Aurora Energy Resources Inc.
TSX : AXU

Aurora Energy Resources Inc.

March 02, 2009 10:30 ET

Aurora Reports 2008 Annual Results

ST. JOHN'S, NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR--(Marketwire - March 2, 2009) - Aurora Energy Resources Inc. ("the Company" or "Aurora") (TSX:AXU) reports its financial and operating results for the year ended December 31, 2008. The following summary of the Company's financial results is based upon and qualified in its entirety by reference to the audited financial statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) for the year ended December 31, 2008, each available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Further details on each of the Company's projects and activities can be found on the Company's website www.aurora-energy.ca and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. All amounts are in Canadian dollars unless otherwise stated.

Overview

The Corporation was incorporated on June 8, 2005 and operates in the mineral resource industry. Its principle focus is on the exploration and development of uranium projects in the Central Mineral Belt ("CMB") in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, one of the most promising uranium districts in the world, as well as potential evaluation and acquisition of opportunities throughout the world. Aurora is committed to responsible development with lasting local benefits and the highest standards of safety, health, and environmental protection.

Aurora's CMB properties consist of a total of more than 90,000 ha in 32 licenses or groups of mineral claims collectively containing a measured and indicated resource of 83.9 million pounds of U3O8 and an inferred resource of 49.8 million pounds of U3O8.(1)

Significant events for the year ended December 31, 2008 include:

- Key leadership change in August 2008 with the appointment of Mr. Bruce Dumville as the new President and Chief Executive Officer and the appointment of Dr. Mark O'Dea to the position of Deputy Chair of the Company's Board of Directors. Mr. Dumville has over 25 years of experience in the international mining industry, including functional responsibility for pre-feasibility and feasibility studies, project management, operations, and the analysis of new investment opportunities.

- Aurora took steps to move from an exploration to a mining development company with the recruitment of Mr. Paul Coombs as Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary, Mr. Paul McNeill as Vice-President Exploration, Mr. Chesley Andersen as Vice-President Labrador Affairs, and Mr. Steve Cole as Director of Engineering. Detailed senior management biographies can be found on Aurora's website.

- Completion of the 2008 summer drill program in Labrador, which included an infill drill campaign of 13,233.49 metres of drilling in 26 holes at the Jacques Lake and Michelin deposits. Aurora also completed a 2,908 metre geotechnical, environmental and metallurgical drill program in August 2008 in 25 holes. The environmental work plan for 2008 was also substantially completed (see press releases of Aurora dated October 24, 2008 for further details).

- Initiated a tailings management study to identify potential tailings sites for the Michelin Project. Tailings options were identified and those that are acceptable from an environmental, technical and operations standpoint are being used to create a short list for further consideration in 2009 and 2010.

- Development of an education, training and employment program for residents of North Coast Labrador is underway.

- Selection of members for the Michelin Project Community Panel, announced in June 2008, and completion of its first meeting.

- In April 2008, the Nunatsiavut Government placed a three-year moratorium on mining and milling of uranium on Labrador Inuit Lands. In response Aurora implemented a revised work program to fulfill the Company's contractual and financial obligations for 2008.

- Signing of an option agreement with Pacific Ridge Exploration Ltd. pursuant to which the Company was granted the right to earn a 51% interest in a uranium exploration and development property located in the Baker Lake Basin of Nunavut, Canada. The property provides the potential to build value at an excellent entry cost and in a jurisdiction with clearly defined policies on exploration and mining. The Baker Lake Basin property covers 96,000 hectares and boasts attractive near-surface uranium mineralization, including five targets with drill-indicated mineralization, with at least 15 target areas yet to be drill-tested (for further details, please refer to the press release of Aurora dated September 23, 2008).

- Completion of an initial 600 metre drill program to test the Lucky 7 zone at the Baker Lake Basin property, as well as geological mapping and ground magnetic surveys, and an airborne magnetic, radiometric and broadband electromagnetic survey, of which results are pending. This work is designed to cover the property and aid in the design of the subsequent exploration program.

Aurora's 2009 program focuses on conserving the Company's substantial cash position, while continuing to build community support and advancing environmental and engineering studies. The program also involves completing a tailings management options study, continuing environmental baseline studies and metallurgical studies, and progressing the mill process design, while implementing a comprehensive community engagement plan.

Aurora's net cash outlay for 2009 is forecasted to be C$5.9 million. The 2009 budget includes estimated interest revenue of $3.5 million and exploration activity to reclaim $1.46 million held in bond by the province of Newfoundland and Labrador. This is a significantly reduced budget from last year's $35 million budget.

Operations

Selected Financial Data

This summary of selected audited financial data should be read in conjunction with the MD&A and the audited financial statements of the Company and related notes thereto, for the periods indicated.



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For the year ended
December 31, December 31,
2008 2007
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Loss for the period $ 4,054,639 $ 7,414,906
Basic and diluted loss per share $ 0.06 $ 0.11
Cash invested in mineral properties $ 28,787,749 $ 27,981,820
Cash generated (used) by financing
activities $ 483,622 $ 110,244,554

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As at
December 31, December 31,
2008 2007
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Cash, cash equivalents & short term
deposits $ 99,720,807 $ 131,384,190
Working capital $ 98,272,334 $ 129,898,119
Exploration properties and deferred
exploration expenditures $ 87,511,616 $ 56,710,497
Total assets $ 191,024,073 $ 192,186,937
Shareholder's equity $ 179,448,674 $ 184,879,251
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The Company's net loss for the year ended December 31, 2008, was $4,054,639, or a loss per share of $0.06, compared to a net loss of $7,414,906 and loss per share of $0.11 for the year ended December 31, 2007. Increased interest income offset by a reduction in stock-based compensation are the primary factors for the improvement in the Company's net loss in 2008 as compared to 2007.

The net loss for the year ended December 31, 2008, consists primarily of wages and benefits of $2,566,660, stock-based compensation expense of $1,706,682, office and general expenses of $1,521,430, investor relations, promotion and advertising expenses of $602,377, consulting fees of $522,947 and Part XII.6 tax of $261,444, offset by interest income of $3,798,374.

Exploration Projects

The Company incurred cash expenditures of $28,787,749 for the year ended December 31, 2008, on the development and exploration of its CMB uranium assets and the Baker Lake Basin property (net of stock-based compensation of $1,089,880, amortization of $478,329 and future income taxes of $445,161).

Liquidity

At December 31, 2008, the Company had cash, cash equivalents and short term deposits on its balance sheet of $99,720,807 and working capital of $98,272,334, as compared to cash, cash equivalents and short term deposits of $131,384,190 and working capital of $129,898,119 at December 31, 2007. The changes in cash and working capital of $31,663,383 and $31,625,785, respectively, are primarily related to the use of funds for deferred exploration and development expenditures of $17,240,983 and $11,546,766, and net equipment purchase of $459,281 offset by interest income of $3,798,374 and receipt of $550,800 upon the exercise of stock options.

The Company currently has no operating revenues other than interest income and relies primarily on existing cash balance to fund its exploration, development and administrative costs.

ABOUT AURORA

Aurora is a uranium exploration and development company active in the CMB of North Coast Labrador - one of the world's most promising uranium districts - and in Nunavut, Canada, where it has entered into an option agreement on a Baker Lake Basin property.

Aurora has no debt and approximately $96 million in cash that is fully liquid and held with a large Canadian commercial bank.

The Company will be hosting its annual general meeting on April 21, 2009 at The Rooms in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Aurora is committed to responsible development, which includes community consultation, lasting local benefits and the highest standards of safety, health, and environmental protection.

(1) The Michelin deposit contains a measured resource of 1.289 million tonnes of resource grading 0.12% U3O8 (underground) and 5.795 million tonnes of resource grading 0.08% U3O8 (open pit), an indicated resource of 16.170 million tonnes of resource grading 0.13% (underground) and 7.146 million tonnes of resource grading 0.06% U3O8 (open pit), and an inferred resource of 12.577 million tonnes of resource grading 0.12% U3O8 (underground) and 1.564 million tonnes of resource grading 0.05% U3O8 (open pit). The Jacques Lake deposit contains a measured resource of 0.415 million tonnes of resource grading 0.09% U3O8 (underground) and 0.401 million tonnes of resource grading 0.09% U3O8 (open pit), an indicated resource of 3.357 million tonnes of resource grading 0.08% (underground) and 1.909 million tonnes of resource grading 0.07% U3O8 (open pit), and an inferred resource of 2.778 million tonnes of resource grading 0.08% U3O8 (underground) and 2.210 million tonnes of resource grading 0.05% U3O8 (open pit). The Rainbow deposit contains an indicated resource of 1.088 million tonnes of resource grading 0.09% U3O8 and an inferred resource of 0.931 million tonnes of resource grading 0.08% U3O8 (both open pit). The Nash deposit contains an indicated resource of 0.757 million tonnes of resource grading 0.08% U3O8 and an inferred resource of 0.613 million tonnes of resource grading 0.07% U3O8 (both open pit). The Inda deposit contains an indicated resource of 1.460 million tonnes of resource grading 0.06% U3O8 and an inferred resource of 3.042 million tonnes of resource grading 0.07% U3O8 (both open pit). The Gear deposit contains an indicated resource of 0.520 million tonnes of resource grading 0.06% U3O8 and an inferred resource of 0.210 million tonnes of resource grading 0.06% U3O8 (both open pit). Aurora's CMB Mineral Resources are reported at cut-off grades that contemplate underground (0.05% U3O8) and open pit (0.03% U3O8) mining scenarios, based on preliminary economic assumptions, and may be refined with more in-depth economic analyses. For further details of the property interests of Aurora, please refer to the National Instrument 43-101 compliant technical report dated April 7, 2008 and amended August 28, 2008 entitled "An Update on the Exploration Activities of Aurora Energy Resources Inc. on the CMB Uranium Property, Labrador, Canada, during the period January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2007, Part II - CMB Mineral Resources" prepared by Ian Cunningham-Dunlop, P. Eng. and Christopher Lee, P. Geo., and available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Except for the statements of historical fact contained herein, certain information presented constitutes "forward-looking statements". Such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the timing and level of exploration activities, including drilling activities, the timing of completion of a pre-feasibility study and anticipated results of the 2008 work program; involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievement of Aurora to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, risks related to the actual results of current exploration activities, conclusions of economic evaluations, uncertainty in the estimation of mineral resources, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, future prices of uranium, economic and political stability in Canada, environmental risks and hazards, increased infrastructure and/or operating costs, labor and employment matters, and government regulation as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Aurora's Annual Information Form on file with the Canadian Securities Commissions. Although Aurora has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Aurora disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.

Contact Information

  • Aurora Energy Resources Inc.
    Bruce Dumville
    President and Chief Executive Officer
    (709) 726-2223
    or
    Aurora Energy Resources Inc.
    Paul Coombs
    Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary
    (709) 726-2223
    Website: www.aurora-energy.ca