Acacia swings to a loss as Tanzania export ban weighs on production
Source - SMW
Acacia Mining's revenue fell to US$752m for the full year ending 31 December 2017, down 29% compared to the previous year, as a higher gold price was offset by a 29% decrease in gold sales, leading the miner to decide against proposing a final dividend for the year.
Revenue was significantly impacted by Tanzania's on-going ban on exporting gold and copper concentrate which resulted in approximately US$264m of lost revenue in 2017 and drove a total cash outflow of US$237m.
Acacia gold production in 2017 fell to 767,883 ounces, down 7% compared to the previous year, mainly driven by lower production at Bulyanhulu due to the transition to reduced operations in fourth quarter of 2017.
In 2018, the company expects to see a step-down in production to 435,000-475,000 ounces as Buzwagi transitions to processing stockpiles and Bulyanhulu re-processes tailings.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) fell nearly 40% to US$257.2m from US$415m in 2016.
Acacia reported a net earnings loss of US$707.4m in 2017, turning from the US$94.9m profit reported in 2016.
Cash balance fell to US$81 million at year-end, down from US$318 million reported in the previous year amid lost revenue resulting from the concentrate ban and a gross build-up of VAT receivables of US$91 million.
That was offset somewhat by the sale of a non-core royalty for US$45 million. Cash generated from operating activities was an outflow of US$23.0 million which was a decrease of US$340.9 million from 2016 (US$318.0 million)
The fall in cash generation forced the miner to announce that it would not recommended the payment of a final dividend.
Interim Chief executive Peter Geleta, Interim CEO of Acacia said: 'We delivered resilient operational performance during a challenging 2017, with full year gold production of 767,883 ounces at all-in sustaining costs ("AISC") of US$875 per ounce.'
'Whilst we were impacted by events beyond our control, we took decisive action to stabilise our business and believe our operations are now well placed to deliver in 2018.'
'The challenges in our operating environment led to our production guidance being revised during 2017, whilst the ongoing ban on the export of gold/copper concentrate meant that we were unable to export and sell 185,800 ounces of produced gold which led to a substantial cash outflow. As expected, we will see a step-down in production in 2018 to 435,000-475,000 ounces as Buzwagi transitions to processing stockpiles and Bulyanhulu, whilst in reduced operations, solely re-processes tailings.'
'Our continued cost discipline means that AISC will remain competitive at US$935-985 per ounce. We are supporting efforts towards achieving a negotiated resolution with the Tanzanian Government.'