equivalents, end of period     $ 308,088   $ 230,306  
               
  The accompanying notes form an integral part of these condensed consolidated interim financial statements.            

* * * * * * *

This press release for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011 should be read in conjunction with Northgate's first quarter MD&A, which is available on our website at www.northgateminerals.com.

* * * * * * *

Annual General Meeting and Q1 2011 First Quarter Results Conference Call and Webcast

Northgate will be hosting its Annual General Meeting ("AGM") on Tuesday, May 10, 2011 at 10:00 am, Toronto time. The AGM will be held at The TMX Broadcast and Conference Centre, 130 King Street West, Toronto, Canada.  This event will also include an overview of Northgate's 2011 first quarter financial results.

You may participate in our conference call by calling 647-427-7450 or toll free in North America at 1-888-231-8191. To ensure your participation, please call five minutes prior to the scheduled start of the call.

A live audio webcast and presentation package will be available on Northgate's homepage at www.northgateminerals.com. Information pertaining to the conference replay, available from May 10 to May 24, 2011, can also be found on our website.

* * * * * * *

Northgate Minerals Corporation is a gold and copper producer with mining operations, development projects and exploration properties in Canada and Australia.  Our vision is to be the leading intermediate gold producer by identifying, acquiring, developing and operating profitable, long-life mining properties.

* * * * * * *

Qualified Person
The program design, implementation, quality assurance/quality control and interpretation of the results are under the control of Northgate's geological staff, which includes a number of individuals who are qualified persons as defined under NI 43-101. Carl Edmunds, PGeo, Northgate's Exploration Manager, has reviewed the geologic content of this release.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements and Information:
This Northgate press release contains "forward-looking information", as such term is defined in applicable Canadian securities legislation and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, concerning Northgate's future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future developments, circumstances or results. Generally, forward-looking information can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "expects", "believes", "anticipates", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "plans" and variations of such words and phrases, or by statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "will", "could", "would" or "might", "be taken", "occur" or "be achieved". Forward-looking information is based on a number of assumptions and estimates that, while considered reasonable by management based on the business and markets in which Northgate operates, are inherently subject to significant operational, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Northgate cautions that forward-looking information involves known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause Northgate's actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such information, including, but not limited to gold and copper price volatility; fluctuations in foreign exchange rates and interest rates; the impact of any hedging activities; discrepancies between actual and estimated production, between actual and estimated reserves and resources or between actual and estimated metallurgical recoveries; costs of production; capital expenditure requirements; the costs and timing of construction and development of new deposits; and the success of exploration and permitting activities. In addition, the factors described or referred to in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Northgate's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2010 or under the heading "Risks and Uncertainties" in Northgate's 2010 Annual Report, both of which are available on the SEDAR website at www.sedar.com, should be reviewed in conjunction with the information found in this press release. Although Northgate has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information, there can be other factors that cause results, performance or achievements not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information will prove to be accurate or that management's expectations or estimates of future developments, circumstances or results will materialize. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The forward-looking information in this press release is made as of the date of this press release, and Northgate disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise such information, except as required by applicable law.

Cautionary Note to US Investors Regarding Mineral Reporting Standards:

The Corporation prepares its disclosure in accordance with the requirements of securities laws in effect in Canada, which differ from the requirements of US securities laws. Terms relating to mineral resources in this press release are defined in accordance with National Instrument 43-101-Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects under the guidelines set out in the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy, and Petroleum Standards on Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves. The Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC") permits mining companies, in their filings with the SEC, to disclose only those mineral deposits that a company can economically and legally extract or produce. The Corporation uses certain terms, such as, "measured mineral resources", "indicated mineral resources", "inferred mineral resources" and "probable mineral reserves", that the SEC does not recognize (these terms may be used in this press release and are included in the Corporation's public filings which have been filed with securities commissions or similar authorities in Canada).

 

SOURCE Northgate Minerals Corporation

For further information:


Ms. Keren R. Yun, Director, Investor Relations
Tel: 416-216-2781   Email: ngx@northgateminerals.com

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Northgate Minerals Corporation

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