Amerigo Provides Q3-2023 Production Update
Additional historic rains in central Chile have negatively impacted MVC operations
Q3-2023 production is currently expected to be 2.7 M lbs lower than the revised plan
Amerigo’s Capital Return Strategy remains in place
VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Sept. 11, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Amerigo Resources Ltd. (TSX: ARG; OTCQX: ARREF) (“Amerigo” or the “Company”) announced today that production for the quarter ending September 30, 2023 (“Q3-2023”) from Minera Valle Central (“MVC”), the Company’s 100% owned operation located near Rancagua, Chile, is currently expected to be approximately 2.7 million pounds (“M lbs”) lower than the estimate set out in the Company’s revised plan because of ongoing historic levels of rainfall in Chile.
MVC’s expected production in Q3-2023 was already lower than usual due to MVC losing its connection to the central power grid from June 23 to July 21, 2023, following severe flooding from heavy rains in Central Chile. While the extensive repairs required to reconnect to the power grid were underway, MVC successfully produced 90,000 lbs of copper per day from July 6 to July 21, mitigating the negative production impact from the flooding.
On July 22, 2023, MVC resumed normal operations processing fresh and historic Cauquenes tailings. As a result of this flooding event, MVC reduced its annual copper production guidance by 3% to 60.5 million pounds (“M lbs”), of which 13.8 M lbs were expected to be produced in Q3-2023 and 16.6 M lbs in Q4-2023. Recently, heavy and sustained rainfall has precluded MVC’s ability to process historical tailings from Cauquenes and necessitated all pumping equipment be utilized to remove water from Cauquenes rather than provide historic tailings to the concentrator. Concurrently, MVC has continued to process fresh tailings from El Teniente.
As a result of these massive rains, Q3-2023 copper production is now expected to be approximately 2.7 M lbs lower than the estimate set out in the Company’s revised plan following the successful grid reconnection at MVC on July 22. Because the rainy season at MVC typically ends in mid-September, the Company is currently maintaining its revised target of 16.5 M lbs for Q4-2023.
“Ironically, after ten years of drought conditions during which we successfully adjusted operations to use less water, the adage of when it rains, it pours has proven true for Amerigo in 2023,” said Aurora Davidson, Amerigo’s President and CEO. She added, “The persistency and strength of these historic rains have forced us to stay out of Cauquenes to ensure workers’ safety. It has also been necessary for us to pump more than 1.5 million cubic meters of water from the deposit as soon as practically and safely possible”.
“Our team at MVC continues to work tirelessly to resume normal operations. While we cannot have final or definite clarity on the effect of the rains on our current quarter’s production, we have estimated a decrease of 2.7 million pounds of copper. We are evaluating all options to increase production in Q4-2023 to mitigate this impact and will provide an update in due course. Although the operational conditions have been unprecedented, other offsetting factors, such as a stronger U.S. dollar against the Chilean peso and the Company’s untapped $15 million working capital line of credit, allow us to reaffirm that the Company’s return of capital strategy remains in place”.
As of September 10, 2023, year-to-date cumulative rain at MVC has been 695 mm, compared to full-year annual rainfall of 287 mm in 2022 and 247 mm in 2021. Recently, there have been numerous days when rainfall has been over 20mm, 50 mm and even 100 mm, furthering the impact on normal operations. The rain season typically ends in mid-September at MVC.
About Amerigo and Minera Valle Central (“MVC”)
Amerigo Resources Ltd. is an innovative copper producer with a long-term relationship with Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile (“Codelco”), the world’s largest copper producer.
Amerigo produces copper concentrate, and molybdenum concentrate as a by-product at the MVC operation in Chile by processing fresh and historic tailings from Codelco’s El Teniente mine, the world’s largest underground copper mine. Tel: (604) 681-2802; Web: www.amerigoresources.com; ARG:TSX; OTCQX: ARREF
President and CEO
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Information
This news release contains certain forward-looking information and statements defined in applicable securities laws (collectively called “forward-looking statements”). These statements relate to future events or the Company’s future performance. All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. The use of any of the words “anticipate”, “plan”, “continue”, “estimate”, “expect”, “may”, “will”, “project”, “predict”, “potential”, “should”, “believe” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements concerning:
- forecasted copper production for Q3-2023 and Q4-2024;
- the maintenance of the Company’s return of capital strategy;
- our strategies and objectives;
- our estimates of the availability and quantity of tailings and the quality of our mine plan estimates;
- the sufficiency of MVC’s water reserves to maintain projected Cauquenes tonnage processing for a period of at least 18 months;
- prices and price volatility for copper, molybdenum and other commodities and materials we use in our operations;
- the demand for and supply of copper, molybdenum and other commodities and materials that we produce, sell and use;
- sensitivity of our financial results and share price to changes in commodity prices;
- our financial resources and financial condition and our expected ability to redeploy other tools of our capital return strategy;
- interest and other expenses;
- domestic and foreign laws affecting our operations;
- our tax position and the tax rates applicable to us;
- our ability to comply with our loan covenants;
- the production capacity of our operations, our planned production levels and future production;
- potential impact of production and transportation disruptions;
- hazards inherent in the mining industry causing personal injury or loss of life, severe damage to or destruction of property and equipment, pollution or environmental damage, claims by third parties and suspension of operations
- estimates of asset retirement obligations and other costs related to environmental protection;
- our future capital and production costs, including the costs and potential impact of complying with existing and proposed environmental laws and regulations in the operation and closure of our operations;
- repudiation, nullification, modification or renegotiation of contracts;
- our financial and operating objectives;
- our environmental, health and safety initiatives;
- the outcome of legal proceedings and other disputes in which we may be involved;
- the outcome of negotiations concerning metal sales, treatment charges and royalties;
- disruptions to the Company’s information technology systems, including those related to cybersecurity;
- our dividend policy, including the potential deployment of performance dividends in 2023; and
- general business and economic conditions, including, but not limited to, our assessment of strong market fundamentals supporting copper prices.
These forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results or events to differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Inherent in forward-looking statements are risks and uncertainties beyond our ability to predict or control, including risks that may affect our operating or capital plans; risks generally encountered in the permitting and development of mineral projects such as unusual or unexpected geological formations, negotiations with government and other third parties, unanticipated metallurgical difficulties, delays associated with permits, approvals and permit appeals, ground control problems, adverse weather conditions (including, but not limited to, continued extreme rainfall), process upsets and equipment malfunctions; risks associated with labour disturbances and availability of skilled labour and management; risks related to the potential impact of global or national health concerns, including COVID-19, and the inability of employees to access sufficient healthcare; government or regulatory actions or inactions; fluctuations in the market prices of our principal commodities, which are cyclical and subject to substantial price fluctuations; risks created through competition for mining projects and properties; risks associated with lack of access to markets; risks associated with availability of and our ability to obtain both tailings from Codelco’s Division El Teniente’s current production and historic tailings from tailings deposit; the availability of and ability of the Company to obtain adequate funding on reasonable terms for expansions and acquisitions; mine plan estimates; risks posed by fluctuations in exchange rates and interest rates, as well as general economic conditions; risks associated with environmental compliance and changes in environmental legislation and regulation; risks associated with our dependence on third parties for the provision of critical services; risks associated with non-performance by contractual counterparties; risks associated with supply chain disruptions; title risks; social and political risks associated with operations in foreign countries; risks of changes in laws affecting our operations or their interpretation, including foreign exchange controls; and risks associated with tax reassessments and legal proceedings. Many of these risks and uncertainties apply to the Company and its operations and Codelco and its operations. Codelco’s ongoing mining operations provide a significant portion of the materials the Company processes and its resulting metals production. Therefore, these risks and uncertainties may also affect their operations and have a material effect on the Company.
Actual results and developments will likely differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements in this news release. Such statements are based on several assumptions which may prove to be incorrect, including, but not limited to, assumptions about:
- general business and economic conditions;
- interest and currency exchange rates;
- changes in commodity and power prices;
- acts of foreign governments and the outcome of legal proceedings;
- the supply and demand for, deliveries of, and the level and volatility of prices of copper, molybdenum and other commodities and products used in our operations;
- the ongoing supply of material for processing from Codelco’s current mining operations;
- the grade and projected recoveries of tailings processed by MVC;
- the ability of the Company to profitably extract and process material from the Cauquenes tailings deposit;
- the timing of the receipt of and retention of permits and other regulatory and governmental approvals;
- our costs of production and our production and productivity levels, as well as those of our competitors;
- changes in credit market conditions and conditions in financial markets generally;
- our ability to procure equipment and operating supplies in sufficient quantities and on a timely basis;
- the availability of qualified employees and contractors for our operations;
- our ability to attract and retain skilled staff;
- the satisfactory negotiation of collective agreements with unionized employees;
- the impact of changes in foreign exchange rates and capital repatriation on our costs and results;
- engineering and construction timetables and capital costs for our expansion projects;
- costs of closure of various operations;
- market competition;
- tax benefits and tax rates;
- the outcome of our copper concentrate sales and treatment and refining charge negotiations;
- the resolution of environmental and other proceedings or disputes;
- the future supply of reasonably priced power;
- rainfall in the vicinity of MVC continuing to trend towards normal levels;
- average recoveries for fresh tailings and Cauquenes tailings;
- our ability to obtain, comply with and renew permits and licenses in a timely manner; and
- our ongoing relations with our employees and entities we do business with.
Future production levels and cost estimates assume no adverse mining or other events significantly affecting budgeted production levels.
Although the Company believes that these assumptions were reasonable when made, because these assumptions are inherently subject to significant uncertainties and contingencies which are difficult or impossible to predict and are beyond the Company’s control, the Company cannot assure that it will achieve or accomplish the expectations, beliefs or projections described in the forward-looking statements.
The preceding list of important factors and assumptions is not exhaustive. Other events or circumstances could cause our results to differ materially from those estimated, projected, and expressed in or implied by our forward-looking statements. You should also consider the matters discussed under Risk Factors in the Company`s Annual Information Form. The forward-looking statements contained herein speak only as of the date of this news release. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements or the preceding list of factors, whether due to new information or future events.