Katanga Mining Announces Third Quarter 2015 Results

BAAR, SWITZERLAND, Nov. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - Katanga Mining Limited (TSX: KAT) ("Katanga" or the "Company") today announces its financial results for the third quarter of 2015. Katanga's Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis will be filed on SEDAR, www.sedar.com.

Highlights during the three and nine months ended September 30, 2015, and Outlook







Three months ended

Nine months ended



Sep 30,

Jun 30,

Sep 30,

Sep 30,



2015

2015

2014

2015

2014

Financial







Realized copper price

$/lb



3.09

2.35

3.07

Realized cobalt price

$/lb



13.00

11.17

12.38

Total sales

$'000



300,523

671,198

815,579

 - including repricing

$'000

(32,039)

(9,520)

3,236

(57,496)

3,763

EBITDA*

$'000

(133,162)

(32,519)

56,232

(207,559)

107,248








Net (loss) income attributable to shareholders

$'000

(188,193)

(84,069)

38,642

(300,693)

116,509

C1 cash costs*

$/lb



1.96

2.92

2.20

Cash flows from operating activities

$'000

(167,644)

(23,083)

65,799

(459,560)

171,085

Mining







Waste mined

tonnes

13,395,209

9,817,347

8,407,593

29,603,671

23,823,138

Ore mined

tonnes

1,779,343

2,201,354

2,224,963

5,828,966

5,569,871

Average copper grade

%

3.94

3.74

3.65

3.75

3.81

Contained copper in ore mined

tonnes

70,079

82,311

81,154

218,297

212,135

Processing







Ore milled

tonnes

1,460,316

2,034,949

1,541,926

5,454,990

4,583,850

Finished copper metal and concentrate

tonnes

36,444

40,096

42,619

113,674

115,219

Finished cobalt

tonnes

1,105

943

899

2,901

1,900

*  Refer to Non-IFRS financial measures in Katanga's Q3 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis.

Review of 2015 Third Quarter Results

Suspension of production

  • On September 11, 2015, the Company announced the decision to suspend the processing of copper and cobalt during the construction phase of the Whole Ore Leach Project ("WOL Project"). This suspension is expected to last up to 18 months.
  • Mining operations are expected to continue at KOV Open Pit and Mashamba East with a focus on waste mining.
  • The shutdown of the plant was achieved in September with the majority of the planned employee redundancies expected to be finalized during Q4 2015. The Company aims to minimize the impact of the suspension on its employees and will retain a minimum of 80% of the existing workforce.

Financial

  • Profitability during Q3 2015, when compared to Q2 2015 and Q3 2014, was affected by:
    • The suspension of production, due to which a one-off $24.0 million restructuring expense consisting of employee redundancy and supplier contract settlement costs was booked;
    • Movements in the copper and cobalt market price, resulting in a negative sales price variances of $47.1 million when compared to Q2 2015 and $98.2 million when compared to Q3 2014;
    • A $25.7 million write-down of inventory to net realizable value driven by the copper price decline ($9.6 million lower than Q2 2015 and $25.7 million higher than Q3 2014);
    • Costs being higher due to increased processing costs at KTC and Luilu which were driven by higher consumption of reagents and increased depreciation as a result of the enlarged asset base;
    • The cessation of borrowing cost capitalisation during Q1 2015 due to the completion of the Phase 5 Expansion Project, resulting in Amended Loan Facility interest expense of $72.4 million for Q3 2015 (Q2 2015 - $70.5 million; Q3 2014 – nil); and
    • Income tax expense of $0.2 million in Q3 2015 (Q2 2015 - $53.9 million recovery; Q3 2014 - $26.7 million recovery) due to the cessation of deferred tax recognition on tax losses carried forward in the DRC and incurred after Q2 2015.
  • Cash flows from operating activities decreased in Q3 2015, when compared to Q3 2014 and Q2 2015, due to the decline in profitability, exacerbated by increased working capital requirements, notably for the repayment of accounts payable and increased consumable stores.  These cash outflows were funded by customer prepayments from Glencore.

Mining

  • During Q3 2015, the Company mined a record amount of waste tonnes, an increase of 59% when compared to Q3 2014 and 36% when compared to Q2 2015. This is principally due to production at KOV Open Pit where new mining fleet was commissioned in the intervening year.
  • During Q3 2015, ore tonnes mined decreased by 20% when compared to Q3 2014 and by 19% when compared to Q2 2015. This is principally due to the focus on the mining of waste material following the suspension of the copper and cobalt processing.
  • Q3 2015 contained copper decreased by 14% over Q3 2014 and by 15% over Q2 2015, as the decreased volume was partly offset by the higher average copper grade achieved.
  • In Q3 2015, the Company commissioned:
    • One new Caterpillar 6030 Backhoe Excavator in KOV to facilitate increased ore and waste mining capacity and improve dewatering management.

Processing

  • Due to plant shutdown, ore milled at KTC during Q3 2015 decreased by 5% when compared to Q3 2014 and by 28% when compared to Q2 2015.
  • Finished copper metal and concentrate produced of 36,444 tonnes represented a decrease of 14% over Q3 2014 and of 9% over Q2 2015. This was driven by the lower grades and volume of concentrate feed to Luilu.
  • Cobalt metal produced totalled a record 1,105 tonnes for Q3 2015, a 23% increase from Q3 2014 and a 17% increase from Q2 2015, due to the increased grades fed together with improved recoveries thereon.
  • In Q3 2015, the Company commissioned the following assets at KTC and Luilu in order to improve throughputs and recoveries:
    • Upgrade of Wemco cells and reagent addition system (Tank Cells) at KTC to improve oxide concentrate recoveries and grades; and
    • Upgrade of Spray Bars (Tank Cells) at KTC to improve recoveries by breaking the froth and increasing the velocity of concentrate throughput to transfer tank.
  • The assets listed above will directly benefit the WOL process when it is commissioned in H1 2017.

Projects

  • During Q3 2015, progress continued on the WOL Project:
    • Detailed engineering design was completed for the Pre Leach, Leach and Post Leach circuits and satisfactory progress was made on the earth works and civil works; and
    • Committed capital expenditures amounted to $43.8 million for site excavation and civil work.

Review of 2015 First Nine Months Results

Financial

  • Profitability during Q3 2015 YTD, when compared to Q3 2014 YTD, was adversely affected by:
    • The decline in the copper and cobalt market price, resulting in a sales price variance of $193.1 million;
    • A $85.9 million write-down of inventory to net realizable value driven by the copper price decline (Q3 2014 YTD - $0.8 million);
    • A one-off $24.0 million restructuring expense consisting of employee redundancy and supplier contract settlement costs;
    • Costs being higher due to increased mining expenditure, increased processing costs at KTC and Luilu as a result of higher reagent consumption, and increased depreciation as a result of the enlarged asset base; and
    • The cessation of borrowing cost capitalisation during Q3 2015 YTD due to the completion of the Phase 5 Expansion Project, resulting in Amended Loan Facility interest expense of $166.6 million for the nine month period.
  • Income tax recoveries were $111.1 million in Q3 2015 YTD (Q3 2014 YTD - $130.2 million). The decrease is due to the cessation of deferred tax recognition on tax losses carried forward in the DRC and incurred after Q2 2015.
  • Cash flows from operating activities decreased in Q3 2015 YTD due to the decline in profitability, in addition to increased working capital requirements, notably due to increased inventories and decreased payables. These cash outflows were funded by customer prepayments from Glencore.

Mining

  • During Q3 2015 YTD, the Company increased the ore production by 5%, when compared to Q3 2014 YTD; this is principally due to an increase in ore production of 8% at KOV Open Pit where a new mining fleet was commissioned in the intervening year. KTO contributed with a 2% increase in ore production, compared to Q3 2014 YTD due to higher stope availability resulting from increased backfilling and development. Waste tonnes mined were 24% higher than Q3 2014 YTD.
  • Q3 2015 YTD contained copper increased by 3%, when compared to Q3 2014 YTD, as the increased volume was partly offset by the lower average copper grade achieved.
  • In Q3 2015 YTD, the Company commissioned:
    • One new Caterpillar 6030 Backhoe Excavator in KOV to facilitate increased ore and waste mining capacity and improve dewatering management;
    • Two Caterpillar R2900G loaders in KTO to increase the ore and waste handling capacity;
    • One lube truck and six Atlas Copco 282 Jumbos for use underground;
    • Two Caterpillar D11 dozers, one Caterpillar 834K dozer and one Caterpillar 24M grader to optimize mined waste management;
    • Five new Caterpillar 793D haul trucks operating in KOV to increase ore and waste mining capacity; and
    • One Caterpillar AD45B haul truck operating in KTO to facilitate increased ore and waste mining capacity.

Processing

  • Ore milled at KTC during Q3 2015 YTD was 19% higher than Q3 2014 YTD driven by the increased volumes milled at CM5 (commissioned as part of the Phase 5 Expansion Project).
  • Finished copper metal and concentrate produced decreased by 1% over Q3 2014 YTD driven by the lower mined grades.
  • Cobalt metal produced totalled 2,901 tonnes for Q3 2015 YTD, a 53% increase from Q3 2014 YTD due to the increased volume fed together with improved recoveries thereon.
  • In Q3 2015 YTD, the Company commissioned the following assets at KTC and Luilu in order to improve throughputs and recoveries:
    • Upgrade of Wemco cells and reagent addition system (Tank Cells) at KTC to improve oxide concentrate recoveries and grades;
    • Upgrade of Spray Bars (Tank Cells) at KTC to improve recoveries by breaking the froth and increasing the velocity of concentrate throughput to transfer tank;
    • Improvements to the froth skimmers in the KTC oxide flotation section which improved mass-pull in the Wemco cells;
    • Upgrade of cleaner bank cells in the oxide flotation section to improve oxide concentrate grades;
    • Upgrade of 20m3 tank cells in the old re-cleaner circuit with additional pre-floatation cells to increase pre-float capacity;
    • Installation of a second concentrate transfer line to increase concentrate transfer to Luilu;
    • A new pumping station at Mupine tailings facility to increase water capacity to both KTC and Luilu;
    • An upgrade to the existing water filtration plant; and
    • Enhancements to the roaster for utilities, calcine cooling and gas treatment.
  • The assets listed above will directly benefit the WOL process when it is commissioned in H1 2017.

Outlook

  • During Q4 2015, the Company expects to finalize the contractor demobilization process and reduce direct headcount following the suspension of copper and cobalt production.
  • The WOL project is on budget and on track to achieve a phased restart and ramp up of copper and cobalt processing in H1 2017.
  • An optimised life of mine ("LOM") plan incorporating the WOL process is currently being prepared and is expected to be concluded in Q1 2016. This process is expected to result in optimised oxide and sulphide ore production over the LOM, leading to increased revenues, higher total finished copper recoveries and lower operational costs when operations resume in 2017.

This press release was prepared under the supervision of Tim Henderson, Technical Consultant and Director, Katanga and a "qualified person" as such term is defined in NI 43-101. Mr. Henderson has reviewed and approved the contents of this press release.

About Katanga Mining Limited
Katanga Mining Limited operates a major mine complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo producing refined copper and cobalt. The Company has the potential to become Africa's largest copper producer and the world's largest cobalt producer. Katanga is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol KAT.

Forward Looking Statements
This press release may contain forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, statements concerning the Whole Ore Leach Project, the suspension of copper and cobalt processing and related organizational changes, the shift in focus to the mining of waste material, the reduction in employee and labour headcount, and the timeline for the recommencement of processing of copper and cobalt. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "plans", "expects" or "does not expect", "is expected", "budget", "scheduled", "estimates", "forecasts", "intends", "anticipates" or "does not anticipate", or "believes", or describes a "goal", or variation 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.

All forward-looking statements reflect the Company's beliefs and assumptions based on information available at the time the statements were made. Actual results or events may differ from those predicted in these forward-looking statements. All of the Company's forward-looking statements are qualified by the assumptions that are stated or inherent in such forward-looking statements, including the assumptions listed below. Although the Company believes that these assumptions are reasonable, this list is not exhaustive of factors that may affect any of the forward-looking statements. The key assumptions that have been made in connection with the forward-looking statements include: there being no significant disruptions affecting the operations of the Company whether due to labour disruptions, supply disruptions, unforeseen problems with the design, engineering and construction of the WOL Project, power disruptions, rollout of new equipment, damage to equipment or otherwise; permitting, development, operations, expansion and acquisitions being consistent with the Company's current expectations; continued recognition of the Company's mining concessions and other assets, rights, titles and interests in the Democratic Republic of Congo ("DRC"); political and legal developments in the DRC being consistent with its current expectations; the continued provision or procurement of additional funding from Glencore for the operations, the completion of the T17 Underground Mine and the Power Project; the successful completion of, and realizing the intended benefits from the Power Project; new equipment performs to expectations; certain price assumptions for copper and cobalt; prices for diesel, natural gas, fuel oil, electricity and other key supplies being approximately consistent with current levels; the accuracy of the current ore reserve and mineral resource estimates of the Company (including but not limited to ore tonnage and ore grade estimates); and labour and material costs increasing on a basis consistent with the Company's current expectations.

Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, future events, conditions, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, prediction, projection, forecast, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the actual results of current exploration activities; actual results and interpretation of current reclamation activities; conclusions of economic evaluations; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; future prices of copper and cobalt; possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents, labour disputes and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of exploration, development or construction activities, delays due to strikes or other work stoppage, both internal and external to the Company, as well as those factors disclosed in the Company's current annual information form and other publicly filed documents. Although Katanga has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual actions, events or results to differ materially from those described in forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause actions, events or results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. 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, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, except in accordance with applicable securities laws.

SOURCE Katanga Mining Limited

For further information: Johnny Blizzard, CEO, Tel: +41 (041) 766 71 10; Matthew Colwill, CFO, Tel:+41 (041) 766 71 10

RELATED LINKS
www,katangamining.com

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