Amerigo Contemplating Special Dividend, Buybacks After Strong Q1-2024 Operational Results

Highlights

  • Q1 copper production of 16.0 million pounds beat guidance by 2%
  • Production fully rebounded from 2023 flooding
  • Q1-2024 normalized cash cost of $1.89 per pound, beating guidance by 9%
  • At current copper prices Amerigo is contemplating special dividends and a restarted buyback program.

Amerigo Resources Ltd. (TSX: ARG) (OTCQX: ARREF) announced production results for the quarter ended March 31, 2024 (“Q1-2024”) from Minera Valle Central (“MVC”), the Company’s 100% owned operation located near Rancagua, Chile. Dollar amounts in this news release are in U.S. dollars (“USD”) unless indicated otherwise.

We are pleased to report a strong first quarter. Copper production of 16 million pounds was 2% over guidance, molybdenum production of 324,00 pounds was 4% over guidance, and our normalized cash cost of $1.89 per pound was 9% below our guided annual cash cost. These results reflect our commitment to operational excellence and cost management, which are key drivers of our financial performance.
The current combination of excellent operational results from MVC and strengthening copper prices are similar to 2021. Then, the substantial operational cash flow generated by the Company positioned us to refinance and reduce our bank debt and roll out Amerigo’s very successful Capital Return Strategy. Today, three years later, Amerigo’s considerably stronger balance sheet will allow these anticipated cash flows to be further focused on our Capital Return Strategy. With a secure quarterly dividend currently yielding over 8%, we are excited about distributing significant additional capital to investors as copper prices continue to rise on favorable supply/demand dynamics.Aurora Davidson, President & CEO, Amerigo Resources Ltd.

In Q1-2024, MVC produced 16.0 million pounds (“M lbs”) of copper, with 53% of production coming from fresh tailings. MVC’s plant availability was 97.7%.

Amerigo’s 2024 copper production guidance is 62.4 M lbs. The annual plant maintenance shutdown at MVC and El Teniente will occur in May 2024. Amerigo’s annual guidance factors in lower production from the shutdown.

Q1-2024 molybdenum production was 0.3 M lbs, in line with Amerigo’s annual molybdenum production guidance of 1.2 M lbs.

Amerigo’s cash cost in Q1-2024 was $1.96 per pound (“/lb”), including $0.07/lb paid to MVC’s supervisors as the signing bonus of a 3-year collective labor agreement. Normalized cash cost excluding the effect of the signing bonus, was $1.89/lb, 9% lower than our 2024 cash cost guidance of $2.08/lb.

Amerigo’s quarterly copper price in Q1-2024 was $3.95/lb, compared to $3.82/lb in Q4-2023. The Company’s molybdenum price was $19.67/lb, up from $18.34/lb in Q4-2023.

On March 31, 2024, Amerigo’s cash position was $13.8 million ($2.4 million lower than December 31, 2023), and restricted cash was $6.2 million ($0.1 million lower than December 31, 2023). Outstanding bank debt was $19.5 million, down from $21.3 million on December 31, 2023.

On March 31, 2024, MVC’s water reserves were over 10.0 million cubic meters, sufficient to maintain projected Cauquenes processing rates for at least eighteen months, the Company’s maximum forecast horizon.

Quarterly Operational Review

Capital Return Strategy

Since implementing its Capital Return Strategy (the “Strategy”) in September 2021, Amerigo has paid cumulative quarterly dividends of Cdn$0.29 per share ($36.9 million) and used $23.7 million to purchase and cancel 20.1 million of its common shares, a 11.1% reduction in the number of common shares outstanding at the inception of the Strategy.

Amerigo’s Cdn$0.03 per share quarterly dividend is the cornerstone of the strategy and is secure at current copper prices, subject to Amerigo continuing to attain its 2024 production guidance.

As copper prices continue as expected to strengthen in 2024, the Company will be positioned to deploy the other components of the Strategy: share buybacks and/or performance dividends.

Release of Q1-2024 financial results on May 8, 2024

Amerigo will release Q1-2024 financial results at the market open on Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Investor conference call on Thursday, May 9, 2024

Amerigo’s quarterly investor conference call will be held on Thursday, May 9, 2024, at 11:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time/2:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time.

Participants can join by visiting https://emportal.ink/3T2LOH1 and entering their name and phone number. The conference system will then call the participants and place them instantly into the call.

Alternatively, participants can dial directly to be entered into the call by an Operator. Dial 1-888-664-6392 (TollFree North America) and state they wish to participate in the Amerigo Resources Q1-2024 Earnings Call.

About Amerigo and MVC

Amerigo 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; Listing: ARG: TSX.

The opinions provided in this article are those of the author and do not constitute investment advice. Readers should assume that the author and/or employees of Capital 10X hold positions in the company or companies mentioned in the article. For more information, please see our Content Disclaimer.

Duane Hope is a Partner at Capital 10X, he brings over 15 years of communications and research experience to the firm. His research and writing have appeared in publications for North American, European and Asian audiences.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here