Castle Gold Corporation
TSX VENTURE : CSG

Castle Gold Corporation

November 25, 2009 15:54 ET

Castle Gold Reports Third Quarter 2009 Operating and Financial Results

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 25, 2009) - CASTLE GOLD CORPORATION (Castle Gold, the Company) (TSX VENTURE:CSG) today reported its financial and operating results for the third quarter 2009 period ended September 30, 2009. The Consolidated Financial Statements and related Notes along with the Management's Discussion and Analysis have been filed with SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and can be viewed on the Company's website at www.CastleGoldCorp.com.

Highlights for the Third Quarter 2009

  • Gold sale revenues reached new highs of $7,881,260 for the third quarter of 2009 resulting primarily from a 27% increase in ounces sold from the El Castillo mine (7,311 ounces) for the quarter. The net loss for the third quarter of ($1,438,462) primarily resulted from a future tax expense of ($1,258,000) as a result of the utilization of the loss carry forwards from the El Castillo mine and a foreign exchange loss of ($426,767), primarily a function of the appreciation of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar and the impact on the Company's Canadian dollar denominated debt during the period. The Company's net earnings reported would have been $647,704, or $0.01 per share for the third quarter if adjusted for the following expenses recorded during the quarter; future income tax expense of $1,258,000; foreign exchange loss of $426,767; M&A costs of $115,436 and a mineral property write-off charge of $285,963.

  • The second delivery of equipment from the El Castillo mine contractor's new fleet arrived at site in July. The new equipment additions were 4 Caterpillar CAT 740, 40 ton capacity articulated trucks and 1 Caterpillar CAT 988H, 8.5 yard capacity front-end-loader. The new fleet was intended to facilitate the Company's planned ramp up in monthly mining rates from the prior quarters' level of approximately 500,000 tonnes per month to 800,000 tonnes per month.

  • Monthly mining rates (total ore and waste) averaged 865,000 tonnes for the third quarter (a 39% increase from the second quarter) in excess of previously stated goals for the mine contractor's new equipment fleet. A new monthly production rate record of 931,000 tonnes was achieved in September as operations continued to optimise the utilisation of the new mine contractor's equipment.

  • The company's rainy season mitigation programs were effective, resulting in a minimal impact on overall operations.

  • Planning work continued on the expansion of the existing leach pad areas and for the construction of a new life-of-mine leach pad area and plant (work to be initiated in the first half of 2010).

During the quarter ended September 30, 2009, consolidated metal revenues were $7,881,260 on the sale of 8,246 ounces of gold consisting of revenues of $6,988,074 on 7,311 ounces of gold from the operations at the El Castillo mine for the period July 1 to September 30, 2009 and $893,186 (100%-$1,786,372) on 935 ounces of gold (100%-1,870) from the Company's 50% interest in the El Sastre mine. This compares to metal revenues of $5,037,769 on 5,759 ounces of gold sold from the operations at the El Castillo mine and revenues of $1,291,880 (100% - 2,583,760) on 1,522 ounces of gold (100% - 3,044) from the Company's 50% interest in the El Sastre mine for consolidated metal revenues of $6,329,649 on the sale of 7,281 ounces of gold for the prior year period of July 1 to September 30, 2008. The increase in revenues and gold sales during the three month period ended September 30, 2009 as compared to the same prior year period is a result of a 27% increase in ounces of gold sold from the El Castillo mine offset by a 38% decrease in the ounces of gold sold from the El Sastre gold mine. 

Consolidated production costs at both the El Sastre and El Castillo gold mines for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 were $4,734,721 as compared to $4,235,381 in the same prior year period representing an overall cost of sales for the period of $574 per ounce of gold sold compared to $582 per ounce of gold sold for the same prior year period. Depreciation, depletion and amortization were $888,834 for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 as compared to $406,793 for the three month period ended September 30, 2008. The increase in operating costs and depreciation, depletion and amortization reflect the increase in the ounces produced and sold from the Company's El Castillo mine that attained commercial production status effective July 1, 2008 and the near completion of the El Sastre gold mine.

Changes in non-operating items for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 compared to the same prior year period, included: (1) an increase in general and administrative costs to $1,329,947 as compared to $1,140,780 in the prior year period a result of the change in the corporate structure in mid 2008 and the Strategic Alternative Review; (2) a ($426,767) loss in foreign exchange as compared to a gain of $281,176 in the prior year period, primarily a function of the appreciation of the Canadian dollar relative to the U.S. dollar and the impact on the Company's Canadian dollar denominated debt during the period; (3) interest expense of ($225,155) as compared to ($232,664) in the prior year period; (4) ($168,660) in income tax expense as compared to ($258,755) in the prior year period; and($1,258,000) in future tax expenses compared to a recovery of $584,000 in the prior year period, reflecting the utilization of the loss carry forwards associated with the El Castillo property.

Included in general and administrative expenses of $1,329,947 for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 as compared to $1,140,780 for the same prior year period are (1) legal, professional and consulting fees and expenses of $218,373 as compared to $193,071 in the prior year period with the current year period inclusive of professional and legal expenses associated with the Strategic Alternative Review process as compared to legal and professional fees related to restructuring in the prior year period; (2) stock based compensation of $117,064 as compared to $272,558 in the prior year period related to the Company's revised option vesting structure implemented in the 2008 year; (3) investor relations expenses of $38,174 as compared to $64,125 in the prior year period related to the reduction in investor relation consulting fees during the current period; (4) $217,966 in director & M&A fees and expenses as compared to $nil in the prior year period reflecting the change in the corporate structure in mid 2008 and the Strategic Alternative Review process; (5);the recording of $209,273 in general administrative expenses for the El Castillo mine compared to $88,525 in the prior year period; and (6) the recording of $nil in general and administrative expenses for the Company's 50% interest in the Rocas el Tambor mine compared to $87,556 in the prior year period.

The Company reported a net loss for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 of ($1,438,462) or ($0.02) per share compared to earnings of $769,645 or $0.01 per share for the three month period ended September 30, 2008.

Operating Performance - El Castillo Mine, Durango State, Mexico (100% interest)

During the quarter, a total of 2,594,800 tonnes of material were mined from the open pit of which 1,051,300 tonnes of ore, having an average grade of 0.42 grams per tonne gold, was placed on the leach pad. During the quarter, the Company placed an estimated 14,100 ounces of gold in ore on the leach pads of which the Company estimates 8,500 ounces of gold are recoverable for a calculated recovery rate of 60%. Gold production during the quarter was 7,655 ounces and gold sales were 7,311 ounces at an average realized price of $956 per ounce of gold for gross proceeds of $6,989,316. Gold production figures shown reflect the gold recovered in the gold processing facilities while gold sales refer to the gold contained in the final refined doré as of the date of the final sale transaction. 

It is expected that in the fourth quarter 2009 the tonnage mined will average near 900,000 tonnes per month and that the waste to ore ratio will average 1.40 to 1.50 as waste continues to be removed to facilitate higher production of ore at the expanded 900,000 tonnes per month production level. The average grade of ore mined is expected to be similar to that of the currently reported quarter according to the current mine plan.

Operating StatisticsThree Months
Ended
Sept 30, 2009
(100%)
 Three Months
 Ended
Sept 30, 2008
(100%)
Total tonnes mined  2,594,800 1,245,000
Tonnes waste1,543,500 753,000
Tonnes ore-direct to leach pad 782,950 344,000
Tonnes crushed and placed 268,350 142,000
Tonnes ore placed on leach pad 1,051,300 486,000
Gold grade (grams/tonne)0.42 0.50
Gold produced – commercial production (ounces) 7,655 4,692
Gold sales (ounces) 7,311 5,729
Average realized gold price per ounce (US$) $956 $869
Cost of sales per ounce sold (US$) $542 $685
Adjusted cost of sales per ounce sold (US$) $401 $585
    

During the third quarter 2009, El Castillo production costs were $542 per ounce of gold sold. The adjusted cost of production was $401 per ounce of gold sold, the difference a function of the higher than average removal of waste relative to ore that occurred in the quarter at 1.47 to 1 and what this cost would have otherwise been had El Castillo been mined at the life-of-mine waste to ore ratio of 0.6 to 1. It is expected that these higher than average costs will continue throughout 2009, following which the strip ratio begins to decline towards the life-of-mine average by the second half of 2010.

Operating Performance – El Sastre Mine, Guatemala (50% interest)

During the three month period ended September 30, 2009, a total of 91,000 tonnes of material were mined at the El Sastre gold mine. Of this amount a total of 56,000 tonnes was ore at an average grade of 1.21 g/t gold which was placed on the leach pad. 39,000 tonnes was run of mine ore (not crushed) having an average grade of 1.33 g/t gold and a total of 17,000 tonnes was crushed ore having an average grade of 0.92 g/t gold. 

Gold production at the El Sastre gold mine for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 was 3,551 ounces of gold of which 1,775 ounces of gold are attributable to Castle Gold's 50% interest. Gold sales for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 totalled 1,870 ounces of gold of which 935 ounces of gold are attributable to Castle Gold's 50% interest. Gold sales revenues recorded for the three month period ended September 30, 2009 were $1,786,373 (50% - $ 893,186 for an average realized price of $956 per ounce of gold. Any figures reported for gold sales refer to the gold contained in the final refined doré as of the date of the final sale transaction. Due to timing delays associated with final gold refining, compared to the measured amount of gold in the loaded carbon, any gold produced that has not been fully refined is recorded as inventory until such time as a sale transaction has taken place.

Operating StatisticsThree Months
Ended
Sept 30, 2009
(50%)
 Three Months
 Ended
Sept 30, 2008
(50%)
Total tonnes mined 45,500 83,500
Tonnes waste17,500 42,500
Tonnes ore-direct to leach pad 19,500 29,500
Tonnes crushed and placed 8,500 11,500
Tonnes ore placed on leach pad 28,000 41,000
Gold grade (grams/tonne)1.21 2.55
Gold produced (ounces) 1,775 1,913
Gold sales (ounces) 935 1,522
Average realized gold price per ounce (US$) $956 $849
Cost of sales per ounce sold (US$) $821 $192
    

Mining operations at the El Sastre project are presently winding down. Reduced quantities of ore will continue to be recovered from peripheral areas of the resource until the end of 2009. The Company will continue crushing operations on existing coarse ore stockpiles into early 2010 (although at a reduced production rate). Site leaching operations are projected to continue into 2011 although gold production rates will decline as new ore production ceases. 

About Castle Gold

Castle Gold Corporation is a growth oriented gold producer with projects focused in the America's. The Company owns a 100% interest in the El Castillo gold mine in Mexico and a 50% interest in the El Sastre gold mine in Guatemala. Castle Gold is also advancing exploration and development work at its La Fortuna gold-silver-copper project in Mexico and at its El Sastre and El Arenal project in Guatemala.

Forward Looking Statements

Certain statements in this press release constitute "forward-looking" statements that involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Castle Gold to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. When used in this news release, words such as "will be used", "plans", "hope", and "expects" and similar expressions to the extent they relate to Castle Gold are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Unless required by applicable securities law, Castle Gold does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements.

TSX-V Trading Symbol: CSG
Total Shares Outstanding: 79.2MM
Fully Diluted: 85.9MM
52-Week Trading Range: C$0.15 - $1.30

The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.

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