Global Atomic Corporation (“Global Atomic” or the “Company”), (TSX: GLO, OTCQX: GLATF, FRANKFURT: G12) announced today its operating and financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022.
Dasa Uranium Project
- In September, the Company completed a 15,000-meter drill program at its Dasa Project that began in Q4 2021, which due to its success was expanded to include another 1,000 meters.
- Excavation and ground support for the Box-Cut ramp access to the mine was completed, setting the stage for underground development.
- Site work in preparation for portal and ramp development included construction of employee housing, warehouse and maintenance facilities, surface buildings for mining activities, power and water servicing of the site.
- Mining equipment and supplies continue to arrive at the Dasa site.
- Dasa has built up a work force of approximately 150 individuals, drawn mostly from the local population including both trained mine workers with years of experience in Niger and untrained labourers who will be enrolled in training and apprenticeship programs.
- On July 21, 2022, the Company announced it had engaged Enernet Global Inc. (“Enernet”) to design an optimized hybrid power plant for the Dasa Project to include solar power and battery storage. The plant will be built, owned, operated and maintained by Enernet and displace close to 40% of carbon emissions.
- On August 11, 2022, the Company’s Niger mining subsidiary, Société Minière de DASA S.A. (“SOMIDA”) was incorporated.
- On August 26, 2022, the Company engaged Development Consultants Private Limited (“DCPL”) to complete basic and detailed engineering services required for the construction of the Dasa processing plant.
- On September 19, 2022, the Company engaged Lycopodium Minerals Canada Ltd. (“Lycopodium”) to provide project management, procurement, project controls and project execution plan services. Lycopodium’s engagement may be extended to include construction services to build Dasa’s ore processing plant.
- Underground development began on November 5th, 2022, with the Opening Blast Ceremony. Mining will be conducted by a skilled Nigerien workforce under the guidance of Canadian contractor CMAC-Thyssen who has provided training on new equipment now being utilized at the Dasa Mine.
- Subsequent to the end of Q3 on October 5, 2022, the Company announced that it had entered into a Letter of Intent with a second major North American utility to purchase 2.4 million pounds U3O8.
Turkish Zinc Joint Venture
- The Turkish Zinc Joint Venture (“BST” or the “Turkish JV”) plant processed 60,633 tonnes EAFD for first nine months of 2022 (53,012 in 2021).
- The Turkish JV applied IAS 29, Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies in Q3. A $7.3 million gain which is the difference between the closing balance of shareholders’ equity of the Turkish JV at December 31, 2021 and the opening balance at January 1, 2022 is recognized in equity.
- Year-to-date 2022, the Turkish JV EBITDA was $8.6 million ($18.2 million in 2021) and for Q3 2022 was a negative $3.5 million ($6.4 million in 2021).
- The negative EBITDA in Q3 results from a combination of the following:
- Zinc price adjustments on provisional sales prices reduced EBITDA by $3.0 million
- The application of Q3 exchange rates to Q1/Q2 results as required under IAS 29 reduced EBITDA by $1.5 million
- A negative EBITDA adjustment of $0.9 million resulted from the 9 months catch up adjustment due to inflation accounting under IAS 29
- For the first nine months of 2022 and 2021, the zinc contained in concentrate shipments was 29.2 and 28.1 million pounds, respectively.
- In the first nine months of 2022 the average zinc price was US$1.65/lb (US$1.31/lb in 2021).
- The amount drawn on the revolving credit facility of the Turkish JV was US$6.8 million at the end of Q3 2022 (Global Atomic share – US$3.3 million).
- The cash balance of the Turkish JV was US$2.9 million as at September 30, 2022.
- In the first nine months of 2022, the Company received $8.9 million through the exercise of outstanding warrants issued in March 2021.
- Global Atomic continues to receive monthly management fees and sales commissions from the Turkish JV ($209,000 in Q3 2022 compared to $224,000 in Q3 2021).
- Cash balance at September 30, 2022, was $18.2 million.
President & CEO of Global Atomic, Stephen Roman, stated, “On November 5th I witnessed remarkable support for the Dasa Mine at our Opening Blast Ceremony, with a turnout of over 800 local Nigeriens, including the Prime Minister of Niger, the Minister of Mines and many national and regional dignitaries. The blast opened the Portal and commences the underground development of the Dasa Mine. This is a significant milestone as it marks the beginning of the realization of all the exploration, drilling, permitting, feasibility process, planning and construction that the Global Atomic team has been working on diligently since we entered Niger in 2005.”
“Relating to our Turkish Joint Venture operations, we chose Q3 to make the IFRS mandated adjustment on the perceived hyper-inflationary environment in Turkey. This resulted in a significant increase in our opening equity value of the operation and subsequent losses in Q3 2022 due to the application of this standard. We also incurred losses in Q3 from smelter price adjustments due to the decrease in the zinc price over the quarter. Shareholders should focus on the 9-month results which show a positive EBITDA margin despite the Turkish steel industry, which has not recovered from the effects of Covid and reduced demand. This is an essential service provided to the Turkish steel mills and will continue to be so for decades into the future.”
Dasa Uranium Project
- The Company is proceeding with an update to its Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”). Following the MRE update, an updated Mine Plan will be developed, and Dasa’s reserve statement updated. It is expected that this will result in an increase in ore reserves and lower operating costs.
- Discussions with international electric utilities continue with the expectation that additional long-term contracts for the sale of yellowcake will be concluded over the next months.
- The project finance banking syndicate is completing its due diligence and a term sheet is expected to be signed prior to year end, with final documentation to follow.
- The Company is continuing discussions with Orano Mining relating to the direct shipment of development ore to the Somaïr processing facility located 105 kilometers north of the Dasa Project.
- Permeability and porosity test results to determine in-situ leaching potential for the Isakanan Project on the Adrar Emoles 4 permit are expected in Q4 2022, delayed due to backlogs at the Canadian labs.
Turkish Zinc Joint Venture
- The Turkish zinc plant continues to operate at target operating efficiencies.
- The business outlook continues to be positive amid inflationary pressures and lower zinc prices
The following table summarizes comparative results of operations of the Company:
The consolidated financial statements reflect the equity method of accounting for Global Atomic’s interest in the Turkish JV. The Company’s share of net earnings and net assets are disclosed in the notes to the financial statements. See also the commentary above under “Turkish Zinc EAFD Operations.”
Revenues include management fees and sales commissions received from the joint venture. These are based on joint venture revenues generated and zinc concentrate tonnes sold.
General and administration costs at the corporate level include general office and management expenses, stock option awards, depreciation, costs related to maintaining a public listing, professional fees, audit, legal, accounting, tax and consultants’ costs, insurance, travel and other miscellaneous office expenses. The variance between the years is largely due to higher stock option grants in Q1 2022 and increased staffing that took place in 2022.
Net gain (loss) attributable to Non-controlling interest represents 20% ownership of the Republic of Niger in SOMIDA. $42 thousand loss is related to the exchange loss of SOMIDA incurred during the period between the incorporation and the reporting date.
Other Comprehensive Income (loss) represents unrealized exchange gains (losses) that arise from the translation of the balance sheets from functional currencies (US$, West African CFA Franc and TRY) to the Canadian dollar presentation currency.
Following completion of the Preliminary Economic Assessment of the Dasa Project in May 2020, the Company initiated various trade-off studies which were followed up by a Feasibility Study for the first 12 years (“Phase 1”). The Phase 1 Feasibility Study was reported with an effective date of November 15, 2021 and the full Feasibility Study was filed on SEDAR on December 30, 2021.
Laboratory test work was undertaken in three independent pilot plant campaigns with results from each campaign guiding and directing the subsequent campaign. Variations in quantity and type of process recovery consumables were used to determine the optimum recovery of uranium for the most practical equipment selection with the lowest reasonable consumable cost. The final selection of the process followed the principles established in uranium operations in the region which have proven to be successful over the past 50 years.
Mineral Reserves for the Dasa Project were estimated based on the geology and Mineral Reserve Estimate (“MRE”) previously reported by CSA Global. An engineering design and costing exercise was undertaken to a feasibility study level of accuracy which supports the MRE.
Detailed engineering designs were undertaken for the underground mine workings, mining surface infrastructure, process plant, tailing storage facility, and support services infrastructure. These designs enabled detailed pricing enquiries to be issued to the market in the development of a comprehensive capital cost and sustaining cost estimate. Labour and consumable material requirements were developed and costed in the open markets to establish an expected operating cost over Phase 1. Sourcing of electrical power and water was determined to meet the mine requirements, and these too, contributed to the operational cost estimate. The capital cost estimate, sustaining cost estimate and operational cost estimates for the various elements of the mine and process plant were combined into an economic analysis of the project to determine a financial model for the mine.
The Feasibility Study was completed at a detailed level of design and engineering to enable an appropriate level of confidence to be applied to the economic viability and outcomes of the project. As a result of the Feasibility Study, the following Mineral Reserves were estimated.
The Phase 1 Feasibility Study identified five zones of mineral reserves as shown in the following schematic.
The mining inventory included in the Feasibility Study included a minor amount of Inferred Resources shown as follows:
The Zones vary in grades, with Zone 1 (Flank Zone) contributing the largest portion of the U3O8 tonnes:
There are significant Inferred Resources located above Zone 3 and between Zones 2 and 3. The Company completed a 15,000-meter drill program at its Dasa Project that began in Q4 2021, which due to its success was expanded to include another 1,000 meters. Drill results indicate that Zones 2, 2a and 2b now represent a contiguous zone that joins up with Zone 3 and is estimated to be approximately three times larger than initially defined (see the longitudinal depiction below). Recent drilling has also targeted the extension of Zone 4.
On the strength of results from the overall drill program, Global Atomic is updating the Dasa Mineral Resource Estimate (“MRE”) and will in turn update its Mine Plan which is expected to result in larger and contiguous mining Zones, reduced underground development work between the Zones, lower operating costs and an increase in mineable reserves. The updated MRE is expected to be completed in Q1 2023.
Mining Permits and Niger Mining Company
In September 2020, GAFC applied for the Mining Permit on the Dasa deposit and the Mining Permit was subsequently awarded on December 23, 2020. The Company also completed its Environmental Impact Statement and on January 28, 2021 received its Environmental Certificate of Compliance.
Under Niger’s Mining Code, a Niger mining company must be incorporated to carry out mining activities. Société Minière de Dasa S.A. (“SOMIDA”) was incorporated on August 11, 2022. The Republic of Niger received its 10% free carried interest in the shares of SOMIDA and elected to subscribe for an additional 10%, resulting in a total ownership of 20% of the shares. Under the terms of the Company’s Mining Agreement, the Republic of Niger commits to fund its proportionate share of capital costs and operating deficits for the additional 10% interest. The Republic of Niger has no further option to increase its ownership.
Dasa Mine Development and Construction
The Company has entered into an agreement with CMAC-Thyssen International Inc. (“CMAC”), a contract miner based in Val d’Or, Quebec to provide contract mining services in the development of the Dasa underground mine over the first 24 months of mining. Following the March 2020 closure of the Cominak underground uranium mine in Arlit, there is a pool of skilled miners available to the Company in Niger. CMAC is providing training, development and oversight of the Niger workforce with the new equipment that will be used at site. Initial mining will comprise only ramp development during the first 12 months, followed by access and level development. Equipment and mining consumables have been procured and shipped to site.
The Box-Cut has been completed and is prepared for development of the portal. The First Blast of the portal took place on November 5, 2022, marking the start of the underground development. Surface infrastructure to support CMAC has been completed.
The Company engaged DCPL and Lycopodium to commence the EPCM process to build Dasa’s ore processing plant. DCPL is focusing on the Basic and Detailed Engineering required for the final design of the Dasa Process Plant. Lycopodium is providing project management, procurement, project controls and a project execution plan services. Lycopodium’s engagement may be extended to include construction management in view of their extensive West African experience.
Global Atomic has received a Letter of Interest (“LOI”) from Export Development Canada (“EDC”) confirming their interest in working with the Company on a project financing of the Dasa Project. EDC expects to partner with other export credit agencies, commercial banks and/or financial institutions as co-lenders and to have a lead role in the structuring of the debt facility. EDC has indicated a potential participation, at typical bank rates for a greenfield mining project finance, of up to US$75 million to form the cornerstone of what is expected to be a syndicate of banks. On June 15, 2022, Global Atomic also received additional Letters of Intent such that a syndicate has been formed to finance the Dasa Project. The syndicate is comprised of North American financial institutions, including EDC.
The names of all members of the syndicate will be announced following further due diligence and board approvals by the financial institutions involved. The Company expects to enter into term sheets with the syndicate before year end, followed by documentation in Q1 2023.
Turkish Zinc JV EAFD Operations
The Company’s Turkish EAFD business operates through a joint venture with Befesa Zinc S.A.U. (“Befesa”), an industry leading Spanish company that operates several Waelz kilns throughout Europe, North America and Asia. On October 27, 2010, Global Atomic and Befesa established a joint venture, known as Befesa Silvermet Turkey, S.L. (“BST” or the “Turkish JV”) to operate an existing plant and develop the EAFD recycling business in Turkey. BST is held 51% by Befesa and 49% by Global Atomic. A Shareholders Agreement governs the relationship between the parties. Under the terms of the Shareholders Agreement, management fees and sales commissions are distributed pro rata to Befesa and Global Atomic. Net income earned each year in Turkey, less funds needed to fund operations, must be distributed to the partners annually, following the BST annual meeting, which is usually held in the second quarter of the following year.
BST owns and operates an EAFD processing plant in Iskenderun, Turkey. The plant processes EAFD containing 20% to 30% zinc that is obtained from electric arc steel mills, and produces a zinc concentrate grading 65% to 70% zinc that is then sold to zinc smelters.
Global Atomic holds a 49% interest in the Turkish JV and, as such, the investment is accounted for using the equity basis of accounting. Under this basis of accounting, the Company’s share of BST’s earnings is shown as a single line in its Consolidated Statements of Income (Loss).
The following table summarizes comparative operational metrics of the Iskenderun facility.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2022, world steel production decreased by 4.3% over the comparable 2021 period. The impact by region was mixed. For the first nine months of 2022 compared to H1 2021: Chinese production decreased 3.4%; European Union production decreased 8.2%; North American production decreased 4.2%, and Turkish production decreased by 9.3%.
In October 2022, the World Steel Association released an update of its short-term outlook for demand, which projected 2.3% overall global demand contract in 2022 and a recovery of 1.0% in 2023. The impact of the Ukrainian conflict on global steel markets is uncertain, however as exports from Russia and Ukraine have historically accounted for 10% of global steel exports, it is likely a material percentage of this supply will be replaced by increased production in other countries.
The Ukrainian conflict, post-COVID demand increases, raw material shortages and global logistics challenges have in combination resulted in substantial inflationary pressures on all costs. Although strong zinc prices have largely offset the impact of inflation on dollar margins, the EBITDA margin percentage has declined in the current year.
In addition to the existing nine hyperinflationary economies including Venezuela and Argentina, the Turkish economy was deemed to be hyperinflationary after the International Monetary Fund World Economic Outlook (“IMF WEO”) that was published in April 2022 reported a 3-year cumulative rate of inflation of 74% and an annual rate of inflation of 36% as of December 2021. For 2022, the IMF WEO forecasts an annual rate of inflation of 52% (2023: 30%) and a 3-year cumulative rate of inflation of 138% (2023: 169%). The Turkish Statistical Institute (“TURKSTAT”) reported a 3-year and 12-month cumulative rate of inflation of 145% and 83%, respectively, as of September 30, 2022. Therefore, the Turkish economy is considered hyperinflationary, requiring the first-time application of IAS 29, Financial Reporting in Hyperinflationary Economies. IAS 29 requires the non-monetary assets and liabilities and income statements of countries with hyperinflationary economies to be restated to reflect the changes in the general purchasing power of their functional currency, thereby generating a profit or loss on the net monetary position which is recognized in net income as gain or loss on net monetary position. In addition, the financial statements of the subsidiaries in these countries are translated at the closing exchange rate of the reporting period concerned, in accordance with IAS 21, The Effects of Changes in Foreign Exchange Rates.
The comparative information is not restated, because it has already been presented in Canadian dollar (CAD). The gain of $7.3 million between the closing balance of shareholders’ equity of the Turkish JV at December 31, 2021 and the opening balance at January 1, 2022 is recognized in equity:
The following table summarizes comparative results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 and 2021 of the Turkish JV at 100%.
The Company elected to present the catch-up adjustment fully in the consolidated statements of income (loss) for the three months ended September 30, 2022 and the impact of inflation on income and expenses recognized in the previous quarters are not restated. In addition, income and expenses are translated at the closing exchange rate of the reporting period whereas they were translated at the year-to-date average exchange rate in the Q1 and Q2 condensed interim financial statements.
Zinc concentrates are sold to smelters in US dollars (“US$”). Because the Turkish Lira (“TRY”) is the functional currency of the Turkish operations, sales are converted to TRY at the date of the sale when funds are subsequently received. When the TRY depreciated in both Q3 2021 and Q3 2022, exchange gains were recognized on those sales. In calculating EBITDA, these exchange changes related to the functional and reporting currencies are treated as operations related (i.e., above the EBITDA subtotal). Sales are recorded upon receipt at the smelter, which means that recorded sales in any given month generally represent the concentrate from EAFD processed in the prior month. Sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2022 were produced in December 2021 through August 2022.
As disclosed in the above table, EBITDA of negative $3.5 million for the three months ended September, 2022, is the difference between the EBITDA for the nine months ended September 30, 2022 amounting to $8.7 million and EBITDA for the six months ended June 30, 2022 amounting to $12.2 million and includes the cumulative impact of final price adjustments to prior period sales, devaluation of TRY and using closing exchange rate rather than year-to date average and hyperinflation adjustment. Excluding the negative impact of hyperinflation accounting ($2.4 million) and the negative impact of provisional pricing ($3.0 million), EBITDA from operations in Q3 2022 would be $2.1 million.
Sales are initially recognized with provisional pricing upon receipt at the smelter but the final price is set at a later time in accordance with the contracts signed with the smelters. Since average zinc price of 1.78 US$/lb in Q2 2022 reduced to 1.48 US$/lb in Q3, a $3.0 million loss from the Q2 2022 shipments’ final price adjustment is recorded in Q3 2022 and reduces EBITDA.
By applying IAS 29, income and expenses of the nine months ended September 30, 2022 are translated at the closing exchange rate from TRY to CAD which is 15% higher than the CAD/TRY rate used in the six months period ended June 30, 2022. The financial impact of using a higher CAD/TRY rate for the first six months of 2022 EBITDA is a loss of $1.5 million, included in Q3 EBITDA.
Since the Company elected to present the hyperinflation catch-up adjustment fully in the consolidated statements of income (loss) for the three months ended September 30, 2022, $0.9 million loss from the nine periods ended September 30, 2022 is included in Q3 2022 EBITDA.
The cash balance of the Turkish JV was US$2.9 million at September 30, 2022.
Total debt was reduced to US$6.8 million in Q3 2022 from US$12.45 million at the end of 2021. The local Turkish revolving credit facility balance was US$6.8 million at September 30, 2022 (December 31, 2021 – US$7.8 million) and bears interest at 11%. The Turkish revolving credit facility can be rolled forward. In Q2 2022, the Befesa loan related to the 2019 plant expansion, was fully paid (December 31, 2021 – US$4.65 million). Now that the Befesa loan has been repaid, Turkish JV dividend payments will resume.
The foreign exchange loss is an unrealized loss, and largely relates to the devaluation of the TRY relative to the US$ from 13.36 on December 31, 2021, to 18.52 at September 30, 2022. In economic terms, all revenues are received in US$ and these will be used to pay down the US denominated debt, so no exchange gains/losses will be realized in US$ terms. The accounting exchange losses relate to the debt and cash balances are shown below EBITDA as a financing related cost.
The scientific and technical disclosures in this news release have been reviewed and approved by Ronald S. Halas, P.Eng. who is a “qualified person” under National Instrument 43-101 – Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Properties.
About Global Atomic
Global Atomic Corporation (www.globalatomiccorp.com) is a publicly listed company that provides a unique combination of high-grade uranium mine development and cash-flowing zinc concentrate production.
The Company’s Uranium Division includes four deposits with the flagship project being the large, high-grade Dasa Project, discovered in 2010 by Global Atomic geologists through grassroots field exploration. With the issuance of the Dasa Mining Permit and an Environmental Compliance Certificate by the Republic of Niger, the Dasa Project is fully permitted for commercial production. The Phase 1 Feasibility Study for Dasa representing approximately 20% of the known resource was filed in December 2021 and estimates Yellowcake production to commence by the end of 2024. Mine excavation began in Q1 2022.
Global Atomic’s Base Metals Division holds a 49% interest in the Befesa Silvermet Turkey, S.L. (BST) Joint Venture, which operates a modern zinc production plant, located in Iskenderun, Turkey. The plant recovers zinc from Electric Arc Furnace Dust (EAFD) to produce a high-grade zinc oxide concentrate which is sold to zinc smelters around the world. The Company’s joint venture partner, Befesa Zinc S.A.U. (Befesa) holds a 51% interest in and is the operator of the BST Joint Venture. Befesa is a market leader in EAFD recycling, with approximately 50% of the European EAFD market and facilities located throughout Europe, Asia and the United States of America.
Stephen G. Roman
Chairman, President and CEO
Tel: +1 (416) 368-3949
VP Investor Relations
Tel: +1 (416) 558-3858
The information in this release may contain forward-looking information under applicable securities laws. Forward-looking information includes, but is not limited to, statements with respect to completion of any financings; Global Atomics’ development potential and timetable of its operations, development and exploration assets; Global Atomics’ ability to raise additional funds necessary; the future price of uranium; the estimation of mineral reserves and resources; conclusions of economic evaluation; the realization of mineral reserve estimates; the timing and amount of estimated future production, development and exploration; cost of future activities; capital and operating expenditures; success of exploration activities; mining or processing issues; currency exchange rates; government regulation of mining operations; and environmental and permitting risks. Generally, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as “plans”, “is expected”, “estimates”, variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions, events or results “could”, “would”, “might”, “will be taken”, “will begin”, “will include”, “are expected”, “occur” or “be achieved”. All information contained in this news release, other than statements of current or historical fact, is forward-looking information. Statements of forward-looking information are subject to known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, level of activity, performance or achievements of Global Atomic to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, including but not limited to those risks described in the annual information form of Global Atomic and in its public documents filed on SEDAR from time to time.
Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date such statements are made. Although management of Global Atomic has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to be materially different from those forward-looking statements, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate, as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance upon forward-looking statements. Global Atomic does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, except in accordance with applicable securities law. Readers should also review the risks and uncertainties sections of Global Atomics’ annual and interim MD&As.
The Toronto Stock Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy and accuracy of this news release.
Source: Global Atomic