SRL Provides Update on Q1 2012 Activities (Sierra Leone)
Sierra Rutile Limited has announced an update on its Q1 2012 activities.
Q1 2012 rutile production was on budget at 20,693 tonnes, 47% above the 13,977 tonnes produced in Q1 2011, continuing the positive production trend achieved in the second half of 2011.
Full-year production guidance remains at 80,000 tonnes. Q1 ilmenite production was on budget at 4,843 tonnes, 54% above the 3,155 tonnes produced in Q1 2011.
As at 5 April 2012, SRL has $35.1 million of cash on hand, having spent a further $10.4 million on capital expenditures and expenditures associated with the new dredge (D3) study during the quarter. This significant cash generation has occurred from a starting point of $10.7 million cash on hand at 31 December 2011.
As a result of the ongoing positive production performance and exceptionally strong sales environment, SRL does not anticipate that it will require any external sources of financing to complete the dry mining or Mogbwemotailings (D2) expansions. Whether any financing of the new large-scale dredge project (D3) is required will be considered once the feasibility study is completed.
Mineral resource expansion
In March 2012, the Board approved a budget of $4.0 million for additional mineral resource exploration. Currently less than 20% of SRL’s license area has been systematically explored, meaning SRL believes there exists high potential for resource expansion. The money will be spent on drilling rigs, staffing and laboratory equipment and will enable the company to explore at 2.5 times its current rate. The first results of the expanded exploration program are expected to be available during the fourth quarter.
Commenting on SRL’s Q1 performance, John Sisay, SRL Chief Executive said, “I am pleased to be able to report that good progress is being made on all our growth projects, supported by a solid performance from current operations. We are also very pleased that Q2 pricing to date is substantially above prices achieved in Q1. We are utilizing the current strength in our markets and strong cash generating capabilities to continue our long-term investments in growth from our world-class asset base.”
Dredging Today Staff, April 11, 2012; Image: sierra-rutile