Vancouver, November 11, 2022 - Eastern Platinum Ltd. (TSX: ELR) (JSE: EPS) ("Eastplats" or the "Company") is pleased to report that it has filed its condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 and the corresponding management's discussion and analysis. Below is a summary of the Company's financial results for the third quarter of 2022 ("Q3 2022") and for the nine months ended September 30, 2022 ("YTD 2022") (all amounts in USD unless specified) in comparison to the same respective period in 2021 ("Q3 2021" and "YTD 2021", respectively):
- Revenue for Q3 2022 increased to $17.2 million (Q3 2021 - $15.9 million), representing an 8.1% increase. Revenue for YTD 2022 increased to $55.1 million (YTD 2021 - $52.6 million), representing a 4.8% increase.
- Mine operating income increased by $2.5 million (or 133.6%) to $4.4 million in Q3 2022 (Q3 2021 - $1.9 million), resulting in an improved gross margin of 25.7% in Q3 2022 from 11.9% in Q3 2021. Mine operating income for the YTD 2022 increased by $5.4 million (or 80.3%) to $12.0 million (YTD 2021 - $6.6 million), resulting in an improved gross margin of 21.7% in YTD 2022 from 12.6% in YTD 2021.
- Operating income was $1.6 million in Q3 2022 compared to an operating loss of $0.4 million in Q3 2021. Operating income improved by $4.0 million to $2.6 million in YTD 2022 from an operating loss of $1.4 million in YTD 2021.
- Net loss attributable to equity shareholders was $4.1 million ($0.03 loss per share) in Q3 2022 versus a net loss attributable to equity shareholders of $2.5 million ($0.02 loss per share) in Q3 2021. The Q3 2022 net loss was largely attributable to a larger foreign exchange loss in Q3 2022 due to the significant depreciation of the South African Rand to the U.S. Dollar in the period.
- Net income attributable to equity shareholders decreased to $0.2 million ($0.00 earnings per share) in YTD 2022 compared to net income attributable to equity shareholders of $0.8 million ($0.01 earnings per share) in YTD 2021. The reduction during YTD 2022 is mainly attributable to an increase in foreign exchange losses as the South African Rand depreciated against the U.S. Dollar as mentioned above. Furthermore, the Company received legal settlement income of $3.3 million in YTD 2021, which did not occur in YTD 2022.
- The Company had a working capital deficit (current assets less current liabilities) of $33.5 million as at September 30, 2022 (December 31, 2021 - $14.6 million positive working capital) and short-term cash resources of $1.2 million (consisting of cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments) (December 31, 2021 - $6.1 million).
The Company continues its Retreatment Project at Barplats Mines (Pty) Limited's tailings facility (the "Retreatment Project") located at the Crocodile River Mine ("CRM") in South Africa.
Summary of chrome production for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 and 2021:
| ||Q3 2022 ||Q3 2021 ||YTD 2022 ||YTD 2021 |
|Total Tailings Feed (Tons) ||654,802 ||638,791 ||1,893,774 ||1,906,963 |
|Average grade Cr concentrate ||38.7% ||38.8% ||38.8% ||38.6% |
|Tons of Cr concentrate ||154,412 ||195,942 ||445,373 ||623,330 |
The majority of the Company's revenue (approximately 78% for Q3 2022) is generated from the offtake agreement with Union Goal Offshore Solution Limited ("Union Goal") in relation to chrome concentrate production from the Retreatment Project. The remaining amount of the Company's revenue was from PGM concentrate sales to Impala Platinum Limited ("Impala").
The Company is currently owed approximately $16.4 million from Union Goal in accounts receivable from processing and dispatching chrome concentrate in addition to $2.6 million for chrome concentrate not yet invoiced as of the date of this news release. Management continues to communicate with Union Goal to determine an agreeable outcome. The Company still expects to receive all monies owed to it and will pursue all commercial options available to it to collect these amounts.
The PGM Circuit D and PGM Main Circuit B (collectively, the "PGM Circuits") continue to drive revenue growth and gross margin improvement for the Company.
Summary of PGM production for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 and 2021:
| ||Q3 2022 ||Q3 2021 ||YTD 2022 ||YTD 2021 |
|Tons of PGM concentrate ||1,532 ||366 ||4,279 ||948 |
|PGM ounces produced (6E)* ||2,477 ||655 ||6,489 ||1,872 |
*PGM 6E ounces are estimates until final exchanges and umpire results have been concluded, which can take up to three months.
Wanjin Yang, Chief Executive Officer and President commented, "We continue to focus on achieving a commercial result to reduce Union Goal's outstanding receivables. Furthermore, we are working with our South Africa management team to reduce production costs. We remain committed to the Zandfontein underground restart plan, and expect the initial processing of the UG2 chromitite ore in the first quarter of 2023."
The Company's targets for 2022 are as follows:
Operate and optimize the Retreatment Project and maximize returns (ongoing);
Operate and optimize the PGM Circuits (ongoing);
Raise capital to accelerate the restart of Zandfontein underground operations at the CRM, develop eastern limb projects and support ongoing operations;
Complete the second phase of the tailings storage facility ("TSF") capital works program (ongoing);
Advance the Mareesburg project environmental work to complete the legal analysis on the Environmental Impact Assessment ("EIA") and other environmental studies and amendments (ongoing);
Continue prospecting and assessment work in relation to Zandfontein, Crocette and Spitzkop ore bodies (ongoing);
Keep working on the EIA assessment, and structure and geology-related drill program at Spitzkop (ongoing);
Complete EIA and assessment work regarding a vertical furnace and pelletizer of chrome concentrate (ongoing); and
Update other capital assessments upon completion of capital fundraising.
The Company has a primary listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange and a secondary listing on the JSE Limited.
The Company has filed the following documents, under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com:
Condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022; and
Management's discussion and analysis for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022.
The condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 are available for download at https://www.eastplats.com/investors/quarterly-reports/F2022/ and are also available on the JSE's website at: https://senspdf.jse.co.za/documents/2022/JSE/ISSE/EPS/Q322.pdf.
The Government of South Africa lifted the National State of Disaster in response to the COVID-19 pandemic on April 5, 2022. The Company continues to follow the health guidelines of the Government of South Africa. The chrome and PGM production and delivery remains in full operation. The effects of COVID-19 are uncertain and the consequences of a further temporary shutdown of any operations or other related issues cannot be reasonably estimated at this time, but could potentially have material adverse effects on the Company's business, operations, liquidity and cashflows.
About Eastern Platinum Limited
Eastplats owns directly and indirectly a number of PGM and chrome assets in the Republic of South Africa. All of the Company's properties are situated on the western and eastern limbs of the Bushveld Complex, the geological environment that hosts approximately 80% of the world's PGM-bearing ore.
Operations at the Crocodile River Mine currently include re-mining and processing its tailings resource to produce PGM and chrome concentrates from the Barplats Zandfontein tailings dam.
For further information, please contact:
Eastern Platinum Ltd.
Wylie Hui, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary
(604) 800-8200 (phone)
Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release contains "forward-looking statements" or "forward-looking information" (collectively referred to herein as "forward-looking statements") within the meaning of applicable securities legislation. Such forward-looking statements include, without limitation, forecasts, estimates, expectations and objectives for future operations that are subject to a number of assumptions, risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. Forward-looking statements are statements that are not historical facts and are generally, but not always, identified by the words "will", "plan", "intends", "may", "could", "expects", "anticipates" and similar expressions. Further disclosure of the risks and uncertainties facing the Company and other forward-looking statements are discussed in the Company's most recent Annual Information Form available under the Company's profile on www.sedar.com.
In particular, this news release contains, without limitation, forward-looking statements pertaining to: restarting the Zandfontein underground mine; the successful pursuit of all commercial options and agreeable outcome regarding the Union Goal outstanding accounts receivable; the receipt of any money owed to the Company from Union Goal; initial processing of the UG2 chromitite ore in the first quarter of 2023; the Company's targets for 2022 including optimization of the Retreatment Project operations; completion of the Optimization Program for the Retreatment Project, assessment of the value of the chrome recovery plant; operations and optimization of the PGM Circuits; capital raise to accelerate the restart of Zandfontein underground operations at the Crocodile River mine, develop eastern limb projects and support ongoing operations; completion of the second phase of the TSF capital works program; Mareesburg project environmental work to complete the legal analysis on the EIA and other environmental studies and amendments; prospecting and assessment work in relation to Zandfontein, Crocette and Spitzkop ore bodies; working on EIA assessment and structure and geology-related drill program at Spitzkop; EIA and assessment work regarding a vertical furnace and pelletizer of chrome concentrate; the update of other capital assessments upon completion of capital fundraising; care and maintenance with respect to the underground portion of the CRM; and the potential effects of COVID-19 and any future measures taken by the Government of South Africa and their impact on the Company and its business, operations, liquidity and cashflows. These forward-looking statements are based on assumptions made by and information currently available to the Company. Although management considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect. By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements as a number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These factors include, but are not limited to, unanticipated problems that may arise in the Company's production processes, commodity prices, lower than expected grades and quantities of resources, need for additional funding and availability of such additional funding on acceptable terms, economic conditions, currency fluctuations, competition and regulations, legal proceedings and risks related to operations in foreign countries.
All forward-looking statements in this news release are expressly qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement, the "Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Information" section contained in the Company's most recent Management's Discussion and Analysis available under the Company's profile on www.sedar.com. The forward-looking statements in this news release are made as of the date they are given and, except as required by applicable securities laws, the Company disclaims any intention or obligation, and does not undertake, to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
No stock exchange, securities commission or other regulatory authority has approved or disapproved the information contained herein.
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