Gran Colombia Gold announces fourth quarter and full year 2014 results; Reports AISC of $995 per ounce in fourth quarter

TORONTO, March 31, 2015 /CNW/ - Gran Colombia Gold Corp. (TSX: GCM, OTC: TPRFF) announced today the release of its audited consolidated financial statements and accompanying management's discussion and analysis (MD&A) for the year ended December 31, 2014. All financial figures contained herein are expressed in U.S. dollars unless otherwise noted.

Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Highlights

  • Gold production totalled 98,622 ounces in 2014, about 4% lower than the previous year due to operational challenges at the Segovia Operations in the first quarter of 2014. Total gold production in the fourth quarter of 2014 amounted to 29,043 ounces, an 18% increase over the third quarter of 2014 driven by higher grades at the Segovia Operations.
  • Revenue of $123.0 million in 2014 was 17% below last year reflecting a 13% decline in realized gold prices coupled with the 4% decrease in annual gold production. In the fourth quarter of 2014, improved gold production more than offset lower gold prices, increasing revenue to $33.5 million.
  • The Company's ongoing focus on reducing its costs, coupled with the impact of the devaluation of the Colombian peso and improved production on fixed costs per ounce, resulted in a decrease in total cash costs to $908 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2014. All-in sustaining costs ("AISC") continued to show improvement, decreasing to $995 per ounce in the fourth quarter of 2014, within the Company's guidance. See the Company's MD&A for the computation of these non-IFRS measures.
  • The Company continued to control its general and administrative ("G&A") expenses, which amounted to $0.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, bringing the annual G&A for 2014 to $7.3 million, down 35% compared with the prior year. In early January 2015, the Company announced that it had cancelled the full amount of deferred salaries of the Company's executives accumulated through December 2014 in the amount of $0.6 million.
  • The Company recorded after-tax impairment charges in the fourth quarter of 2014 in the amount of $16.7 million, or $0.70 per share, primarily from the impact on estimated future after-tax cash flows at the Segovia Operations as a result of the significant tax rate increases enacted in Colombia in December 2014.
  • The Company reported an adjusted net loss attributable to shareholders of $0.2 million, or $0.01 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared with an adjusted net loss of $4.0 million, or $0.26 per share, in the fourth quarter last year. The adjusted net loss attributable to shareholders for the full year in 2014 amounted to $14.3 million, or $0.65 per share, compared with an adjusted net loss of $17.2 million, or $1.13 per share, reported in 2013. See the Company's MD&A for the computation of these non-IFRS measures.
  • The Company announced on January 9, 2015 that it has engaged GMP Securities L.P. to assist in the evaluation of its various options to remedy the current defaults under the Company's Gold and Silver Notes and to develop a plan to move forward. The Company also engaged SRK Consulting (U.S.), Inc. to work with site personnel to conduct mine plan optimization of the latest resource model for the Segovia Operations to improve future cash flow in the current gold price environment. Monthly interest payments on the Gold Notes started again on February 27, 2015 and the Company commenced monthly interest payments on the Silver Notes on the same date. The Company is now in the process of implementing the actions required to align its mining operations with the SRK mine plan update received at the end of February and it continues to work on the evaluation of remedies with GMP and its legal advisors. The Company expects to begin preliminary discussions with Gold and Silver Notes holders in the second quarter of 2015.

Lombardo Paredes Arenas, Chief Executive Officer of Gran Colombia, commenting on the Company's results for the fourth quarter of 2014, said, "We are pleased with the operating improvements in the fourth quarter with improved production results at our Segovia Operations and, more importantly, bringing our AISC down to the $1,000 per ounce level for the first time. We have since taken steps to optimize Segovia's mine plan in the current gold price environment to improve future cash flow and, with the assistance of our financial advisors, we are looking forward to proceed with discussions with the Gold and Silver Notes holders to rectify the current default."

Financial and Operating Summary

A summary of the financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2014 and 2013 is as follows:


Fourth Quarter

Year


2014

2013

2014

2013

Operating data:






Gold produced (ounces)

29,043

22,106

98,622

102,792


Gold sold (ounces)

28,287

21,247

97,628

102,080








Average realized gold price ($/oz sold)

$      1,168

$        1,295

$      1,237

$            1,416


Total cash costs ($/oz sold) (1)

908

1,077

1,024

1,152


All-in sustaining costs ($/oz sold) (1)

995

1,230

1,145

1,322






Financial data ($000's, except per share amounts):






Revenue

$   33,528

$     28,460

$  123,027

$        148,531


Impairment charges, net of tax

16,659

58,266

16,659

146,684


Net income (loss) attributable to shareholders

11,610

(65,287)

(3,310)

(165,158)


Basic and diluted income (loss) per share

0.49

(4.27)

(0.15)

(10.81)


Adjusted net loss attributable to shareholders(1)

(183)

(4,000)

(14,334)

(17,245)


Basic and diluted adjusted loss per share (1)

(0.01)

(0.26)

(0.65)

(1.13)









December 31,
2014

December 31,
2013

Balance sheet ($000's):






Cash and cash equivalents



$            767

$            1,609


Cash in trust, current and non-current (2)



725

31,774


Gold and Silver Notes (3)



114,341

152,074


Other debt, including current portion



5,958

20,441







 

(1)

Refer to "Additional Financial Measures" in the Company's MD&A.

(2)

2013 included $30.6 million set aside to fund capital costs of the Segovia expansion in 2014 and to pay interest on the Gold Notes through October 2014.

(3)

Represents estimated fair values plus arrears interest. Principal amounts of the Gold and Silver Notes, both of which are currently in default, are $100.0 million and $78.6 million, respectively.

Segovia Operations

The Segovia Operations produced 22,427 ounces of gold in the fourth quarter of 2014, a 21% increase over the third quarter of 2014, fuelled by the impact of improved head grades in material mined by the contract mining cooperatives which averaged 21.37 g/t in the fourth quarter. Segovia's total cash cost in the fourth quarter decreased to an all-time low of $918 per ounce.

Development activity continued in the fourth quarter of 2014 in the Company-operated areas at the Providencia and El Silencio mines to prepare them for 2015, with access to higher grade stopes and improved efficiency through the construction of internal ramps to mechanize material handling, introducing scoops and jumbos into the mining process.

In 2014, material mined by the contract mining cooperatives represented 79% of the 74,506 ounces of gold produced by the Company in its Segovia Operations. This source of production will continue to be an important contributor to operating cash flow in 2015 as the Company completes the transition to mechanized mining at Providencia and El Silencio and development reaches the higher grade mining area in Providencia in the second half of the year. On January 21, 2015, the Company announced that it had negotiated a contract amendment, with immediate effect, with the primary contract miner at the Segovia Operations that is expected to generate additional monthly cost savings of approximately $0.7 million to $0.9 million based on current production volumes and gold prices.

Marmato Operations

At Marmato Underground, an increase in head grades in the fourth quarter of 2014 resulted in an increase in quarterly gold production to 6,616 ounces and, including the positive impact of the Colombian peso devaluation, total cash cost decreased to $874 per ounce. Total annual gold production for 2014 reached 24,116 ounces, up approximately 7% over the prior year.

Outlook

The Company's focus in 2015 will be to reorganize its debt and maximize operating cash flow through implementation of the optimized mine plan at its Segovia Operations commencing in March 2015.

The Company expects to see an increase in total annual gold production in 2015 to approximately 114,000 to 136,000 ounces. This includes production at the Segovia Operations of 90,000 to 110,000 ounces in 2015, influenced by the higher head grades in material mined by the contract mining cooperatives, which are expected to account for about 70% of 2015's annual production at Segovia, and the rate of advance of mine development activities outlined in the optimized mine plan permitting access to higher grade stopes within the Company-operated areas of the Segovia mines. The Company also expects a total of 24,000 to 26,000 ounces at the Marmato underground mine in 2015.

The Company anticipates that its AISC will be between $900 and $1,000 per ounce in 2015. This includes a further reduction in total cash cost per ounce to $700 to $750 per ounce, which will benefit from the Segovia cost savings announced in January 2015, further devaluation of the Colombian peso as experienced in the first quarter of 2015 and from the higher grades expected at the Segovia Operations. G&A expenses are expected to decrease to approximately $6 million for 2015 or approximately $45 to $50 per ounce. Sustaining capital expenditures, as described below, are projected to range from $140 to $190 per ounce in 2015. The AISC estimate for 2015 also includes a provision for environmental discharge fees at Segovia of approximately $13 per ounce.

Expansion and mechanization activities in the optimized mine plan at Segovia are predominantly focused on the Providencia mine in 2015 with projected capital investment of approximately $10 million to $12 million. A significant portion of this capital investment comprises the ongoing monthly mine development to construct the access and attack ramps required to exploit the higher grade stopes. The optimization plan also requires further deepening of the shaft commenced at Providencia in 2014 to improve material handling capabilities as volumes increase and to reduce reliance on the historical mine infrastructure which has limited capacity. Additional mechanized mining equipment will be acquired for use in the Providencia mine. The Company also plans to invest approximately $3 million to $4 million in mine development and mining equipment in certain areas in the El Silencio mine in 2015. The optimized mine plan also includes a limited amount of exploration and geology spending at Segovia to support the 2015 mine plan. At the Marmato underground mine, sustaining capital expenditures, including additional mine development to expand production, are expected to amount to $2.5 million in 2015. 

The new plant included in the Pampa Verde Project is currently approximately 40% complete. In light of the Company's default on the Gold and Silver Notes, the Company has halted work on the new plant in 2015 to preserve cash resources to service its debt and working capital obligations and focus on the essential capital investment in the mining areas at the Segovia Operations. According to SRK, the Segovia mine plan optimization demonstrated that the existing Maria Dama plant has sufficient capacity to process material over the life of mine. The Company is giving consideration to the need for a limited amount of capital investment at its Maria Dama plant in 2015 or 2016 to address discharges of effluents to the environment while the Company analyzes its options for the new plant. 

Webcast

As a reminder, the Company will host a conference call and webcast on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time to discuss the results.

Webcast and call-in details are as follows:

Live Event link:                         

http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/56nevb4v

Toronto & International:             

1 (514) 841-2157

North America Toll Free:

1 (866) 215-5508

Colombia Toll Free:                   

01 800 9 156 924

Conference ID:                         

39310544

 

A replay of the webcast will be available at www.grancolombiagold.com from Wednesday, April 1, 2015 until Friday, May 1, 2015.

About Gran Colombia Gold Corp.

Gran Colombia is a Canadian-based gold and silver exploration, development and production company with its primary focus in Colombia. Gran Colombia is currently the largest underground gold and silver producer in Colombia with several underground mines in operation at its Segovia and Marmato Operations. Gran Colombia is currently advancing a project to develop a modern, large-scale, gold and silver mine at its Segovia operations.

Additional information on Gran Colombia can be found on its website at www.grancolombiagold.com and by reviewing its profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information:

This news release contains "forward-looking information", which may include, but is not limited to, statements with respect to the future financial or operating performance of the Company and its projects and, specifically, statements concerning anticipated growth in annual gold production and reduction of cash costs. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates", or "believes" or variations (including negative variations) of such words and phrases, or state that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Gran Colombia to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements are described under the caption "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Information Form dated as of March 31, 2015, which is available for view on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Forward-looking statements contained herein are made as of the date of this press release and Gran Colombia disclaims, other than as required by law, any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, results, future events, circumstances, or if management's estimates or opinions should change, or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

SOURCE Gran Colombia Gold Corp.

For further information: Mike Davies, Chief Financial Officer, (416) 360-4653, investorrelations@grancolombiagold.com

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