Alexis Minerals Corporation
TSX : AMC
OTCQX : AXSMF

Alexis Minerals Corporation

May 17, 2010 22:35 ET

Alexis Announces First Quarter 2010 Financial Results

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - May 17, 2010) - ALEXIS MINERALS CORPORATION (TSX:AMC)(OTCQX:AXSMF)(PINK SHEETS:AXSMF) has reported its first quarter 2010 Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis for the three month period ended March 31, 2010. The Company's strategic initiative of growth in production and resources was supported with the successful acquisition of Garson Gold Corp., which closed subsequent to the quarter end. This acquisition has more than doubled Alexis's current gold resources. Upon the targeted completion in September of a Snow Lake feasibility study, it will triple gold reserves and provide Alexis the potential to increase gold production towards the targeted 150,000 oz. annualized production rate by the end of 2011. The Lac Herbin gold mine continued to produce gold; however encountered unexpected problems late in the quarter resulting in less gold than expected being produced. These quarterly result documents can be reviewed in full on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) or on the Company's website at www.alexisminerals.com.

[Note: All figures are reported in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted].

Q1- 2010 Summary:

  • The Company reported revenue of $5.3 million for the first quarter of 2010, compared to $6.8 million for the first quarter of 2009, as less gold was mined and recovered year-over-year (see below).
  • The Company sold 4,750 ounces of gold at an average realized price of $1,155/oz (USD $1,114/oz), compared to 6,375 ounces at an average realized price of $1,128/oz (USD $ 901/oz) during the first quarter of 2009.
  • Lac Herbin, in Val-d'Or, Quebec, mined 6,528 oz. of gold and milled 6,171 oz. of gold in Q1- 2010. This was lower than target and lower than Q1 2009. The grades achieved were lower than planned due to:
    • lower gold content than estimated in certain stoping areas;
    • unexpected excessive mining dilution in two areas; and,
    • delay of stoping in one area of the Hangingwall Zone as a result of extra ore development along new extensions to the stoping area discovered during development.

The lower gold content was a result of insufficient information and too much emphasis given to high grade assays. More definition drilling and sampling of production drill holes have been implemented to better identify the lower grade pockets and leave those in place or mine as waste.

The unexpected excessive dilution in two stoping areas was a result of mining the last stopes in areas characterized by problematic ground conditions. The systematic implementation of cable bolting in other similar areas has resulted in improved ground control and dilution from similar areas has returned to planned levels. When excessive dilution was discovered, late in the first quarter, an alternate mining method was implemented during development to mine only that portion of higher grade mineralization and in areas where additional ground support was added.

As a result of these problems the 2010 guidance for gold production at Lac Herbin has been reduced to approximately 32,000 ounces, 3,000 ounces lower than our previous guidance. This amendment is being made at this time as it is expected the shortage of ounces during the first quarter will not be recouped.

  • Cash cost (see non-GAAP measures) of sales per ounce of the Lac Herbin gold sold was $1,027 for the quarter. This is an anomaly, compared to the trend of previous quarters and we expect cash cost to fall back in line, in Q2, with our 5-Year Life of Mine plan. This increase over the previous quarters was a direct result of lower overall mine grade and above plan costs incurred as a result of unplanned continued custom milling in Q1 (for transport and custom milling). Custom milling continued due to a two month delay in the Aurbel mill start-up. The mill startup was delayed in part due to permitting delays of the tailings area and in part due to the unexpected replacement of older parts as the mill began operating. Cash cost per tonne for Q1 was $171/tonne, compared to $154/tonne during the same period last year.
  • The Company continued with the bulk sample and feasibility program at the Lac Pelletier gold project. Exploration drill results indicate the possibility of new mineralized structures, with new high grade results. An additional 7,000 metres of underground drilling provided strong grades, up to 24.77 g/t over 6.2 metres. However, the project did not achieve the level of expected gold production due to less stope muck and the inclusion of more development muck in the bulk sample. Additional development drifts were excavated as work progressed to understand and follow the actual ore bearing structures in the development headings. The result was a shortfall of approximately 5,700 ounces of gold production, negatively impacting planned cash flow.
  • The refurbishment of our wholly-owned Aurbel Gold Mill was mechanically completed in January, 2010, and commissioning began in early March, 2010. Using our own mill is expected to reduce annual operating costs at Lac Herbin by an estimated 10% per tonne. The startup was delayed by two months due to permitting delays of the tailings area and final receipt of the Certificate of Authorization. The commissioning of the mill has taken slightly longer than anticipated due to the age of the components of the circuit and understanding the metallurgical behavior of the ore. The mill is now operating at a rate of 500 tonnes per day and recovery of 90%. Actions to improve both throughput and recoveries include additional process control measures, adding the use of the existing high performance flotation cell and systematic sampling of the process to optimize the reagent additions.
  • Extensive exploration and delineation drilling occurred during Q1 totaling 31,973 metres:
    • At Snow Lake exploration is continuing with two surface drills and we have identified the potential for a major new ore zone to the east of the Main Mine, similar to one of two principal ore lenses which broadly characterize the Snow Lake deposit, and from which over 1.4 million ounces of gold were historically mined.
    • During Q1-2010, the Manitou-Barvue deposit was tested on the down dip extension with an additional deep hole, east and down plunge of the deposit. Results are under review. Further successful exploration may prove this deposit to be larger than historically mined with potential to represent a significant multi-million tonne target.
    • Detailed recompilation of the Val-d'Or formation in the area of the Louvicourt Deposit has been advanced significantly with the interpretation of a major fold in the Dunraine area. Deep exploration drilling has now resumed to test the up-plunge extension of the Deep West Zone, located 1.5 km from the Louvicourt deposit. The Company is searching for a significant deposit in the range of 40-60 million tonnes.
  • The acquisition of Garson Gold Corp. ("Garson") was finalized and Garson was delisted as a publicly traded company on May 4, 2010.
  • The Company began trading in the United States on the Over-the-Counter QX International trading platform, providing more exposure to American investors.
Q1 2010 Financial Results Three Months   Three Months  
  ended 31-Mar-10   ended 31-Mar-09  
         
Tonnes of ore mined   39,050     33,996  
Grade per tonne mined   5.20     7.12  
Total gold ounces mined   6,528     7,783  
Tonnes of ore milled   35,799     27,869  
Grade per tonne milled   5.36     7.68  
Total gold ounces milled   6,171     6,879  
Average recovery rate   93.0 %   97.5 %
Gold ounces recovered   5,736     6,708  
Gold ounces sold   4,750     6,375  
Average realized gold price (per oz CAD) $ 1,155   $ 1,128  
Revenue from mining operations (net of Royalties and refining charges CAD 000's) $ 5,251   $ 6,819  
Mine operating expenses (excludes depletion and amortization - CAD 000's) $ 4,878   $ 4,308  
Amortization and depletion (CAD 000's) $ 1,206   $ 1,411  
Gross profit (CAD 000's) $ (833 ) $ 1,100  
Net earnings (loss) (CAD 000's) $ (1,625 ) $ 102  
Basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share (CAD) $ (0.01 ) $ 0.00  
Cash flow from operating activities (CAD 000's) $ 1,266   $ 3,283  
Cash cost of sales per ounces sold (CAD)   $1,027 (i )  $ 676  
             
(i) See Non-GAAP Measures and comments under "Q1 2010 Summary" above regarding Cost of Sales at Lac Herbin  

Non GAAP Measures

The Company has included certain Non-GAAP performance measures, namely cash costs per gold ounce sold and working capital, throughout this document. In the gold mining industry, these are common performance measures but do not have any standardized meaning, and are Non-GAAP measures. The Company believes that, in addition to conventional measures prepared in accordance with GAAP, we and certain investors use this information to evaluate the Company's performance and ability to generate cash, profits and meet financial commitments. These Non GAAP measures are intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with GAAP. The following tables provide a reconciliation of cash costs per gold ounce sold for the three months ended March 31, 2010 and 2009, and a reconciliation of working capital to the financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2010 and the twelve months ended December 31, 2009.

Working Capital      
(CAD 000's)      
Current assets: March 31, 2010   December 31, 2009
  Cash and cash equivalents $ 1,567   $ 6,106
  Amounts receivable   2,168     2,083
  Tax credits receivable   6,147     7,465
  Inventory   7,178     6,168
  Prepaid expenses   376     273
  Investments   332     122
           
    17,768     22,217
Current liabilities          
  Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $ 18,318   $ 13,687
  Current portion of capital lease obligations   349     412
  Current portion of long-term debt   74     99
  Liability component of convertible debenture   6,372     6,143
    25,113     20,341
           
  Working capital (current assets less current liabilities)   ($7,345 ) $ 1,876
           
Cash Cost per ounces sold          
    Q1 - 2010     Q1 – 2009
Revenue          
           
From commercial production ounces (CAD 000's) $ 5,251   $ 6,819
           
Ounces sold   4,750     6,375
           
Mine operating expenses (CAD 000's) $ 4,878   $ 4,308
           
Cash cost per ounce sold (CAD) (mining operating expenses divided by ounces sold) $ 1,027   $ 676

Quality Control

The technical and scientific content of this press release has been reviewed by Keith Boyle, P.Eng., Chief Operating Officer, Alexis Minerals and Qualified Person as defined under NI 43-101 guidelines.

About Alexis Minerals

Alexis Minerals Corporation is a Canadian mining company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (symbol "AMC") and trades in the United States on the Over the Counter QX International platform ("OTCQX: AXSMF"). The Company owns one producing gold mine in Val-d'Or and the right to earn a 100% interest in the Lac Pelletier gold property in Rouyn-Noranda, both in Quebec. Alexis also owns the Snow Lake Mine in Manitoba. With these assets Alexis has the potential to develop gold production forwards. Alexis is targeting mid-tier gold production levels in 2011. Alexis undertakes exploration in the mineral rich Val-d'Or (100% ownership of 212 sq. km.) and Rouyn-Noranda Mining Camps (50% ownership of 785 sq.km and in joint venture with Xstrata Copper) as well as in the Snow Lake Mining Camp (100% ownership of 50 sq. km). For more information about Alexis Minerals visit www.alexisminerals.com.

Forward looking information.

This document may contain or refer to forward looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws, based on current expectations, including, but not limited to, mineralization projections, future exploration priorities, estimates and costs, projected capital and operating expenditures, future exploration plans and techniques, estimates regarding the timing and costs of exploration, mineral prices, and future mining plans. Forward looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including those risks identified in the annual information form of the Company, which is available under the profile of the Company on SEDAR, and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from expected results. Estimates and assumptions underlying the mineralization projections are based upon extensive technical and scientific analysis conducted by the management of the Company, the results from drill programs and other exploration, the analysis of external consultants and information obtained by the Company from third parties. Readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. Forward looking information is provided as of the date hereof and we assume no responsibility to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances.

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