Mr. Bataa Tumur-Ochir reports:
ULAANBAATAR, Mongolia, March 31, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Steppe Gold Ltd. (TSX: STGO) (OTCQX: STPGF) (FSE: 2J9) (“Steppe Gold” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2022.
Year Ended December 31, 2022 Highlights (all figures in US$000’s unless stated otherwise and except for per unit amounts which are in US$)
- Revenue for the year ended December 31, 2022, was $62,366 (December 31, 2021 $24,050) on sales of 33,681 gold ounces (December 31, 2021: 12,899 gold ounces) and 38,740 silver ounces (December 31, 2021: 28,622 silver ounces) with average realized prices per ounce of $1,818 and $20 respectively (December 31, 2021: $1,837 and $24).
- Operating income from mine operations, before depreciation and depletion was $35,028 (December 31, 2021: $12,435).
- Adjusted EBITDA after stream payments was $11,927.
- Site all-in-sustaining-Cost (“AISC”) was $796 per ounce sold for the year ended December 31, 2022.
- As at December 31, 2022 cash amounted to $2,515 and total bank, other debt and payables were $18,385 for net debt of $15,870.
- During the year ended December 31, 2022, 958,289 tonnes of ore were mined and 922,051 tonnes of ore were stacked on the leach pad with an average gold grade of 1.82 g/t and an average silver grade of 12.06 g/t.
- The Company announced on February 21, 2023 the results of technical report of the 100% owned ATO Project in Mongolia comprising a further 1.5 years at the fresh rock expansion (the “Phase 2 Expansion”), for a 12 year aggregate mine life.
- The results reinforce the Company’s current Phase 2 Expansion plans with construction already underway, and existing permitting and infrastructure in place. The Phase 2 Expansion is scheduled to start with first concentrates in Q1 2025. The life of mine plan includes the ongoing oxide operations which have a further three years to run, for a total of 14 years of mine life, from January 1, 2023.
- The Company repaid $46,856 on the 2021 Gold 2 Loan from the cash deposit during 2022. The maturity date of the remaining loan balance of $2,838 has been extended to July 28, 2024.
- In January 2023, the Company reached an agreement for an additional $5,000 for allocation to working capital funded directly from the Trade and Development Bank of Mongolia. The loan maturity date is within 12 months.
Fourth Quarter Highlights (all figures in US$000’s unless stated otherwise and except for per unit amounts which are in US$)
- Revenue for the three months ended December 31, 2022, was $17,962 on sales of 10,172 gold ounces and 19,347 silver ounces with average realized prices per ounce of $1,686 and $17 respectively.
- Operating income from mine operations, before depreciation and depletion, was $9,608.
- Adjusted EBITDA after stream payments was $4,066.
- Site AISC was $804 per ounce sold for the quarter.
- During the three months ended December 31, 2022, 119,808 tonnes of ore were mined and 261,368 tonnes of ore were stacked on the leach pad with an average gold grade of 1.79 g/t and an average silver grade of 10.02 g/t.
2022 was an active year for mining and stacking on the heap leach phase at the ATO gold mine. This has continued largely uninterrupted, in spite of strong headwinds from COVID-19 and the related supply chain problems. With the recent relaxation of the zero COVID restrictions in China, we have seen an improvement in parts of the China/Mongolia supply chain.
With over 2,824,108 tonnes stacked on the leach pad and a further 498,697 tonnes on the ROM pad at year end, we are pleased to report continued strong gold and silver inventory build-up.
The focus for 2023 will be to maximize oxide production from the substantial inventories on hand and aggressively move forward with the Phase 2 Expansion. Discussions are advancing on financing for Phase 2 Expansion in parallel with plans to pursue a dual listing of the Company’s common shares on the Main Board of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited.
On March 6, 2023, the Company entered into a binding letter of intent (the “Binding Agreement”) pursuant to which the Company, either directly or through a wholly-owned subsidiary, will acquire all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Anacortes Mining Corp. (“Anacortes”) by way of a court approved plan of arrangement under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia), in an all-share transaction (the “Transaction”). Under the terms of the Binding Agreement, Anacortes shareholders will receive 0.4532 of a Steppe Gold common share for each Anacortes common share, which represents consideration of approximately C$0.48 per Anacortes common share and a premium of 36% based on the closing prices of the Anacortes common shares on the TSX-V and the Steppe Gold common shares on the TSX, each as of the close of trading on March 3, 2023. The Transaction is subject to, among other things, the execution of an arrangement agreement, the receipt of all necessary regulatory, stock exchange and court approvals, and obtaining shareholder approval of the Transaction at a meeting of the Anacortes shareholders, which is expected to be held in Q2 2023.
The Company’s consolidated financial results for the year ended December 31, 2022 have been filed on SEDAR. The full version of the condensed interim consolidated financial statements and associated management’s discussion & analysis can be viewed on the Company’s website at www.steppegold.com or under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Steppe Gold Ltd.
Steppe Gold is Mongolia’s premier precious metals company.
For Further information, please contact:
Bataa Tumur-Ochir, CEO and President
Jeremy South, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
Shangri-La office, Suite 1201, Olympic Street
19A, Sukhbaatar District 1,
Ulaanbaatar 14241, Mongolia
Tel: +976 7732 1914
Non-IFRS Performance Measures
EBITDA is defined as earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Adjusted EBITDA is defined as adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization. Further details of Non-IFRS Performance Measures noted above can be found in the Company’s management’s discussion & analysis.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements
This news release contains certain statements or disclosures relating to the Company that are based on the expectations of its management as well as assumptions made by and information currently available to the Company which may constitute forward-looking statements or information (“forward-looking statements”) under applicable securities laws. All such statements and disclosures, other than those of historical fact, which address activities, events, outcomes, results, or developments that the Company anticipates or expects may, or will occur in the future (in whole or in part) should be considered forward-looking statements. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of the words “continued”, “focus”, “scheduled”, “will” and similar expressions. In particular, but without limiting the foregoing, this news release contains forward-looking statements pertaining to the following: trading of the Company’s common shares and business, listing of common shares on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, economic, and political conditions in Hong Kong and Mongolia, consummation and timing of the Transaction, the satisfaction of the conditions precedent to the Transaction, the strengths, characteristics and potential of the resulting company and discussion of future plans, projections, objectives, estimates and forecasts and the timing related thereto, including with respect to the ATO gold mine.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release reflect several material factors and expectations and assumptions of the Company including, without limitation: required shareholder and regulatory approvals, exercise of any termination rights under the Binding Agreement, meeting other conditions in the Binding Agreement, material adverse effects on the business, properties and assets of the Company, changes in business plans and strategies, market and capital finance conditions, risks inherent to any capital financing transactions, risks inherent to a possible Steppe Gold dual primary listing, changes in world commodity markets, currency fluctuations, costs and supply of materials relevant to the mining industry, change in government and changes to regulations affecting the mining industry.
The Company believes the material factors, expectations, and assumptions reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable at this time, but no assurance can be given that these factors, expectations, and assumptions will prove to be correct. The forward-looking statements included in this news release are not guarantees of future performance and should not be unduly relied upon. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements including, without limitation: changes in world commodity markets, equity markets, costs and supply of materials relevant to the mining industry, change in government and changes to regulations affecting the mining industry, and certain other risks detailed from time to time in the Company’s public disclosure documents including, without limitation, those risks identified in this news release and in the Company’s annual information form dated March 31, 2023, copies of which are available on the Company’s SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.
The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date hereof and the Company undertakes no obligations to update publicly or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise, unless so required by applicable securities laws.The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of the content of this news release.