TORONTO, CANADA, May 15, 2023 – Strategic Minerals Europe Corp. (NEO: SNTA, FRA: 26K0, OTCQB: SNTAF) (“Strategic Minerals” or the “Company”), a company focused on the production, development, and exploration of tin, tantalum and niobium, announces the results for the three months ended March 31, 2023. Strategic Minerals’ first quarter 2023 (“Q1 2023”) financial statements and MD&A have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). Unless otherwise indicated, all currency amounts are in U.S. dollars.
Q1 2023 Highlights
- Primary concentrate production was 121 tonnes, the highest production level for a first quarter and a 157% increase over the first quarter of 2022. The increase reflects the operation of the primary crushing plant and the transition to open pit mining at the Penouta Project following the first quarter of 2022 (“Q1 2022”).
- The previously announced major overhaul of the main ball mill was completed on time. Major assembly and repair teams efficiently coordinated the activities in just 21 days. The primary goal of these activities was to prevent the malfunctioning of the main mill and mechanical breakdowns affecting the operations.
- Sales reached 134 tonnes of concentrates and 86 tonnes of contained minerals, an increase of 185% and 179%, respectively, compared to the same period in 2022.
- Cassiterite concentrate sales increased by 156% to 105 tonnes compared to 41 tonnes in Q1 2022.
- Tantalite and columbite concentrate sales increased by 480% to 29 tonnes compared to 5 tonnes for the same period in 2022.
- $2.9 million of revenue, an increase of 168% compared to Q1 2022.
- Net loss of $1.3 million ($0.006 per share) compared to $1.6 million ($0.010 per share) in Q1 2022.
- The Company entered into a Power Purchase Agreement providing for the supply of 8.5 gigawatts per year of electricity for its Penouta Project for five years starting on January 1st, 2023. A significant portion of the power will be from renewable energy sources and is expected to generate substantial cost savings.
- On January 24, 2023, the Company sold a 0.75% gross revenue royalty (the “Royalty Transaction”) on the production of the Penouta Project to Electric Royalties Ltd. (TSXV: ELEC) (OTCQB: ELECF) (“Electric Royalties”) in exchange for a cash payment of CA$1 million and the issuance of 500,000 common shares in the capital of Electric Royalties to the Company.
- Subsequent to quarter end, the Company entered into a cassiterite offtake agreement for the remainder of 2023 with Traxys Europe S.A. (“Traxys”), which includes an advance payment facility and entered into a loan agreement (the “Term Loan”) for $1.075 million with two executive officers and directors of the Company. The Term Loan bears interest at a rate of 10% per annum and is set to mature on April 11, 2025.
Operational and Financial Summary for the Quarter ended March 31, 2023
|Q1 2023||Q1 2022||% Change|
|Total Concentrate Production||Tonnes||121||47||157.5%|
|Tin Concentrate Sold||Tonnes||105||42||150.0%|
|Tantalite Concentrate Sold||Tonnes||29||5||480%|
|Profit before expenses & other||$’000||1,212||679||78.5%|
|Net Income (Loss) Per Share||$||(0.006)||(0.007)||18.2%|
1This is not a standardized financial measure and may not be comparable to similar financial measures of other issuers. See “Use of Non-IFRS Financial Measures” below for the composition and calculation of this financial measure.
“In the first quarter of 2023, we successfully optimized our operations and put in place several measures to secure our long-term success,” said Jaime Perez Branger, CEO of Strategic Minerals. “This includes a cost-saving power purchase agreement, the Royalty Transaction and, most recently, the signing of an offtake agreement with a leading minerals trader and the Term Loan that strengthens our balance sheet. We look forward to these initiatives coming together in the rest of 2023 as we build on our position as the key ethical supplier of the metals that support the new green economy.”
Operational and Financial Performance
During Q1 2023, the Company reached the highest production level for a first quarter, performed the scheduled overhaul of the plant, secured financing to further its operational plans and recently renegotiated an offtake agreement with Traxys S.A., one of its main customers.
Production for Q1 2023 reached 121 tonnes, a 157% increase from 47 tonnes in the same period of 2022, when the primary crushing plant was being commissioned and blasting permits were granted only two weeks before the end of Q1 2022.
Quality of concentrate improved with Q1 2023 production reaching 98 tonnes of cassiterite concentrate with 69.5% tin content (40 tonnes with 68.9% tin concentrate in Q1 2022) and 23 tonnes of tantalite/columbite concentrate with 20.6% tantalite content and 22.8% columbite content (7 tonnes with 16.7% tantalite and 19.4% columbite content in Q1 2022).
Sales during Q1 2023 reached 134 tonnes of concentrates and 86 tonnes of contained minerals, an increase of 185% and 179%, respectively, over the same period of 2022. Contained minerals sales breakdown were 73 tonnes of contained cassiterite (cassiterite concentrate multiplied by tin grade percentage) and 13 tonnes of contained tantalite and columbite (tantalite and columbite concentrate multiplied by the corresponding grade percentage). Cassiterite contributed 78% of the mix of sales for Q1 2023.
During Q1 2023, international tin prices remained at the same level as at the start of the year. Despite an increase in prices by the end of January, prices returned to the levels of the beginning of the period during February and March. International prices of tantalum concentrate remained stable during the first quarter.
Revenues for Q1 2023 totalled $2.902 million, an increase of 168% from the same period of 2022 due to the higher volume of sales year over year.
At the end of the period, cash and cash equivalents were $1.8 million compared to $2.2 million on December 31, 2022. The Company received in a trust a $1.0 million advance pursuant to the Term Loan at the end of the period.
The Company is focused on improving its operations by increasing production to reduce unit costs, reinvesting profits to achieve organic and sustainable growth, and looking for new external financing opportunities.
The Company described the two phases of its strategic plan in the Company’s MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2022, and in its Annual Information Form dated March 30, 2023, both of which are available on the Company’s website and www.sedar.com. The following are the most significant developments during the first quarter of 2023:
Phase 1: Development of the Penouta Project
- The Company continued to secure financing for working capital and improvement of the capacity production at the plant, including the Royalty Transaction and the Term Loan.
- To avoid future mechanical breakdowns and stoppages of its mining operations due to the malfunctioning of the primary mill at the Penouta Project, the Company undertook a significant overhaul of its primary ball mill in February 2023, which was completed in March 2023. The expected result is an increase in production by reducing maintenance downtime.
- The Company has continued working on its mine development plan by carrying out the necessary stripping to access the higher mineralization areas.
Phase 2: Expand exploration work on the Lithium Project
On February 15, 2023, the Company received the payment of the non-interest-bearing promissory note of $738,300 related to the Alberta II lithium project (the “Lithium Project”), further described in the Annual Information Form dated March 30, 2023. Progress with respect to advancing the transfer of the permits underlying the Lithium Project is being made with the Spanish Mining authorities.
About Strategic Minerals Europe Corp.
Strategic Minerals’ wholly-owned subsidiary, Strategic Minerals Spain, S.L. (“SMS”), produces, identifies, explores, and develops mineral resource properties critical to the green economy, predominantly in Spain. SMS holds permits and a license for the Penouta Project and a 30% carried joint venture interest in the Alberta II/Carlota Lithium Project. SMS is the largest cassiterite concentrate and tantalite producer in the European Union and has been recognized within the EU as an exemplary company of good practices in the circular economy. The Company is well-positioned as a major producer of sustainable and conflict-free tin, tantalum, and niobium and, through the Alberta II/Carlota Joint Venture, is exploring for lithium. Strategic Minerals is a “reporting issuer” under applicable securities legislation in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.
Additional information on Strategic Minerals can be found by reviewing its profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information:
This news release contains “forward-looking information” and “forward-looking statements” (collectively, “forward-looking statements”) within the meaning of the applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, are forward-looking statements and are based on expectations, estimates and projections as at the date of this news release, including, without limitation, management’s beliefs regarding maintaining the current levels of production and meeting guidance targets. Any statement that involves discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions, future events or performance (often but not always using phrases such as “expects”, or “does not expect”, “is expected”, “anticipates” or “does not anticipate”, “plans”, “budget”, “scheduled”, “forecasts”, “estimates”, “believes” or “intends” or variations of such words and phrases or stating that certain actions, events or results “may” or “could”, “would”, “might” or “will” be taken to occur or be achieved) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements.
Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Strategic Minerals to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in these forward-looking statements are described under the caption “Risks Factors” in the Company’s Annual Information Form dated March 30, 2023, which is available for view on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. These risks include but are not limited to, the risks associated with the mining and exploration industry, such as operational risks in development or capital expenditures, the uncertainty of projections relating to production, and any delays or changes in plans with respect to the exploitation of the site. Forward-looking statements contained herein, are made as of the date of this press release, and Strategic Minerals disclaims, other than as required by law, any obligation to update any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, results, future events, circumstances, or if management’s estimates or opinions should change, or otherwise. There can be no assurance that forward-looking statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements.
RECONCILIATION OF NON-IFRS FINANCIAL MEASURES
This announcement refers to the following non-IFRS financial performance measures:
Adjusted EBITDA represents earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation, and amortization (“EBITDA”), adjusted to exclude share-based payments, gain on retained investment in associate, gain on sales of assets and reverse takeover (“RTO”) transaction costs. Adjusted EBITDA provides insight into our overall business performance (a combination of cost management and growth) and is intended to provide additional information for the reader as we believe certain investors could use this information to evaluate the Company’s underlying performance of its core operations and its ability to generate cash flow and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. These measures do not have any standardized meaning prescribed under IFRS and therefore may not be comparable to other issuers.
|($ thousands)||Three Months ended
March 31, 2023
|Three Months ended
March 31, 2022
|Changes in inventories of finished goods & work in progress||(126)||81|
|Raw materials and consumables used||(459)||(209)|
|Other operating expenses||(1,661)||(1,402)|
|Other income (expense)||148||16|
For further information regarding Strategic Minerals, please contact:
Elena Terrón, Corporate Secretary
Strategic Minerals Europe Corp.