Aris Gold Announces 2020 Financial Results – Junior Mining Network

VANCOUVER, BC, March 31, 2021 /CNW/ – Aris Gold Corporation (Aris Gold or the Company) (TSX: ARIS) (OTCQX: ALLXF) announces fourth quarter (Q4) and full year 2020 financial results from its wholly owned Marmato mine in Colombia. The Company’s 2020 Management’s Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) and Financial Statements have been filed under the Company’s profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and are available on the Company’s website at www.arisgold.com.

2020 Achievements

Since the launch of the Company in February 2020, significant achievements and rapid progress has been made, including:

  • Completed a Preliminary Feasibility Study (PFS) for the expansion of the Marmato mine, which focused on the development of the Marmato Deep Zone (MDZ) mineralization, construction of a new 4,000 tonne per day (tpd) plant, new dry stack tailings storage facilities and the use of efficient mechanized mining methods.
  • Established a new Life of Mine plan for the Marmato mine based on a total Mineral Reserve1 of 2.0 million contained ounces (oz) gold from exploration drilling results to mid-March 2020.
  • Launched a 35,000-metre drill program at Marmato which commenced in May 2020, with the principal objective of converting Inferred Mineral Resources to Indicated Mineral Resources while also testing several newly discovered areas. Drilling results during 2020 included high-grade mineralization over broad widths demonstrating potential to extend the 13-year mine life outlined in the PFS. As of March 2021, this drill program was approximately 50% complete.
  • Acquired the Juby Gold Project in July 2020, an advanced stage exploration project in northeastern Ontario, and completed an updated Mineral Resource Estimate (the Juby MRE). which is included in the Juby Technical Report (as defined below). The Juby MRE included Indicated Resources of 770,000 contained oz gold based on 21.3 million tonnes at an average grade of 1.13 g/t and Inferred Resources of 1,488,000 contained oz of gold based on 47.1 million tonnes at an average grade of 0.98 g/t.
  • Completed three financings for gross proceeds of $186.5 million, which included:
    • C$50.0 million ($37.4 million) bought deal financing
    • $83.1 million senior secured Gold-Linked Notes (GLN) financing
    • C$85.0 million ($66.0 million) private placement led by the current Board and management
  • Arranged a $110.0 million precious metals streaming financing, the completion of which is subject to certain customary conditions.
  • Achieved the revised 2020 gold production guidance at the Marmato Upper Zone mine despite challenges associated with COVID-19 (See Q4 and Full Year 2020 Financial and Operating Highlights).
  • Negotiated a 30-year extension of the mining title at the Marmato mine to October 2051, which included an agreement with the Agencia Nacional de Mineria (ANM) for the creation of a social investment fund with a defined contribution formula based on gold production rates.

 Q4 and Full Year 2020 Financial and Operating Highlights

 

Q4

Full Year

 

2020

2019

2020

2019

Financial position, as at December 31 ($000s)

       

 Cash and cash equivalents

   

32,007

2,672

 Cash in escrow (1)

   

142,096

    Total, cash, cash equivalents and cash in escrow

   

174,103

2,672

 Precious metals streaming financing (2)

   

110,000

 Long-term debt

   

81,742

         

Operating data

       

 Gold produced (oz)

7,181

7,057

23,832

25,750

 Average realized gold price ($/oz sold)

$1,870

$1,470

$1,767

$1,387

 Cash costs ($/oz sold) (3)

1,238

927

1,168

983

 AISC ($/oz sold) (3)

1,941

1,281

1,653

1,222

         

Financial data ($000s, except per share amounts)

       

 Revenue

$12,550

$9,896

$42,790

$35,648

 Cost of sales

9,958

7,454

33,789

29,870

 Social programs

448

931

 Income from mining operations

2,144

2,442

8,070

5,778

 Adjusted EBITDA (3)

768

2,686

5,238

6,743

 Net (loss) income (4)

(33,744)

1,551

(83,114)

3,605

 Per share – basic and diluted

(0.32)

0.05

(1.25)

0.13

(1)

The net proceeds from the C$85 million private placement and the US$83 million of gold-linked notes were released from escrow on February 4, 2021

(2)

The Company has entered into a definitive Precious Metals Purchase Agreement with Wheaton Precious Metals International Ltd., the closing of which is subject to certain customary conditions. On closing, US$38 million will be paid to the Company with the remaining amount to be paid in tranches upon achievement of completion of * 50% and (y) 75%, of the Marmato Deep Zone expansion project construction.

(3)

For full details on cash costs, AISC and adjusted EBITDA calculations, see “Non-IFRS Measures” on pages 24 to 26 of the Company’s MD&A, available on SEDAR and on the Company’s website at www.arisgold.com. The Company has changed its methodology of calculating cash costs and AISC. Historical amounts have been updated for the purposes of comparison

(4)

The difference between Income from mining operations and Net (loss) income for the full year is primarily related to one-time expenses of $75.3 million included in Losses on financial instruments ($44.8 million), RTO Transaction Expense ($16.7 million), and Financing fees and expenses ($13.8 million)

Outlook

The key achievement of 2020 was the creation of Aris Gold as an independent public company with a strong financial platform to fund growth. During 2021, the focus shifts to improving the operating performance of the Marmato Upper Zone mine and to start realizing the potential of the Marmato Deep Zone by starting the development of a new MDZ underground mine and constructing a new processing facility in Q4.

Marmato – Upper Zone Operations

During 2021, Aris Gold expects steady improvements of Marmato’s current operations through implementation of comprehensive workforce training and redirecting site-level operations management while concurrently improving health, safety, and environmental performance.

During the ongoing modernization and expansion phase of the Marmato mine, the Company anticipates elevated AISC per oz due to increased investments in sustaining capital. During 2020, sustaining capital expenditures totalled $6.4 million or $268 per oz sold, and included $4.0 million or $168 per oz sold related to mine infrastructure improvements and equipment. The Marmato mine has been in operation since 1991 and investments are planned to refurbish Upper Zone operations in advance of the large-scale MDZ expansion project expected to start in Q4 2021.

Marmato – Developing the MDZ

During 2021, Aris Gold’s primary focus is the scheduled start of the Marmato Deep Zone project in Q4. The Marmato project team is implementing a comprehensive development plan that includes completing optimization studies, completing the 35,000-metre drill program and subsequently updating the mineral resource and reserve estimates, engaging an EPCM contractor, completing FEL3 design, amending the environmental management plan and continuing to advance health, safety, and community support programs.

Corporate Growth Strategy

On February 4, 2021, the Company changed its name to Aris Gold Corporation in association with the appointment of the current Board and management team and the expansion of the corporate growth strategy with the vision of building Aris Gold into their next globally relevant gold producer.

Aris Gold is pursuing a growth strategy of acquiring operating gold mines and projects nearing construction with the goal of creating value through adding scale and diversification. Aris Gold has a solid foundation and experienced team to implement its growth plans.

Technical Information

The scientific disclosure and technical information included in this Press Release is based upon information included in the technical reports listed below that were prepared in compliance with National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects (NI 43-101).

  1. Marmato Technical Report entitled “Revised NI 43-101 Technical Report Pre-Feasibility Study Marmato Project Colombia” dated September 18, 2020 with an effective date of March 17, 2020. The Marmato Technical Report was prepared by Ben Parsons, MSc, MAusIMM (CP), Eric J. Olin, MSc Metallurgy, MBA, SME-RM, MAusIMM, Fernando Rodrigues, BS Mining, MBA, MAusIMM, MMSAQP, Jeff Osborn, BEng Mining, MMSAQP, Joanna Poeck, BEng Mining, SME-RM, MMSAQP, Fredy Henriquez, MS Eng, SME, ISRM, Breese Burnley, P.E., Cristian A Pereira Farias, SME-RM, David Hoekstra, BS, PE, NCEES, SME-RM, David Bird, PG, SME-RM, Mark Allan Willow, MSc, CEM, SME-RM, and Tommaso Roberto Raponi, P.Eng, each of whom is independent of the Company within the meaning of NI 43-101 and is a “Qualified Person” as such term is defined in NI 43-101.
  2. Juby Technical Report entitled “Technical Report on the Updated Mineral Resource Estimate for the Juby Gold Project” dated October 5, 2020 with an effective date of July 14, 2020. The Juby Technical Report was prepared by Joe Campbell, B.Sc., P.Geo., Alan Section, M.Sc., P.Geo., Duncan Studd, M.Sc., P.Geo. and Allan Armitage, Ph.D., P.Geo., each of whom is independent of the Company within the meaning of NI 43-101 and is a “Qualified Person” as such term is defined in NI 43-101

About Aris Gold

Aris Gold is a Canadian mining company listed on the TSX under the symbol ARIS. The Company is led by an executive team with a demonstrated track record of creating value through building globally relevant gold mining companies. Aris Gold operates the Marmato mine in Colombia, where a modernization and expansion program is underway, and the Juby project, an advanced exploration stage gold project in the Abitibi greenstone belt of Ontario, Canada. Aris Gold plans to pursue acquisition and other growth opportunities to unlock value creation from scale and diversification.

Additional information on Aris Gold can be found at www.arisgold.com and www.sedar.com.

Forward-looking Information

This news release contains “forward-looking information” or forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation. All statements included herein, other than statements of historical fact, including without limitation statements relating to the possibility of converting inferred resources to indicated resources at the Marmato Mine, completion of the precious metals stream financing and statements made under the heading “Outlook” are forward-looking. Generally, the 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”. Statements concerning mineral resource estimates may also be deemed to constitute forward looking information to the extent that they involve estimates of the mineralization that will be encountered. The material factors or assumptions used to develop forward looking information or statements are disclosed throughout this presentation.

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 Aris Gold to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking information or forward looking statements, including but not limited to: the ability of the Aris Gold management team to successfully integrate with the current operations, risks related to international operations, risks related to general economic conditions, uncertainties relating to operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, actual results of current exploration activities, availability of quality assets that will add scale, diversification and complement Aris Gold’s growth trajectory; changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined; fluctuations in prices of metals including gold; the ability to convert mineral resources to mineral reserves; fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates, increases in market prices of mining consumables, risks associated with holding derivative instruments (such as credit risks, market liquidity risk and mark-to-market risk), possible variations in mineral reserves, grade or recovery rates; failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated; changes in national and local government legislation, taxation, controls, regulations, regulations and political or economic developments in Canada or Colombia, accidents and operations, labour disputes, title disputes, claims and limitations on insurance coverage and other risks of the mining industry; delays in obtaining governmental approvals including obtaining required environmental and other licenses, 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, as well as those factors discussed in the section entitled “Risk Factors” in Aris Gold’s most recent AIF available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

Although Aris Gold 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 Aris Gold 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.

This announcement does not constitute an offer of securities for sale in the United States, nor may any securities referred to herein be offered or sold in the United States absent registration or an exemption from registration as provided in the U.S. Securities Act of 1933 as amended (the “Securities Act”) and the rules and regulations thereunder. The securities referred to herein have not been registered pursuant to the Securities Act and there is no intention to register any of the securities in the United States or to conduct a public offering of securities in the United States.

__________________________

1 Proven and Probable Mineral Reserves include proven mineral reserves of 0.807 million tonnes at 5.13g/t for 133,000 contained oz and probable mineral reserves of 18.898 million tonnes at 3.11 g/t for 1,888,000 contained oz. Full details of the Marmato Mineral Reserve Estimate are included in the Marmato Technical Report (as defined below).