Certain information contained in this announcement would have been deemed inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation (EU) No 596/2014 until the release of this announcement.
11 April 2019
Strategic Minerals plc
("Strategic Minerals" or the "Company")
March Quarter 2019 Magnetite Sales and Cash Balances
Strategic Minerals plc (AIM: SML; USOTC: SMCDY), a producing mineral company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials, is pleased to provide the following update on ore sales at the Company's Cobre magnetite operations in New Mexico, USA for the three months to 31 March 2019 and to inform the market of cash available at the end of the quarter.
· US$206,000 of cash generated by Cobre in the quarter
· Routine client plant maintenance resulted in reduced quarterly sales
· Drone survey indicates stockpile inventory of 711,000 tons
· Major Cobre client currently overdue with latest payment
· Group cash balance of US$1.240m as at 31 March 2019
· US$535,000 re-invested into the Company's projects during the quarter
Sales update: Cobre magnetite tailings operations
Sales volumes at Cobre, while robust, were impacted by clients undertaking plant maintenance during the US winter and continue to reflect the suspension of minimum monthly sales associated with a major client's contract, as announced on 7 June 2018.
Sales comparisons on quarterly and annual periods to 31 March 2019, along with associated volume details, are shown in the table below:
3 months to March
12 months to March
3 months to March
12 months to March
During the quarter, a drone survey of the existing stockpile was undertaken and indicated that 711,000 short wet tons of material remains. This ensures that, subject to the mine owner's expected continuation of arrangements, operations at Cobre will continue for a minimum of 7 years. A report on the drone survey can be found on our website under the presentations tab at the following address: www.strategicminerals.net/investors/presentations.html.
Net cash flow from Cobre was $0.206m and was impacted by the major client not having made the $0.375m payment due in the quarter. While discussions with the major client have occurred and continue to be held on extending the suspension of minimum sales of 4,000 tons in lieu of a quarterly cash payment, no variation has been signed off and the original, long term contract has been reactivated.
Demand for payment from the major client has been issued and Southern Minerals Group, LLC ("SMG") will be looking to enforce its rights under its contractual arrangements. SML will keep the market informed as matters develop.
Financials and Operations
At 31 March 2019, the Group's non-restricted cash balance was US$1.240m (31 December 2018: US$1.840m). During the quarter, profits and cash were again generated by SMG's Cobre operations and were re-invested into the Company's multi-mineral project portfolio, including works conducted by Leigh Creek Copper Mine Pty Ltd (Leigh Creek), Cornwall Resources Limited (Redmoor) and Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd (Hanns Camp and Mount Weld), totalling approximately US$535,000, as well as covering corporate overheads of approximately US$271,000.
Commenting, John Peters, Managing Director of Strategic Minerals, said:
"The March quarter saw the Company utilising its cash reserves to activate both Leigh Creek's heap leach programme and progress regulatory approval processes for Paltridge North/Rosmann East.
"Sales volumes at Cobre were impacted in the March quarter as a result of two of SMG's clients suspending their operations for between 4 and 6 weeks, for routine maintenance purposes. It is anticipated that the reduced sales volumes will largely impact sales in the March quarter and that the June quarter will see a resumption of normal sales volumes to these clients.
"The June quarter is expected to be another pivotal time for the Company, with the expected resumption of copper production from the existing heaps at Leigh Creek and the acquisition of the other half of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project. Additionally, this period should see further progress in bringing Leigh Creek into production and providing SML with a second on-going income stream, in line with its 2020 target."
Strategic Minerals Plc is an AIM-quoted, operating minerals company actively developing projects prospective for battery materials. It has an operation in the United States of America and development projects in the UK and Australia. The Company is focused on utilising its operating cash flows, along with capital raisings, to develop high quality projects aimed at supplying the metals and minerals being sought in the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.
In September 2011, Strategic Minerals acquired the distribution rights to the Cobre magnetite tailings dam project in New Mexico, USA, a cash-generating asset, which it brought into production in 2012 and which continues to provide a revenue stream for the Company. This operating revenue stream is utilised to cover company overheads and invest in development projects orientated to supplying the burgeoning electric vehicle/battery market.
In January 2016, the portfolio was expanded with the acquisition of shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd, which holds tenements in Western Australia and the Northern Territory that are prospective for cobalt, gold, nickel sulphides and rare earth elements. The Company has since acquired all shares in Central Australian Rare Earths Pty Ltd. In September 2018, the Company entered contracts for the sale of certain CARE tenements that have been identified as gold targets.
In May 2016, the Company entered into an agreement with New Age Exploration Limited and, in February 2017, acquired 50% of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project in Cornwall, UK. The bulk of the funds from the Company's investment were utilised to complete a drilling programme that year. The drilling programme resulted in a significant upgrade of the resource. The 12-hole 2018 drilling programme has now been completed and the resource update that resulted was announced in February 2019. In March 2019, the Company entered into arrangements to acquire the balance of the Redmoor Tin/Tungsten project in Cornwall, UK.
In March 2018, the Company completed the acquisition of the Leigh Creek Copper Mine situated in the copper rich belt of South Australia and is currently working to bring this into operation in 2019.
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