Silvercorp Metals on Tuesday reported revenue of $62.1 million for its second quarter, up 71% from the same period last year. Cash flow from operations hit a record $35.2 million, or $0.20 per share, up 140% from 2011 while net income of $18.5 million, or $0.11 per share, showed a 49% increase.
Silver production of 1.4 million ounces rose a disappointing 4% but gold production shot up to 2,516 ounces. Silvercorp said it continues to maintain its low cost producer status with a cash production cost per ounce of silver of negative $4.55.
A report by the forensic accounting arm of KPMG released two weeks ago showed no truth to allegations of $1 billion in accounting fraud at the company which was first alleged on September 2 by shortsellers that had built up a massive position in the stock.
The counter ended Tuesday slightly down at $9.62 ahead of the results announcement. Shareholders who held onto their Silvercorp stock during the short and distort saga are now able to show a handsome profit for their loyalty.
Silvercorp was valued at $8.23.share on September 1 and during September trade volumes rocketed, intra-day swings reached 22% and at one point shell-shocked owners were down a net 30%.
VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – Nov. 8, 2011) – Silvercorp Metals Inc. (TSX:SVM)(NYSE:SVM) (“Silvercorp” or the “Company”) today reported its unaudited financial and operating results for the second quarter ended September 30, 2011 (“Q2 2012”). The following financial results are expressed in US dollars (US$) unless stated otherwise.
The Company reported adjusted earnings (a non-IFRS “International Financial Reporting Standards” measure) of $23.6 million, $0.14 per share, in the second quarter of fiscal 2012. Net income attributable to shareholders was $18.5 million, $0.11 per share. The Company also reported record operating cash flow of $35.2 million and revenue of $62.1 million based on average net realized silver selling price of $30.48 per ounce.
SECOND QUARTER HIGHLIGHTS AND SIGNIFICANT EVENTS
In Q2 2012, net income attributable to the shareholders of the Company was $18.5 million, or $0.11 per share, a 49% increase from net income of $12.4 million, or $0.08 per share, in the same quarter last year. Net income was affected by: (i) $1.5 million of additional costs incurred related to fighting the “Short and Distort” scheme; and (ii) $3.6 million of China dividend withholding taxes accrued as Silvercorp is anticipating its 77.5% subsidiary, Henan Found Mining Co. Ltd., to pay an annual dividend in the next quarter. The entire annual dividend withholding tax is accrued in this quarter. Excluding these two items, adjusted earnings was $23.6 million or $0.14 per share.
For the six months ended September 30, 2011 (“H1 2012”), net income was $44.1 million, or $0.25 per share, a 66% increase from net income of $26.6 million, or $0.16 per share, in the same period last year (“H1 2011”).
In Q2 2012, the Company achieved sales of $62.1 million, a 71% increase from $36.3 million in the same quarter last year. The increase in sales was primarily from higher metal prices, combined with an increase in the quantity of silver and gold produced and sold, as shown in Table 1 below:
|Table 1:||Quantities||Realized selling prices||Sales|
|(‘000 oz or lb)||($/oz or lb)||(in ‘000$)|
|Q2 2012||Q2 2011||Q2 2012||Q2 2011||Q2 2012||Q2 2011|
Realized selling price is determined by Shanghai Metal Exchange (“SME”) for lead and zinc and Shanghai Gold Exchange (“SGE”) prices for silver and gold, less smelter charges and 17% value added taxes (exempted for gold), as shown in Table 2 below:
|Silver (in US$/ounce)||Gold (in US$/ounce)||Lead (in US$/pound)||Zinc (in US$/pound)|
|Q2 2012||Q2 2011||Q2 2012||Q2 2011||Q2 2012||Q2 2011||Q2 2012||Q2 2011|
|SME or SGE quarterly average||$40.13||$19.56||1,712||1,228||$1.15||$1.06||$1.20||$1.10|
|Less: Smelter charges||(4.47)||(2.44)||(399)||(387)||(0.14)||(0.11)||(0.45)||(0.32)|
|Less: Value added taxes||(5.18)||(2.49)||–||–||(0.15)||(0.14)||(0.11)||(0.11)|
|Realized selling prices||$30.48||$14.63||1,313||841||$0.86||$0.81||$0.64||$0.67|
|LME quarterly average||$38.92||$18.95||1,709||1,226||$1.11||$0.92||$1.01||$1.05|
Gross profit margin improved to 77% from 73% in Q2 2011. Cost of sales was $14.4 million, a 48% increase compared to a year ago. The increase was mainly due to increased ore production, a 34% increase compared to Q2 2011. Also impacting cost of sales were higher depreciation, amortization and depletion, increased labour and materials costs as well as the impact of the US dollar depreciation versus the Chinese RMB.
In H1 2012, the Company achieved sales of $131.8 million, an 80% increase from $73.1 million in the same period last year. Gross profit margin improved to 78% from 73% in H1 2011. Cost of sales was $28.5 million, a 43% increase compared to a year ago.
In Q2 2012, general and administrative expenses increased by $4.6 million to $8.5 million, compared to the same quarter last year. In H1 2012, general administrative expenses increased by $6.0 million to $14.6 million, compared to the same period last year. Significant increases were due to: (i) additional professional fees incurred for fighting the “Short and Distort” scheme; (ii) VAT surtax payments, which have been levied since December 1, 2010; (iii) increases in general office operation costs; and (iv) increases in salaries and benefits due to increased manpower and average salary increases as the Company is managing multiple mining projects, both operating and development, in China and Canada.
In Q2 2012, income tax expenses increased to $13.8 million from $5.4 million in the same quarter last year. In H1 2012, income tax expenses increased to $26.4 million from $8.6 million in the same period last year. The increases of income tax expense were mainly due to higher taxable income and a higher tax rate compared to last year. The Chinese tax holiday, which allowed the Company’s most profitable Chinese subsidiary, Henan Found Mining Co. Ltd. (Ying and TLP mines) to have a preferential 12.5% income tax rate, expired on December 31, 2010, increasing the income tax rate to 25%. The Company’s other Chinese subsidiary, Henan Huawei Mining Co. Ltd. (HPG and LM mines), is currently subject to preferential tax rate of 12.5% until December 31, 2011, after which it will be 25%. In addition, included in deferred income taxes was $3.6 million of China dividend withholding taxes accrued as Silvercorp is anticipating its 77.5% subsidiary, Henan Found Mining Co. Ltd., to pay an annual dividend in the next quarter.
In Q2 2012, the Company reported record cash flow from operations of $35.2 million, or $0.20 per share, a 140% increase from $14.6 million in the same quarter last year. In Q2 2012, the Company paid $3.7 million in dividends, $13.3 million in capital expenditures, and $35.4 million to repurchase common shares under its normal course issuer bid. The Company also spent $3.4 million as partial consideration payment to acquire Zhongxing Mining Co. Ltd. (“Zhongxing”) and Chuanxin Mining Co. Ltd. (“Chuanxin”), collectively the XBG mine, and paid a deposit of $19.6 million for the acquisition of another mineral property in China, the completion of which is subject to various conditions and government approvals. In H1 2012, cash flow from operations was $69.1 million, an increase from $37.8 million in the same period last year. The Company ended the quarter with $176.7 million in cash and short term investments.
In Q2 2012, the Company achieved silver production of 1.4 million ounces, a 4% increase compared to 1.3 million ounces in Q2 2011. Gold production increased 739% to 2,516 ounces compared to Q2 2011 primarily as a result of added gold production from the newly acquired BYP mine. The silver-equivalent production (includes only silver and gold) was about 1.5 million ounces. Silver and gold sales accounted for 74% of the total sales in the quarter, compared to 55% a year ago. In addition, 19.8 million pounds of lead and zinc were produced, slightly lower than the 20.9 million pounds in the same quarter last year. In H1 2012, the Company produced 3.0 million ounces of silver, 3,905 ounces of gold, 44.5 million pounds of lead and zinc, compared to 2.7 million ounces of silver, 1,300 ounces of gold and 44.1 million pounds of lead and zinc in the same period last year.
In Q2 2012, a total of 207,296 tonnes of ore were mined, a 34% increase compared to 154,445 tonnes in Q2 2011. In H1 2012, the Company mined 386,414 tonnes of ore, a 29% increase compared to 299,427 in H1 2011. The increased mine production was achieved through increased production from the TLP, HPG and LM mines that continued to expand operations along with new production from the BYP mine.
In Q2 2012, ore production at the Ying mine was 72,162 tonnes, 15% less than the same quarter last year of 85,204 tonnes. The decrease was because: (i) during the quarter, the Ying mine underwent a major update for its hauling facilities and replaced all of the shaft cages for safety purposes, which negatively impacted ore production, and (ii) continued labour shortages impacted our mining contractors at the Ying mine, resulting in lower mine production. While the Company has been actively working with its mining contractors to introduce new measures to maintain a stable mining labour force, the Ying mine is also in the process of establishing its own mining crews to carry out mining operations. It is expected mining capacity at the Ying mine will gradually improve over the next two quarters.
The decreased production at the Ying mine was offset by increased production from the TLP, HPG and LM satellite mines which have continued to expand operations over the last two years. Those satellite mines increased their ore production 60% to 110,380 tonnes compared to 69,241 tonnes in Q2 2011, producing 0.46 million ounces of silver (Q2 2011 – 0.25 million ounces of silver) at a cash cost of $0.97 per ounce of silver (Q2 2011 – $0.63 per ounce of silver).
In Q2 2012, a total of 209,725 tonnes of ore were milled, a 39% increase compared to 150,553 tonnes in Q2 2011. 19,813 tonnes of gold ore were milled at the newly acquired BYP mine as production continued to ramp up in this quarter. In H1 2012, a total of 392,615 tonnes of ore were milled, a 31% increase compared to 299,742 tonnes in H1 2011. The BYP mine contributed a total of 27,777 tonnes of ore milled.
The milling capacity increased in the quarter as the Company expanded the capacity at the second mill at the Ying Mining District to 2,200 t/d by adding a new 1,100 tonne line. The total milling capacity is 3,200 t/d, at the Ying Mining District, or about 1 million tonnes per year. In addition, we have 500 t/d milling capacity at the BYP mine, which is now operational.
In Q2 2012, total cash mining costs increased 5% to $42.30 per tonne from $40.36 per tonne in the same quarter last year. In H1 2012, total cash mining costs increased to $44.13 per tonne from $40.36 per tonne in the same period last year. The increase in total cash mining cost per tonne was mainly due to US dollar depreciation versus the Chinese RMB, and slightly impacted by higher labour and material costs.
In Q2 2012, total cash milling costs increased 12% to $12.70 per tonne from $11.36 per tonne in the same quarter last year. In H1 2012, total cash milling costs increased to $12.57 per tonne from $11.61 per tonne in the same period last year. The increase is mainly due to the impact of the US dollar depreciation versus the Chinese RMB. In addition, the milling costs at the BYP mine, which only commenced operations last quarter, were high as the production is still ramping up.
Including by-product credits, in Q2 2012, total production cost per ounce of silver was negative $2.74 and the cash cost per ounce of silver was negative $4.55, compared to the total production costs and cash production costs per ounce of silver of negative $5.17 and negative $6.30, respectively, in same quarter last year. The increase noted is due to relatively lower by-product grades and higher production costs, slightly off-set by an increased lead price. In H1 2012, total production cost per ounce of silver was negative $3.75 and the cash cost per ounce of silver was negative $5.39, compared to the total production costs and cash production costs per ounce of silver of negative $5.19 and negative $6.31, respectively, in the same period last year.
Silvercorp’s consolidated operational results for the past five quarters are summarized in Table 3 below:
|Table 3: Consolidated Operational Results|
|Q2 2012||Q1 2012||Q4 2011||Q3 2011||Q2 2011|
|Ore Mined (tonne)|
|Direct Smelting Ore (tonne)||2,579||3,108||2,740||3,711||3,065|
|Stockpiled Ore (tonne)||204,717||176,011||122,951||163,502||151,380|
|Run of Mine Ore (tonne)|
|Direct Smelting Ore (tonne)||2,579||3,108||2,740||3,711||3,065|
|Ore Milled (tonne)||207,146||179,782||132,924||157,817||147,488|
|Silver (in thousands of ounce)||1,396||1,592||1,047||1,523||1,343|
|Gold (in thousands of ounce)||2.5||1.4||1.1||0.8||0.3|
|Lead (in thousands of pound)||16,520||20,621||14,385||18,795||17,028|
|Zinc (in thousands of pound)||3,236||4,102||3,253||4,791||3,869|
|Head Grade of Run of Mine Ore|
|Gold (gram/tonne) – BYP mine||3.3||–||–||–||–|
|Recovery Rate of Run of Mine Ore|
|Gold (%) – BYP mine||89.1||–||–||–||–|
|Cash Mining Cost ($ per tonne)||42.30||48.66||45.54||48.30||40.36|
|Total Mining Costs ($ per tonne)||55.66||60.07||56.55||58.28||49.12|
|Cash Milling Cost ($ per tonne)||12.70||12.42||15.31||12.11||11.36|
|Total Milling Cost ($ per tonne)||14.09||13.94||17.26||13.69||13.06|
|Total Production Cost per Ounce of Silver ($)||(2.74)||(4.63)||(6.06)||(5.93)||(5.17)|
|Total Cash Cost per Ounce of Silver ($)||(4.55)||(6.12)||(7.61)||(7.13)||(6.30)|
|BYP Production Cost per Ounce of Gold ($)||598.94||277.02||n/a||n/a||n/a|
|BYP Cash Cost per Ounce of Gold ($)||275.70||271.16||n/a||n/a||n/a|
The Ying mine continued to be the primary focus and most profitable project of the Company. The operational results for the past five quarters at the Ying mine are summarized in Table 4 below:
|Table 4: Ying Mine Operational Results|
|Q2 2012||Q1 2011||Q4 2011||Q3 2011||Q2 2011|
|Ore Mined (tonne)|
|Direct Smelting Ore (tonne)||2,463||3,062||2,715||3,640||3,017|
|Stockpiled Ore (tonne)||69,699||78,276||59,650||82,101||82,187|
|Run of Mine Ore (tonne)|
|Direct Smelting Ore (tonne)||2,463||3,062||2,715||3,640||3,017|
|Ore Milled (tonne)||68,793||79,974||61,173||81,700||79,995|
|Silver (in thousands of ounce)||939||1,146||765||1,241||1,095|
|Lead (in thousands of pound)||10,857||15,419||10,359||14,862||13,486|
|Zinc (in thousands of pound)||2,311||3,594||2,536||3,954||3,275|
|Head Grade of Run of Mine Ore|
|Recovery Rate of Run of Mine Ore|
|Cash Mining Cost ($ per tonne)||47.76||48.27||48.35||49.85||42.66|
|Total Mining Costs ($ per tonne)||65.44||63.27||63.56||64.12||54.79|
|Cash Milling Cost ($ per tonne)||14.31||11.74||15.43||12.22||11.51|
|Total Milling Cost ($ per tonne)||16.00||13.31||17.39||13.89||13.36|
|Total Production Cost per Ounce of Silver ($)||(5.65)||(7.81)||(8.88)||(7.67)||(6.94)|
|Total Cash Cost per Ounce of Silver ($)||(7.14)||(9.05)||(10.25)||(8.76)||(7.99)|
ACQUISITION, EXPLORATION AND PROJECT DEVELOPMENT
Ying Mining District, Henan Province, China
The Company is continuing its 40,000 metre (m) tunnelling and 171,000 m underground drilling program at the Ying Mining District for fiscal year 2012 to further expand resources and increase production. Together with mine developments, a total of 23,510 m of tunnelling (2 m by 2 m in dimension), 54,977 m of diamond drilling and 411 m of shafts and declines development were completed in the quarter at a cost of $6.8 million.
An improved mining technique for resuing mining stopes has been implemented in all four mines at the Ying Mining District in October 2011. The method is to first cut a 1.5 m deep hole with 1.0 m in length with a width matching true width of a vein at every lift, and then drill upward to blast holes along the vein. Those holes are blasted using the first cut hole as free space. This improved mining technique will reduce mining dilution by 5 to 10%.
Due to constraints in mining contractors’ ability to employ skilled miners and organize mine production in the gradually tightening labour market in China, and in order to improve mine productivity, the Company is in the process of establishing its own mining crews to carry out mining operations. It is expected to take about one year for the Company to complete this transition.
During the quarter, the Company commenced the development of a 5,200 m access ramp, with dimensions of 4 m by 4.5 m, at the Ying mine starting from the 580 m elevation and going down to zero metre elevation. The access ramp will provide access to the S7-1 vein in which resources were expanded by the recent drilling, and provide access to future mining operations below zero metre elevation. The access ramp is expected to be completed in two and half years.
The Company has also commenced the development of a 4,800 m access ramp with dimensions of 4 m by 4.5 m at the southwest corner of the TLP Mining Permit, adjacent to the LM Mining Permit, from about 980 m elevation to 500 m elevation. The access ramp will provide access to a swarm of mineralized veins discovered. Currently, the Company is producing approximately 60,000 tonnes per year from the LM mine. Once the access ramp is completed in two and half years, the mining capacity at the LM mine is expected to increase to approximately 200,000 tonnes per year.
GC Project, Guangdong Province, China
During the quarter, the Company paid approximately $3 million cash to complete the acquisition of land usage rights for the GC mine and milling sites. Furthermore, mill and mine construction has commenced during the quarter with site preparation work, including the construction of access roads, water supply, and power lines, being completed. Since August, mining contractors have moved into the GC mine site and are well on track with the mine construction, completing 320 m of a 4 m by 4.5 m main access ramp and 20 m of the planned 620 m vertical shaft. The building of a construction head-frame for developing the vertical shaft is underway.
The Company also successfully negotiated and entered into an agreement with a building contractor to construct a 1,600 t/d capacity floatation mill that is capable of producing silver-lead, zinc, pyrite floatation concentrates and a tin gravity concentrate. This is the same contractor who built the Company’s two mills at the Ying Mining District. Milling equipment was sourced and the final purchase contract is expected to be signed in November 2011. In accordance with plans, the mill should be completed by July 2012 with an estimated cost of approximately RMB 100 million, or US$17 million.
During the quarter, the GC surface drilling program consisting of three drill rigs continued to perform step-out drilling.
Silvercorp has retained AMC Consultants of Vancouver in February 2011 to convert the Chinese design report on the GC project into an NI 43-101 qualified report. The AMC report is expected to be completed in November 2011.
BYP Mine, Hunan Province, China
During the quarter, production at the BYP mine continued to ramp up with 19,813 tonnes of ore being processed, yielding 1,613 ounces of gold as mill production resumed in August following a temporary halt in June while the Company installed a liner in the tailing pond.
The Company will continue to utilize the existing 500 t/d floatation mill to mine and process gold mineralization with an initial focus on higher grade mineralization areas.
The Company’s engineers continue to work with a qualified Chinese engineering firm to complete a detailed and staged mining and development plan to fulfill the Company’s production goal of expanding the mining and milling capacity to 1,500 t/d for fiscal 2013. The cost of mill expansion is about $10 million.
Construction of an 800 t/d backfill facility to fill up gold mineralization stopes is underway, which will cost around $1.5 million and will be completed in July 2012.
The Company also started to sink a 180 m deep, 3.5 m diameter, shaft from 380 m to 200 m elevations. The shaft will mainly be utilized to mine the #3 gold mineralization body. The cost of the shaft is about $1 million and is expected to be completed in April 2012.
XBG Project, Henan Province, China
In the current quarter, the Company completed the acquisition of a 90% equity interest in Zhongxing and Chuanxin through its 77.5% owned subsidiary, Henan Found Mining Co. Ltd. The main assets acquired are the high grade XBG silver-gold-lead-zinc mine with a mining permit covering 26.36 square kilometres and the adjacent NTM gold exploration permit covering 2.54 square kilometres along with a 350 t/d floatation mill and the environment permit to construct a 1,000 t/d floatation mill.
Exploration, mine development and small scale tunnelling mining have been on-going since the mining permit was issued in November 2010. By the end of July 2011, a total of 4,500 m of mine tunnels and several shallow shafts were developed in the mine area. Based on Zhongxing’s records, over 20,000 tonnes of silver-lead-zinc ore were mined, of which about 12,000 tonnes of ore were milled by the 350 t/d flotation mill. Metal recoveries from the test milling were reported to be over 90% for silver and lead and 80% for gold and zinc.
The Company intends to commence a comprehensive exploration program that includes surface and underground mapping and sampling, and surface and underground diamond drilling to explore the existing veins and discover additional veins. The exploration program is expected to be self-funded by cash-flow generated from continuing mining activities from the existing tunnels and processed from the existing 350 t/d floatation mill.
Silvertip Project, British Columbia, Canada
During the quarter, the Company continued its effort in completing a Small Mine Permit application. At the same time, the Company conducted the 2011 exploration program to test the DM zone, a new zone of silver-lead-zinc mineralization approximately eight kilometres to the south of Silvertip Mountain. The 2011 exploration program is now substantially completed, with assay results pending.
PRODUCTION GUIDANCE FOR THE FISCAL YEAR 2012
During the first six months of fiscal year 2012, 3.0 million ounces of silver, 1,703 ounces of gold and 44.5 million pounds of lead and zinc were produced and sold from the four mines at the Ying Mining District. This is on track for the fiscal year 2012 Production Guidance for the Ying Mining District, which is to process 600,000 tonnes of ore at grades of 325g/t silver, 0.4g/t gold, 6% lead and 1.9% zinc, yielding 5.6 million ounces of silver, 4,000 ounces of gold, and 90 million pounds of lead and zinc. Total production cost is estimated at approximately $75 per tonne of ore.
For fiscal 2012, the BYP mine is expected to mine and mill 95,000 tonnes of ore at a grade of 6 g/t gold, yielding approximately 17,000 ounces of gold at an estimated total production cost of $28 per tonne of ore.
Myles Gao, P.Geo., President and Chief Operating Officer of Silvercorp, is a Qualified Person for Silvercorp under NI 43-101 and has reviewed and given consent to the technical information in this section of the press release.
UPDATED CONFERENCE CALL AND WEBCAST INFORMATION
New Time and New Dial-In Number
A conference call and live audio webcast to discuss these results is scheduled as follows:
|Date:||Wednesday, November 9, 2011|
|Time:||7:00 am PT (10:00 am ET)|
|Live audio webcast:||www.silvercorp.ca (click on the link on the home page)|
|Playback webcast can be accessed at:||www.silvercorp.ca|
About Silvercorp Metals Inc.
Silvercorp Metals Inc. is engaged in the acquisition, exploration, development and mining of high-grade silver-related mineral properties in China and Canada. Silvercorp is the largest primary silver producer in China through the operation of the four silver-lead-zinc mines at the Ying Mining District in the Henan Province of China. Silvercorp recently acquired the XBG silver-gold-lead-zinc mine nearby the Ying Mining District in Henan Province, further consolidating the region. Silvercorp has commenced production at its second production foothold in China, the BYP gold-lead-zinc project in Hunan Province, and is currently building the GC silver-lead-zinc project in Guangdong Province as its third China production base. In Canada, Silvercorp is preparing to apply for a Small Mine Permit for the Silvertip high grade silver-lead-zinc mine project in northern British Columbia to provide a further platform for growth and geographic diversification. The Company’s shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange (symbol: SVM) and Toronto Stock Exchange (symbol: SVM) and are included as a component of the S&P/TSX Composite and the S&P/TSX Global Mining Indexes.