Atacama Minerals Corp.
TSX VENTURE : AAM

Atacama Minerals Corp.

September 03, 2010 13:50 ET

Atacama Q2 2010 Highlights

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 3, 2010) - Atacama Minerals Corp. ("Atacama" or "the Company") (TSX VENTURE:AAM) is pleased to report its financial and operating results for the second quarter period ended June 30, 2010.

Second Quarter 2010 Highlights

  • Both tonnes mined and grade for the second quarter of 2010 were higher than budgeted. Production year-to-date is in line with budget and forecasts, and with warmer weather on the horizon, the outlook is positive for the remainder of the year.
  • Net loss for the second quarter of 2010 was US$1.9 million compared to a net income of $2.1 million over the same period last year. The net loss for the quarter was primarily a result of foreign currency translation losses and higher exploration expenses relating to the Salvador potash project.
  • Income from mining operations continues to be positive for the second quarter of 2010 at $619,000.
  • Sales revenue for the quarter was US$7.4 million versus US$7.6 million for the same period in 2009 representing a 2.7% decrease due to a slight decrease in sales volume.
  • The exploration program at Aguas Blancas continued without interruption during the second quarter. Focus remains on converting resources to reserves as well as adding to the resource base.
  • At June 30, 2010, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $31.0 million and working capital of $35.3 million as compared to cash of $32.9 million and working capital of $36.4 million at December 31, 2009.
  • Atacama maintained its excellent safety and environmental records during the second quarter, with no lost time accidents among the Company workforce or environmental incidents at the site.

Financial and Operational Highlights

  Three Three Six Six
  Months Months Months Months
  Ended Ended Ended Ended
  June 30, June 30, June 30, June 30,
  2010 2009 2010 2009
Financial Highlights in US $'000, except for data per share        
Revenue 7,411 7,571 15,858 13,157
Net Income (loss) (1,870) 2,071 (1,376) 1,355
Earnings (loss) per Share (0.01) 0.01 (0.01) 0.01
Earnings (loss) before interest, foreign exchange on cash balances, income taxes, depletion, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") 283 1,248 1,650 2,415
         
Operating Highlights        
Tonnes Mined 865,165 581,038 1,794,292 1,618,528
Iodine Grade (ppm) 693 551 656 549
Iodine Produced (t) 275 247 591 493
Iodine Sold (t) 273 281 590 480

Aguas Blancas Iodine Mine – Chile

  • Design details were finalized for the modifications to the Agitated Leach Plant (ALP) early in Q2. Procurement and manufacture of the items required to carry out the modifications are underway. Construction will begin in the third quarter and is projected to be completed in November 2010, at which time commissioning will begin. Commissioning will be complete in early January 2011, and ramp up to full production levels will likely require the first 6 months of 2011.
  • Tonnes mined in the second quarter of 2010 were 26% higher than the same period in 2009. There was also a considerable improvement in grade of ore mined.
  • Various optimizations and modifications continued over the second quarter 2010. The material shortfall from one of the mine contractors has been made up by mining Repasos and clean-up high grade material from the old mined out areas. Larger pads were built in the first half of 2010, which had a negative effect on June's production, due to lag time between startup of new heaps and the production of iodine. This should be a one-time experience. The cleaning process of the Blow Out towers continues as planned and the solution heater has helped maintain high throughout and recovery in the plant during the winter time.

Salvador Potash Project – Brazil

  • The first drill hole in the Salvador potash project in Salvador Bahia, Brazil, made virtually no progress during the second quarter, advancing only about 60 meters due to difficult ground conditions. The second hole is advancing and is currently at a depth of nearly 1,000 meters. Additional gravity studies have been carried out to assist with determining new drill hole locations.
  • Permitting of drill hole sites is ongoing, and there are 8 additional locations at various stages of the process. Current estimations are that these locations will be approved sometime late in 2010 or perhaps in early 2011. Meanwhile, there are currently 4 approved drill sites which will be more than adequate for the remainder of the year. Depending on the initial results of the first two holes, the plan will be to complete these two holes, after which the information will be used to prepare a scoping study on the potash project potential for review prior to committing to further investment in the project. Engineering groups are under review to assist with this scoping study.

On behalf of the Board,

Tim Miller, President and CEO

About Atacama Minerals

Atacama Minerals Corp. is a Canadian company focused on the discovery and development of economic industrial minerals projects in South America. The Company produces iodine from its Aguas Blancas mine in northern Chile. In addition, the Company holds a potash exploration project in northeastern Brazil.

This news release contains forward-looking statements concerning the Company's plans for its properties. These forward-looking statements are subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties which could cause actual events or results to differ materially from those reflected in the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, risks and uncertainties relating to political risks involving the Company's exploration and development of its properties, the inherent uncertainty of cost estimates and the potential for unexpected costs and expenses, commodity price fluctuations, the inability or failure to obtain adequate financing on a timely basis and other risks and uncertainties, including those described in the Company's periodic filings with the British Columbia Securities Commission. Such information contained herein represents management's best judgment as of the date hereof based on information currently available. The Company does not intend to update this information and disclaims any legal liability to the contrary.

Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Contact Information

  • Atacama Minerals Corp.
    Sophia Shane
    Corporate Development
    (604) 689-7842
    (604) 689-4250 (FAX)
    www.atacama.com