TSX:  LMC  $2.00  Gold:  $1414.00/oz
TSX-V: LMC $2.00  Gold: $1414.00/oz

Leagold Announces 2018 Earnings, Including AISC of $974/oz and AISC Margin of $83.2 Million

(All amounts in US dollars, unless otherwise indicated)

2018 Highlights include:

  • Gold production of 302,550 ounces and sales of 300,053 gold ounces;
  • Revenue of $376.5 million;
  • Adjusted EBITDA1 of $89.5 million;
  • Net income of $15.3 million and earnings from mine operations of $58.3 million;
  • All-in sustaining costs (AISC)1 of $974 per ounce of gold sold;
  • AISC margin1 of $83.2 million; and
  • Cash balance of $53.0 million at December 31, 2018.

Vancouver, March 14, 2019 – Leagold Mining Corporation (TSX:LMC; OTCQX:LMCNF) (“Leagold” or the “Company”) reports Q4 and full year 2018 financial and operating results with consolidated gold production in 2018 of 302,550 ounces (oz) at AISC of $974 per oz sold and resulting in an AISC margin of $83.2 million. These results generated full-year earnings from mine operations of $58.3 million and net income of $15.3 million. Leagold’s 2018 results include the Brazilian operations on a post-acquisition basis from May 24 to year end.

Leagold CEO Neil Woodyer commented: “2018 was a transformational year as we grew into a diversified, multi-mine operator with four mines in two countries. In only two years, we have completed two significant acquisitions and established Leagold as a mid-tier gold producer. We are now producing gold at an annual rate of about 400,000 oz per year. Our internal growth projects have potential to grow production to 700,000 oz per year. These growth projects are the expansion of the Los Filos mine complex and the restart of construction of the Santa Luz project. Both have recently completed feasibility studies. We are advancing with construction planning and optimizing the sequencing of the major expansion projects as part of our financial planning.”

Table 1: 2018 Gold Production by Quarter (oz)

Mine Q1 2018 Q2 2018 Q3 2018 Q4 2018 Total 2018
Los Filos 51,003 43,541 42,617 58,201 195,362
RDMi,ii - 7,889 16,596 4,913 29,398
Fazendai - 7,460 20,167 19,041 46,668
Pilari - 5,627 13,889 11,606 31,122
Total 51,003 64,517 93,269 93,761 302,550

i For Q2 2018, the results for RDM, Fazenda and Pilar are included in Leagold’s results for the 38-day post-acquisition period from May 24, 2018 to June 30, 2018 (inclusive).
ii During Q4 2018, the RDM mine experienced a temporary shutdown from early October until November 20 due to regional drought conditions.

Table 2: Production and Costs for the Year Ended December 31, 2018

Mining physicals Unit Los Filos RDMii Fazendaii Pilarii Total
Gold produced oz 195,362 29,398 46,668 31,122 302,550
Gold sold oz 190,614 29,389 48,066 31,984 300,053
Cash cost details            
Gold revenue $000s 241,126 36,028 58,992 39,256 375,402
Mining costs – open pit   33,905  9,808  2,933  -  46,646
Mining costs – underground   47,083  -  17,650  18,705  83,438
Processing costs   78,571  14,324  9,742  8,709  111,346
Site G&A costs   23,089  3,030  3,782  2,998  32,899
Change in inventory    (28,183)  113  (23)  382  (27,711)
Other   831  535  805  985  3,156
Total cash costsi $000s 155,296 27,810 34,889 31,779 249,774
Land access payments   14,966 - 2 23  14,991
Royalties    1,809 897 848 582  4,136
Sustaining capitali   10,224 943 4,561 2,072  17,800
Sustaining capitali – stripping   5,477  -  -  -  5,477
Total AISCi $000s 187,772 29,650 40,300 34,456 292,178
AISC margini $000s 53,354 6,378 18,692 4,800 83,223
Cash costsi $/oz sold  815  946  726  994 832
AISC i $/oz sold  985  1,009  838  1,077  974

iCash costs, sustaining capital, AISC, and AISC margin are non-IFRS financial performance measures with no standard meaning under IFRS. Refer to the section Non-IFRS Measures for a reconciliation to IFRS. AISC includes cash costs, royalties, land access and community payments and sustaining capital.
ii Includes the period May 24-December 31, 2018 for the RDM, Fazenda, and Pilar mines.

Table 3: Production and Costs for the Three Months Ended December 31, 2018

Mining physicals Unit Los Filos RDM Fazenda Pilar Total
Gold produced oz 58,201 4,913 19,041 11,606 93,761
Gold sold oz 54,001 5,574 18,849 11,580 90,004
Cash cost details            
Gold revenue $000s 65,906 7,025 23,111 14,128 110,170
Mining costs – open pit   7,492 1,641 1,278 - 10,411
Mining costs – underground   13,146 - 7,454 7,851 28,451
Processing costs   21,908 3,237 4,387 4,063 33,595
Site G&A costs   6,041 1,066 1,714 1,417 10,238
Change in inventory   (8,624) 583 (791) (761) (9,593)
Other   223 174 350 396 1,143
Total cash costsi $000s 40,186 6,701 14,392 12,966 74,245
Land access payments   3,668 - - 12 3,680
Royalties   389 171 356 217 1,133
Sustaining capitali   2,223 184 2,717 745 5,869
Sustaining capitali – stripping   1,614 - - - 1,614
Total AISCi $000s 48,080 7,056 17,465 13,940 86,541
AISC margini $000s 17,826 (31) 5,646 188 23,629
Cash costsi $/oz sold 744 1,202 764 1,120 825
AISC1 $/oz sold 890 1,266 927 1,204 962

i Cash costs, sustaining capital, AISC, and AISC margin are non-IFRS financial performance measures with no standard meaning under IFRS. Refer to the section Non-IFRS Measures for a reconciliation to IFRS. AISC includes cash costs, royalties, land access and community payments and sustaining capital.

At the Los Filos mine complex in Mexico, production of 58,201 oz in Q4 2018 was up 37% over the previous quarter and set a new quarterly production record since acquisition. This production result was due to the significant increase in contained gold placed on the heap leach pad during the year and the delayed gold recovery rates that improved at the end of 2018, and have continued at expected levels into 2019. During Q4 2018, mining operations continued to perform well with ore mined from the open pits up 21% to 2.6 million tonnes and ore mined from underground operations up 3% to 177,000 tonnes.

Full-year production at Los Filos totalled 195,362 oz at AISC of $985 per oz sold. During 2018, growth capital expenditures (e.g. non-sustaining) at Los Filos totalled $22.2 million which included $11.3 million for development of the Bermejal Underground, $3.1 million for the installation of additional conveyors and the agglomerator, $1.5 million on the CIL plant studies, and $6.3 million for the Los Filos Underground exploration drilling program that extended mine life.

At the RDM mine in Brazil, Q4 2018 production was impacted by a six-week shutdown due to regional drought conditions. As a result, the RDM mine only produced 4,913 oz of gold during Q4 2018 compared to 16,596 oz in Q3 2018. Water in the reservoir has continued to build up over the rainy season (typically November through March) and RDM is expected to be positioned for stable and continuous operations in 2019.

Also in Q4 2018, the grid power project at RDM continued to progress with 90% of the towers constructed by quarter-end. During Q1 2019, the installation of the remaining towers and power cable has been completed and commissioned, and the switch-over to grid power is scheduled for mid-March 2019. The lower cost grid power has the potential to reduce annual power costs by $6 million, and the increased power availability will also improve mill performance and gold recovery rates.

Production at RDM for the post-acquisition period of May 24, 2018 to December 31, 2018 totalled 29,398 oz of gold at AISC of $1,009 per oz sold.

At the Fazenda mine in Brazil, Q4 2018 production was ahead of expectations with 19,041 oz. Since acquisition, Leagold has focused on optimizing the excess throughput capacity of the plant using open pit material, which has contributed to consistently strong performance at Fazenda. Production for the post-acquisition period of May 24, 2018 to December 31, 2018 totalled 46,668 oz of gold at AISC of $838 per oz sold.

At the Pilar mine in Brazil, Q4 2018 production was 11,606 oz, slightly below Q3 2018 due to processing of lower grade ore. Processing costs increased compared to the prior quarter due to the timing of increased preventive maintenance in the plant. Since acquisition, total ore mined from underground was 645,047 tonnes at an average grade of 1.36 g/t. Total ore processed was 895,835 tonnes of which 253,659 tonnes came from low-grade stockpiles, allowing the plant to operate at its throughput capacity. By doing this, management achieved record monthly throughput in H2 2018 and has maximized production despite grade issues from the underground mines. Production for the post-acquisition period of May 24, 2018 to December 31, 2018 totalled 31,122 oz of gold at AISC of $1,077 per oz sold.

Expansion and Development Projects

Los Filos Expansion

At the Los Filos mine complex in Mexico, Leagold completed the Los Filos Expansion Feasibility Study in March 2019 which was prepared by independent consultants. The study incorporates the potential for developing the Bermejal underground mine, enlarging the Los Filos open pit mine, re-phasing the Bermejal open pit into two distinct sections (Bermejal and Guadalupe), and building a 4,000 tonne per day (tpd) carbon-in-leach (CIL) plant to complement the existing heap leach facilities.

The Expansion Feasibility Study builds on the large scale exploration program that Leagold commenced in April 2017, shortly after Leagold acquired the Los Filos mine complex from Goldcorp. This exploration program delineated several new areas of high-grade mineralization as part of the Bermejal Underground, and in Q4 2017, an exploration ramp was started. In Q4 2018, development of the 1,330-metre ramp to access the ore body at Bermejal underground was completed on schedule.

Since the acquisition of the Los Filos mine complex, Leagold has carried out extensive exploration programs for both open pit and underground deposits, developed the Bermejal access ramp, completed the Bermejal underground mine design, and completed comprehensive metallurgical test work on all of the mineral deposits to support the CIL plant design. This work, with a total investment of approximately $30 million, has contributed to increasing the Proven and Probable Reserves from 1.7 Moz to 4.5 Moz3 at an average cost of less than $10 per oz, and now forms the basis of the Expansion Feasibility Study.

Highlights of the Expansion Feasibility Study include:

  • Gold production of 3.2 Moz over a 10-year mine life (2019 to 2028) at an average AISCof $740/oz
  • Post expansion (2021 onwards):
    • Average annual production of 350,000 oz at AISC2 of $694/oz
    • Average annual production exceeding 420,000 oz from 2021 to 2024
  • Proven and Probable mineral reserves of 104.2 Mt at 1.31 g/t containing 4.5 Moz3
  • Capital cost of $180 million to develop the Bermejal underground and construct a new 4,000 tpd CIL plant with related infrastructure
  • Current operations to fund capitalized stripping during the initial expansion phase (2019 to 2020) at the Guadalupe and Los Filos open pits
  • At $1,250/oz gold price:
    • NPV0% of $884 million
    • NPV5% of $679 million
    • IRR of 86%

Leagold is advancing with Los Filos expansion construction planning, optimizing the sequencing of the major expansion projects as part of its financial planning, and discussing the social and economic benefits created by the expansion with its employees, contractors, unions and community members.

Santa Luz Project

At the Santa Luz project in Brazil, Leagold completed the Santa Luz Restart Feasibility Study in October 2018. Santa Luz is a previously operating open pit mine and processing plant which was shut down in 2014 by a previous owner to focus on optimizing gold recoveries. Leagold’s independent metallurgical testwork, review of the pilot plant results, and updated Santa Luz Restart Feasibility Study demonstrates that resin-in-leach (RIL) processing will successfully achieve gold recoveries of 84%. The study outlines the potential for Santa Luz to add 100,000 oz per year of gold production within a 10-month construction period at a capital cost of $82 million. Leagold is considering the timing of the Santa Luz restart in the context of its overall corporate business plan and the opportunities presented in the recently completed Los Filos Expansion study.

Leagold Financial Results

Leagold reported revenue of $110.3 million in Q4 2018 and net earnings of $1.3 million, or $0.00 per share. On a full-year basis, revenue totalled $376.5 million and net earnings totalled $15.3 million, or $0.07 per share. Tables 4 and 5 provide details of Q4 and full-year 2018 financial results.

Table 4: Leagold’s Financial Results for the Three Months Ended December 31, 2018

$000s Three months ended
Dec 31, 2018
Three months ended
Dec 31, 2017
Revenue  110,250  65,265
Operating expenses  77,653 47,059
Depreciation and depletion  13,331  7,690
Royalties   1,132 324
Earnings from mine operations  18,134  10,192
Exploration costs  167 36
Share-based payments  28 225
Acquisition and restructuring costs  2,525 -
General and administration costs  4,801 4,359
Brazil regional office costs 1,342 -
Foreign exchange loss  4,152  58
Finance and accretion expense  5,780 3,514
Other expense/(income)  5,035 (336)
(Loss)/earnings before taxes   (5,696) 2,336
Current income tax expense 1,355 2,040
Deferred income tax recovery (8,379) (1,474)
Net income 1,328  1,770
Basic and diluted earnings per share 0.00 0.01
Basic and diluted (loss)/earnings before taxes per share (0.02) 0.02

Table 5: Leagold’s Financial Results for the Year Ended December 31, 2018

$000s Year ended
Dec 31, 2018
Year ended
Dec 31, 2017
Revenue  376,511  193,694
Operating expenses  267,178 148,330
Depreciation and depletion  46,862  16,859
Royalties  4,136  994
Earnings from mine operations 58,335  27,511
Exploration costs 674 119
Share-based payments 30 10,181
Acquisition and restructuring costs 8,038 7,636
General and administration costs1 11,304 8,178
Brazil regional office costs 3,375 -
Foreign exchange loss 2,733  260
Finance and accretion expenses 6,314 11,961
Other expenses/(income) 4,902 (553)
Earnings/(loss) before taxes 20,965 (10,271)
Current income tax expense 7,797 2,326
Deferred income tax (recovery) (2,117) (5,072)
Net income/(loss) 15,285  (7,525)
Basic and diluted earnings/(loss) per share 0.07 (0.07)
Basic and diluted earnings/(loss) before taxes per share 0.09 (0.09)

Outlook and Strategy

Leagold expects to produce 380,000 to 420,000 oz in 2019 at AISC of $920 to $970 per oz. Beyond 2019, Leagold’s internal growth projects have the potential to increase production to 700,000 oz per year. Leagold is currently reviewing the results of the Los Filos Expansion Feasibility Study and the Santa Luz Restart Feasibility Study while preparing financing alternatives that prioritize cash flow generation and long-term shareholder value.

Leagold’s long-term growth strategy also includes acquiring operating gold mines and projects nearing construction where the acquired assets complement its existing operations and provide further operational diversification. Leagold’s experienced management team has a history of operational success which provides the foundation for executing on its acquisition strategy.

Supporting Documents

Leagold’s Q4 and full year 2018 financial statements and related MD&A are available on SEDAR and in the Investor Relations section of Leagold’s website here.

Conference Call

A conference call and live webcast will be held on Thursday, March 14 at 10am PDT/1pm EDT. Participants may dial in to the conference call using the numbers below (no access code is needed).

Toll free Canada/US: 1-800-319-4610
International: +1-604-638-5340

The live webcast can be accessed through the following link:
http://services.choruscall.ca/links/leagold20190314.html

The conference call will be available for playback until April 14, 2019 by dialling 1-800-319-6413 (toll free Canada/US) or +1-604-638-9010 (international), quoting access code 2841. The webcast playback will be available on Leagold’s here.

About Leagold Mining Corporation

Leagold is building a mid-tier gold producer with a focus on opportunities in Latin America. The Company is based in Vancouver, Canada and owns four operating gold mines in Mexico and Brazil, along with an expansion opportunity in Mexico and a near-term gold mine restart project in Brazil. Leagold is listed on the TSX under the trading symbol “LMC” and trades on the OTCQX market as “LMCNF”. For more information on Leagold please visit the Company website at www.leagold.com or contact:
Meghan Brown – Vice President, Investor Relations
tel: +1-604-398-4525
email: [email protected]

CAUTIONARY NOTE REGARDING FORWARD LOOKING STATEMENTS

This news release contains “forward looking information” or “forward looking statements” within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. All statements other than statements of historical fact, included herein, including without limitation, statements related to full-year production forecasts and AISC, expectations for increased recovery rates and the impact of cost savings initiatives at Los Filos, cost savings from low-cost grid power and anticipation of stable and continuous operations at RDM, statements about potential future production at Santa Luz, future operating costs and capital costs, and the projected IRR for the Santa Luz project are forward looking statements. Generally, these forward looking information and forward looking statements can be identified by the use of forward looking terminology such as “plans”, “expects” or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “estimates”, “forecasts”, “intends”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, “will continue” or “believes”, or variations of such words and phrases or state that certain actions, events or results “may”, “could”, “would”, “might” or “will be taken”, “occur” or “be achieved”. The material factors or assumptions used to develop forward looking information or statements are disclosed throughout this document.

Forward looking information and forward looking statements, while based on management’s best estimates and assumptions, are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Leagold to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information or forward looking statements, including but not limited to: risks related to international operations; risks related to general economic conditions and credit availability, unanticipated reclamation expenses; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; fluctuations in prices of metals including gold; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, increases in market prices of mining consumables, possible variations in mineral reserves, grade or recovery rates; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; accidents, labour disputes, title disputes, claims and limitations on insurance coverage and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals or financing or in the completion of development or construction activities, changes in national and local government regulation of mining operations, tax rules and regulations, and political and economic developments in countries in which the Company operates, actual resolutions of legal and tax matters, as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled “Description of the Business – Risk Factors” in Leagold’s most recent AIF available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Although Leagold has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking information and forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such information or statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information or statements. The Company has and continues to disclose in its Management’s Discussion and Analysis and other publicly filed documents, changes to material factors or assumptions underlying the forward-looking information and forward-looking statements and to the validity of the information, in the period the changes occur. The forward-looking statements and forward-looking information are made as of the date hereof and Leagold disclaims any obligation to update any such factors or to publicly announce the result of any revisions to any of the forward-looking statements or forward-looking information contained herein to reflect future results. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements and information.

 

1 AISC, AISC margin and adjusted EBITDA are non-IFRS financial performance measures with no standard meaning under IFRS. AISC includes cash costs, royalties, land access and community payments and sustaining capital.
2 AISC is a non-GAAP measure. See AISC in the Cautionary Notes.
3 Proven reserve of 26.2 million tonnes at 0.91 grams per tonne containing 0.768 Moz gold plus Probable reserve of 78.1 million tonnes at 1.44 grams per tonne containing 3.626 Moz gold plus an additional 0.114 Moz gold in Probable leach pad inventory (effective date of October 31, 2018, SRK Consulting (Canada) Inc.).