VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pretium Resources Inc. (NYSE:PVG) (Pretivm or the Company) announces operating and financial results for the first quarter 2021 (see and tables below).
The first quarter of 2021 proved to be very challenging, but operations continued throughout the COVID-19 outbreak that occurred at Brucejack in February. This was only possible because of the tremendous dedication of our team, the support of our contractors and the contributions of our healthcare provider Iridia Medical, our First Nation community partners and BC Northern Health, said Jacques Perron, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pretivm. Despite this challenge, we delivered yet another profitable quarter with $142.4 million in revenue and generated $51.0 million in free cash flow which allowed us to significantly reduce our debt with a discretionary payment of $38.0 million subsequent to the quarter end. We remain on track to achieve our annual guidance and the team is fully committed to executing on our plans for the remainder of 2021.
Our resource expansion drill program is only in the initial stages and has already intercepted high-grade mineralization immediately adjacent to existing underground infrastructure. Follow-up drilling is currently underway targeting the potential expansion of the Valley of the Kings deposit to the north and at depth. We experienced some delays with the program as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak in February, but we have adjusted our plans to increase the pace for the remainder of the year to achieve our objectives. Drilling results are expected to be released throughout the remainder of the year and we continue to be very excited by the geological potential at Brucejack.
First Quarter 2021 Highlights
- Our primary commitment remains the health and safety of our employees, contractors and neighbouring communities in northwest British Columbia (BC). We worked 692,213 hours with 1 lost-time injury during the first quarter 2021.
- Operations maintained through the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Mining, milling and other development and exploration activities continued at reduced rates throughout the outbreak declared from February 10 to March 21, 2021. Additional protocols and procedures have been implemented to protect the health and safety of our workforce and local communities, including site-wide testing and the launch of a vaccination program.
- Production was consistent with 85,795 ounces of gold produced in the first quarter 2021, compared to 82,888 ounces in the first quarter 2020. The increase in production was due to higher mill head grade of 8.2 grams per tonne gold slightly offset by lower throughput.
- Increased revenues of $142.4 million from the sale of 81,707 ounces of gold. Revenue in the first quarter 2021 represents a 12.5% increase over the first quarter 2020 driven primarily by a 12.4% increase in the average realized price(1) of gold to $1,804 per ounce and higher gold sales.
- Another profitable quarter with $0.14 net earnings per share and $0.14 adjusted earnings per share(1,2). Net earnings were $26.6 million and adjusted earnings(1,2) were $25.4 million for the quarter, a substantial increase compared to the first quarter 2020, primarily due to higher revenues and lower deferred income taxes, partially offset by higher cost of sales. We revised our definition of adjusted earnings(2) in the first quarter of 2021 and as a result, adjusted earnings per share has been reduced by $0.08 per share in the quarter when compared to our prior definition.
- Increased revenues drove EBITDA(1) of $68.1 million and free cash flow(1) generation of $51.0 million. EBITDA in the first quarter 2021 increased 21.0% compared to the first quarter 2020. Free cash flow in the first quarter 2021 was 21.9% higher than the first quarter 2020.
- AISC(1) of $1,005 per ounce of gold sold below annual guidance. AISC in the first quarter 2021 was consistent with AISC of $996 per ounce of gold sold in the first quarter 2020. As a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, we incurred reduced levels of sustaining capital expenditures relative to expectations, which lowered AISC for the quarter below our guidance range.
- We remain on track to achieve our 2021 operational and financial guidance, including production guidance between 325,000 and 365,000 ounces at an AISC between $1,060 and $1,190 per ounce of gold sold. Due to the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on operational activities, combined with performance issues with several stopes during and following the outbreak, we currently expect gold production and grade in the second quarter of the year to be below our guidance range on an annualized basis.
- Cash and cash equivalents increased to $208.9 million as at March 31, 2021 from $174.8 million as at December 31, 2020. As at March 31, 2021, we have available liquidity of $369.3 million including cash and cash equivalents and the undrawn revolving portion of our senior secured loan facility (the Loan Facility). Subsequent to the quarter end, we voluntarily repaid the remaining amount of $38.0 million on the revolving portion of our Loan Facility.
- Underground drilling confirms potential for Mineral Resource expansion at Brucejack. Initial drill results intercepted high-grade gold mineralization and demonstrate the potential to extend the Valley of the Kings deposit directly to the north and at depth adjacent to existing infrastructure. Follow-up drill programs are currently under way and results are expected in the third quarter 2021.
1 Refer to the section at the end of this news release.