PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Metals miner Independence Group (IGO) has reported a strong finish to its 2021 financial year, with the Nova base metals project, in Western Australia, delivering above expectations.
During the quarter ended June, Nova produced 7 887 t of nickel and 3 538 t of copper, taking full-year production to 29 002 t and 13 022 t of nickel and copper respectively.
Nickel production from Nova for the full-year ended June was slightly above the guidance of between 27 000 t and 29 000 t, while copper production was higher than the guidance of between 11 000 t and 12 500 t.
Gold production from the Tropicana mine also reached target, with the mine producing 63 248 oz in the fourth quarter, and 364 751 oz in the full year, in line with the guidance of between 348 333 oz and 394 167 oz.
“Performance from Nova has continued to impress, with full year production ahead of guidance for all metals, while cash costs finished FY21 at the lower end of the updated guidance range, which we adjusted lower during the March 2021 quarter. This has resulted in record free cash flow generation from Nova of A$393-million for the year – an outstanding result,” said IGO MD and CEO Peter Bradford.
Sales revenue quarter-on-quarter increased by 44%, to A$266.2-million, with full year sales reaching A$912.1-million. Underlying earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, amortisation also increased by 50% in the quarter, to A$139.5-million, and reached A$474.6-million in the full year.
Profit after tax for the fourth quarter was up 981% quarter-on-quarter, to A$452.6-million, reaching A$548.7-million in the full year.
During the Quarter, IGO completed the divestment of its share in the Tropicana project to fellow listed Regis Resources, and only production and financial results for Tropicana up to the end of May are included in results.
At the end of June, IGO also completed a transaction to form a corporate joint venture (JV) between IGO and Tianqi over its Australian lithium assets. Current operations managed by the JV include a 51% stake in the Greenbushes lithium mine, which is a JV with global lithium company Albemarle Corporation who hold 49%, and the 100% owned and operated Kwinana lithium hydroxide refinery. Completion payments of $1.3-billion to Tianqi for the lithium transaction were made on June 30.
“The repositioning of our portfolio was completed during the June 2021 quarter, with both the Tropicana divestment and lithium transaction with Tianqi reaching financial close. Completing these transactions has been a key workstream for the business over recent months, and we are excited about the opportunity the new lithium joint venture presents to IGO and our shareholders,” said Bradford.
“With the two key transactions now complete and a strong June 2021 quarter performance, IGO is well positioned with a cash position of A$528-million and no debt. This balance sheet strength will enable us to fund future growth through exploration and disciplined mergers and acquisitions, while continuing to deliver cash returns to shareholders.”