SOURCE: Luna Gold Corp.

Luna Gold Corp.

August 14, 2015 07:00 ET

Luna Gold Announces Results for the Second Quarter 2015

VANCOUVER, BC--(Marketwired - August 14, 2015) - Luna Gold Corp. (TSX: LGC) (LMA: LGC) (OTCQX: LGCUF) ("Luna" or the "Company") today announced its operational and financial results for the second quarter ("Second Quarter") ended June 30, 2015. This news release should be read in conjunction with the condensed consolidated financial statements and the Management's Discussion and Analysis for the quarter ended June 30, 2015.

SECOND QUARTER 2015 HIGHLIGHTS

  Q2 2015  YTD 2015  
Gold production (ounces)  12,830   31,620  
Gold sales, including sales to Sandstorm (ounces)  16,534   39,750  
Finished gold inventory at June 30, 2014 (ounces)  3,093   3,093  
Net realized gold price received, including gold sales to Sandstorm (USD per ounce) $1,040  $1,075  
Total cash cost of production (1) (USD per ounce) $943  $783  
All-in sustaining cost of production (1) (USD per ounce) $1,004  $865  
All-in cost (1) (USD per ounce) $1,138  $984  
Gross profit (USD millions) $3.0  $8.8  
Net loss (USD millions) $(2.8 )$(6.1 )
Loss per share - basic and fully diluted (USD) $(0.02 )$(0.04 )
Cash flow per share from operating activities before changes in non-cash working capital (1) (USD) $(0.04 )$0.00  
Cash flow from operating activities before changes in working capital (1) (USD millions) $(5.4 )$0.1  
Cash flow from operating activities after changes in working capital (1) (USD millions) $(1.4 )$8.0  
Cash flow from financing activities (USD millions) $9.3  $5.1  
Cash flow from investing activities (USD millions) $0.7  $(4.0 )
Cash balance at June 30, 2015 (USD millions) $12.4  $12.4  

Company Developments:

On June 30, 2015, the Company completed a financing transaction with Pacific Road Resources Fund ("Pacific Road") and a transaction with Sandstorm Gold Ltd. ("Sandstorm") to restructure an agreement whereby the Company was obligated to sell 17% of its gold production from the Aurizona Mine to Sandstorm at $400 per ounce (the "Gold Stream") and the Sandstorm Debt Facility (the "Sandstorm Stream Restructure").

Pacific Road transaction
Pacific Road provided the Company with CA$20 million in cash in exchange for a CA$20 million senior secured note bearing interest at a rate of 10% per annum (the "Pacific Road Note"), payable quarterly in cash and 200 million common share purchase warrants, exercisable for a term of 5 years at CA$0.10 per common share (the "Class B Warrants"). At Pacific Road's election, the Company may pay the quarterly interest in shares with the number of shares determined based on the amount of interest due divided by the volume weighted average trading price of the Company's common shares for the 5 trading days immediately prior to the date of the payment. The Class B Warrants contain an embedded foreign currency derivative and were recognized as a derivative liability at their fair value of $6.6 million with the remainder of the proceeds of $9.5 million allocated to the Pacific Road Note.

Pacific Road also acquired 100 million units in the capital of Luna ("Units") at a price of CA$0.10 per Unit in a non-brokered private placement (the "Private Placement") for proceeds of CA$10 million. Each Unit consists of one common share and one common share purchase warrant ("Class A Warrants"). The Class A Warrants have an exercise price of CA$0.125 per common share and are exercisable for a term of 5 years. Sandstorm also participated in the Private Placement by subscribing for 24.7 million Units for proceeds of CA$2.47 million. The Class A Warrants contain an embedded foreign currency derivative and were recognized as a derivative liability at their fair value of $3.6 million with the remainder of the proceeds of $6.4 million allocated to the common shares.

The proceeds received by the Company from the issuance of the above instruments was required to be used to repay in full an existing loan facility with a financial institution, to complete infill drilling on the Piaba target of the Aurizona Project and for working capital purposes including (i) updating the mine plan for the Aurizona project; (ii) completing updated engineering studies on the Aurizona Project, and (iii) completing all necessary and appropriate permit applications for the Aurizona Project.

The Company also incurred transaction costs totalling $1.2 million, of which $0.5 million was included in the carrying value of the Pacific Road Note, $0.2 million was included in the carrying value of the common shares and $0.5 million related to the Class A Warrants and Class B Warrants were expensed. Transaction costs were allocated to each instrument pro-rata based on their assigned values.

Sandstorm Stream Restructure
Sandstorm and the Company agreed to restructure the Gold Stream. The Gold Stream was terminated in exchange for the issuance of a $30 million debenture (the "Sandstorm Debenture") and two net smelter return royalties (the "Aurizona Project NSR" and the "Greenfields NSR"). The Aurizona Project NSR covers all future production from the Aurizona Project processed through the Aurizona mill. The Aurizona Project NSR requires the Company to pay Sandstorm a sliding scale royalty based on the price of gold as follows:

  • 3% if the price of gold is less than or equal to $1,500 per ounce;
  • 4% if the price of gold is between $1,500 per ounce and $2,000 per ounce; and
  • 5% if the price of gold is greater than $2,000 per ounce.

The Greenfields NSR covers approximately 200,000 hectares of exploration properties held by the Company and requires the Company to pay Sandstorm a royalty of 2% on production from these properties. The Company has the right to purchase one-half of the Greenfields NSR for $10 million at any time prior to achieving commercial production. If the Company exercises this right, the royalty rate is reduced to 1%.

If the Company abandons the properties subject to the Aurizona Project NSR or Greenfields NSR, Sandstorm has the right to accept an assignment of the properties.

The remaining gold ounces included in inventory and the ore stockpile as at June 30, 2015, will continue to be subject to the terms of the Sandstorm Gold Stream until the earlier of completion of processing of these ounces or September 30, 2015, whereby 17% of these ounces will be sold to Sandstorm for $408 per ounce.

The Sandstorm Debenture bears interest at a rate of 5% per annum and is repayable in three equal annual tranches of $10 million plus accrued interest beginning June 30, 2018. The Company has the right to repay the principal and interest owing on each repayment date with common shares of the Company. The number of common shares to be issued is determined based on the principal and interest to be paid divided by the higher of CA$0.10 per share and the 20 day volume weighted average CA$ trading price of the Company's common shares (the "Conversion Price") provided that Sandstorm owns less than 20% of the outstanding common shares of the Company (the "Sandstorm Ownership Limitation"). The Company can choose to postpone the payment of any instalment until a point when the issuance of shares would not exceed the Sandstorm Ownership Limitation. The Company also has the right to convert up to $5 million of the Sandstorm Debenture quarterly at the Conversion Price subject to the Sandstorm Ownership Limitation.

The Sandstorm Stream Restructure also included amendments of a $20 million existing Sandstorm Debt Facility to extend the maturity date from June 30, 2017 to June 30, 2021 and to reduce the interest rate from 12% to 5% per annum, payable in cash on the maturity date. In addition, a completion guarantee provided to Sandstorm was terminated and Sandstorm is no longer required to pay an amount receivable related to its obligation to fund certain capital expenditures.

The Sandstorm Debenture was recognized at its fair value of $20.7 million based on the future cash flows discounted at a market rate of interest of 15%. The amended Sandstorm Debt Facility was accounted for as a substantial modification resulting in the de-recognition of the old instrument with a carrying value of $23.7 million and the recognition of a new instrument at its fair value of $13.2 million based on the future cash flows discounted at a market rate of interest of 15%. No value was assigned to the conversion option because the Company is not able to currently exercise the option due to the Sandstorm Ownership Limitation. Royalties will be recognized when they are paid in the future.

The net impact of the Sandstorm Restructure resulted in an increase in mineral property, plant and equipment of $0.8 million as follows:

(expressed in millions of US Dollars) June 30, 2015  
Fair value of Sandstorm debenture $20.7  
Fair value of new Sandstorm Debt Facility  13.2  
Write off of Sandstorm Phase I expansion receivable  1.7  
De-recognition of old Sandstorm Debt Facility  (23.7 )
De-recognition of other liabilities related to Gold Stream  (7.0 )
De-recognition of Sandstorm Phase I completion guarantee  (4.1 )
  $0.8  

Transaction costs of $0.5 million were expensed.

Management and Director Changes

There were a number of director changes that occurred since Q1 2015. Mr. Greg Smith was elected to the Company's Board of Directors on June 18, 2015 and as part of the restructuring plan, there have been changes to the composition of the Company's Board of Directors. Mr. Rob Pease, P.Geo. and Mr. Dan Wilton have been added to the Board while Mr. Wayne Kirk and Dr. Bill Lindqvist have stepped down.

Mr. Smith is CEO and Director of Anthem United Inc. Prior to his role with the Company, he held the roles of President and CEO of Esperanza Resources prior to its sale to Alamos Gold and CFO of Minefinders Corporation prior to its sale to Pan American Silver. Mr. Smith has also held management positions at both Goldcorp and the mining division of KPMG LLP. He is a director and the Audit Committee Chair of both Chesapeake Gold and Lowell Copper. He also acted as a director of Premier Royalty prior to its sale to Sandstorm Gold. Mr. Smith is a Canadian Chartered Accountant.

Mr. Pease has more than 30 years of experience in global exploration and mine development. He was most recently President and CEO of Sabina Gold and Silver Corp. from November 2011 until his retirement in February 2015. In 2006, Mr. Pease founded Terrane Metals Corp. to develop the Mount Milligan project in BC, Canada. Terrane Metals was acquired by Thompson Creek Metals Company Inc. for CA$700 million in 2010. Mr. Pease is a former director and strategic advisor to Richfield Ventures Corp. that was exploring the Blackwater gold project in BC, Canada. In 2011, Richfield Ventures was acquired by New Gold Inc. for CA$500 million. The majority of Mr. Pease's prior career was spent at Placer Dome Inc. His last position there was GM, Canada Exploration & Global Major Projects. In 2010, the Association of Mineral Exploration BC named Mr. Pease their "BC Mining Person of the Year".

In addition to Mr. Pease, Mr. Wilton is also joining the Board of Directors as a representative for Pacific Road. Mr. Wilton joined Pacific Road in 2013 and has more than 20 years' experience in mergers and acquisition and corporate finance in the mining industry. His transaction experience includes advising on over CA$10 billion in mergers and acquisition transactions and over CA$1 billion in corporate financings. Formerly Mr. Wilton was Managing Director and Head of Global Mining and Metals at National Bank Financial Inc., Managing Director in Business Development at General Electric and held other senior financial positions at leading financial institutions.

Also, Mr. Duane Lo, has stepped down as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer and Mr. Brad Blacketor has been appointed to the role of Chief Financial Officer.

OUTLOOK AND STRATEGY

Aurizona Operation

The Company continues to process the remaining ore stockpile through the plant and this is expected to end in August 2015.

Upon exhausting the ore stockpile, the Company will cease operations at the Aurizona mine and place the existing facilities into a care and maintenance condition. This will require all the equipment to be cleaned and placed in a secure manner. The Company has filed for a care and maintenance permit in Brazil.

The timing of and the milestones outlined below are management's proposed planned targets only. Certain milestones are dependent on earlier targeted milestones being achieved. These targets are forward looking in nature and subject to the Company completing the required studies and technical report and obtaining all applicable approvals and meeting various other conditions and securing the required financing. There is no assurance that these targeted milestones will be achieved on time or at all. See "Forward Looking Statements".

After completion of the Pacific Road Financing and Sandstorm Restructuring on June 30, 2015, the Company is in a position to commence a work program which will have the ultimate goal of restarting operations at the Aurizona gold mine. The proposed 18-month work program will involve significant infill drilling programs, updating the geological model, calculating a new resource, formulating a new and optimized mine plan, producing an updated prefeasibility study and continuing the on-going licensing and permitting process to ultimately secure a permit to restart Aurizona. Commencing in mid-2016, the Company expects to use the augmented drill hole data and the pre-feasibility study to move on to detailed engineering and ultimately the restart of the mine as a hard rock operation.

It is anticipated that additional financing will be needed for the construction and restart of the Aurizona mine because it is likely that a new crushing and grinding circuit will be required to process the different types of ore in the existing ore body. The balance of the processing circuit will benefit from the significant capital spent on the Phase I plant upgrade, which was stopped by the Company in the Third Quarter of 2014, after having spent over $40.0 million on this Phase I work.

The updated and revised mine plan will require amendments to some of our existing permits at Aurizona as well as other permitting activities for some off-site infrastructure. Luna will be working diligently with the relevant government authorities in Brazil to advance the permitting process. Many of the required permits will be amendments to existing permits.

Luna's community relations initiatives will continue to focus on working with the communities in our area of influence and on multi-stakeholder partnership models, that involve strengthening local labor skills through the establishment of partnerships with the Industry State Federation (FIEMA), and partnerships with state and local governments and community associations on campaigns to raise social awareness about important issues, such as children's education, community safety and security, and the prevention of domestic violence and substance abuse, and our Open Door program to provide information to the public on an ongoing basis regarding mining activities in a framework of openness and transparency.

AURIZONA GOLD MINE - MARANHAO STATE, BRAZIL

  Three months ended June 30  Six months ended June 30
(tabled monetary amounts are expressed in thousands of US dollars) 2015  2014  2015  2014
Mined waste - tonnes  -   1,008,543   396,784   1,968,553
Mined ore - tonnes  -   357,051   430,799   693,293
Ratio of waste to ore  -   2.8   0.9   2.8
Ore grade mined (g/t)  -   1.28   1.36   1.55
Cost per tonne mined (USD)  -  $5.67  $4.44  $4.82
Processed ore - tonnes  345,396   406,144   778,683   892,983
Average grade processed (g/t)  1.30   1.14   1.39   1.28
Average recovery rate %  89%   88%   89%   89%
Gold produced (ounces)  12,830   14,262   31,620   33,676
Gold sales (ounces)  16,534   13,882   39,750   36,884
Cash costs of production (1)  USD per ounce   USD per
tonne
processed
  USD per ounce   USD per tonne
processed
  USD per ounce   USD per tonne
processed
  USD per ounce   USD per tonne
processed
 Mining $282  $10  $472  $17  $270  $11  $367  $14
 Processing  569   21   528   20   410   17   422   16
 Administration  63   2   112   4   70   3   90   3
 Refining and transport  18   1   16   1   21   1   20   1
 Royalties  11   1   12   -   12   1   14   1
Total cash costs of production (1) $943  $35  $1,140  $42  $783  $33  $913  $35
 Sustaining capital  36       94       61       58    
 Brownfield exploration  25       63       21       56    
All-in sustaining costs (1)  1,004      $1,297      $865      $1,027    

Mining production

As previously disclosed, mine operations were suspended in Q1 2015, therefore, there was no ore or waste mined during Q2 2015. The availability of soft saprolite ore has been diminished and the current plant is not capable of economically processing the transition and harder ore contained in the ore body.

Mining operations in Q1 2015 were focused on extracting ore, while minimizing waste removal prior to the suspension of mining activities. The combined year to date mining production is significantly lower than the comparative period due to the suspension of mine activities in 2015.

The cost per tonne mined for the first half of 2015 was 8% lower than the same period in 2014 due primarily to the impact of the strengthening US dollar relative to the BRL in 2015.

Mill processing

Gold production in Q1 2015 was 10% lower than the comparative quarter of 2014 due to a 15% decrease in tonnes processed through the mill, which was partially offset by the processing of higher grade ore in 2015. The ore processed in 2015 was a higher blend of transition ore as compared to 2014. The harder ore requires more crushing and retention time than the softer saprolite blend. As a result, the volume of tonnes processed was lower than the comparative period. However, the harder ore typically contains a higher ore grade than the softer ore, which partially offsets the loss of gold production related to volume throughput.

This was also the main reason for the decrease in gold production for the first half of 2015 compared to the previous year.

Cash costs of production

The Company's results are subject to seasonal variation, in particular the wet season in Northeastern Brazil. The wet season generally starts in January and continues through June, with the heaviest rainfall normally experienced in the months of March to May. As a result of the wet season, pit access and the ability to mine ore is typically lower in this period than other periods of the year and the unit cost of production is generally higher. To address this issue, the Company mines ore and waste at higher elevations within the pit in the wet season and stockpiles ore in the dry season ahead of the wet season for processing.

The total cash costs of production were 17% and 16% lower for the three and six months ended June 30, 2015 compared to the same periods in 2014. For the three months ended June 30, 2015, the mining costs per ounce produced were 40% lower as the costs of ore were related to the processing of the ore stockpile, which was mined at a lower cost during the previous dry season at a lower strip ratio. This also resulted in the six month period ended June 30, 2015 to be 26% lower than the comparative period of 2014.

Processing costs for the second quarter of 2015 were higher than the comparative quarter in 2014 due to lower tonnes processed and also higher costs associated with re-handling the ore stockpile. The comparative quarter did not require costs associated with ore stockpile re-handling as the process plant was directly processing ore from the mine. The higher costs were partially offset by the processing of higher grade ore and positive gains in the foreign exchange rate. As for the six month period ended June 30, 2015, the processing costs per ounce produced was positively impacted by the processing of higher grade ore compared to the same period of 2014 and gains in the foreign exchange rate.

The administration costs per ounce produced for the three and six months ended June 30, 2015 were lower than the comparative periods of 2014 due to a large reduction in the administrative workforce and contractors at the end of 2014 in anticipation of a temporary shutdown of the mine and process plant operations.

Refining and transportation costs and royalty costs remained relatively stable between the comparative periods.

The total all-in sustaining costs ("AISC") of production were lower by 23% and 16% for the three and six months ended June 30, 2015, as compared with the same periods of 2014. The lower AISC was primarily the result of lower sustaining capital costs and exploration expenditures in 2015 as the only sustaining capital projects were related to the tailings dam, and exploration costs were related to Piaba drill planning activities.

About Luna Gold Corp.
Luna is a gold production company engaged in the operation, expansion, and exploration of gold projects in Brazil.

On behalf of the Board of Directors

LUNA GOLD CORP.
Marc Leduc - President and CEO

Forward-Looking Statements
This release contains certain "forward looking statements" and certain "forward looking information" as defined under applicable Canadian and U.S. securities laws. Forward-looking statements can generally be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "may", "will", "expect", "intend", "estimate", "anticipate", "believe", "continue", "plans" or similar terminology. Forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements with respect to future gold production and/or the results of analysis on gold production. Forward-looking statements are based on forecasts of future results, estimates of amounts not yet determinable and assumptions that while believed by management to be reasonable, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties concerning the specific factors identified in Luna Gold Corp.'s periodic filings with Canadian Securities Regulators. These factors include the inherent risks involved in the mechanical completion and commissioning of the Aurizona Phase I expansion, preparation and delivery of the Aurizona Phase II expansion prefeasibility study, exploration and development of mineral properties, the uncertainties involved in interpreting drill results and other exploration data, the potential for delays in exploration or development activities, the geology, grade and continuity of mineral deposits, the possibility that future exploration, development or mining results will not be consistent with the Company's expectations, accidents, equipment breakdowns, title matters, labor disputes or other unanticipated difficulties with or interruptions in production and operations, fluctuating metal prices, unanticipated costs and expenses, uncertainties relating to the availability and costs of financing needed in the future, the inherent uncertainty of production and cost estimates and the potential for unexpected costs and expenses, commodity price fluctuations, currency fluctuations, regulatory restrictions, including environmental regulatory restrictions and liability, competition, loss of key employees, and other related risks and uncertainties. The Company undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking information except as required by applicable law. Such forward-looking information represents management's best judgment based on information currently available. No forward-looking statement can be guaranteed and actual future results may vary materially. Accordingly, readers are advised not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information.

Contact Information

  • For further information contact:

    Luna Gold Corp.
    Investor Relations
    +1 604 568 7993
    Website: www.lunagold.com