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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Brigus Gold Reports Strong Q1 Financial Results (bwire)




HALIFAX, Nova Scotia (Business Wire) -- Brigus Gold Corp. (“Brigus” or the “Company”)(NYSE Amex: BRD; TSX: BRD) announces results for the first quarter of 2012 (“Q1-12”).

This press release should be read in conjunction with the Company's condensed consolidated interim financial statements for the quarter ended March 31, 2012 and the December 31, 2011 consolidated financial statements and associated Management's Discussion and Analysis (“MD&A”), which are available from the Company's website (www.brigusgold.com) and on SEDAR (www.sedar.com). All dollar amounts are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise specified. All financial results are presented in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”).

Key milestones include producing 16,922 ounces of gold - hitting the top end of our production guidance and achieving average grades of 5.28 grams per tonne (gpt) from the underground mine, up 95% from Q4-11.
First Quarter 2012 Financial Highlights
  • Gold sales improved by 60% to 16,033 ounces compared to 10,003 in Q1-11.
  • Operating margin increased 191% to $753 per ounce in Q1-12 from $259 per ounce in the prior year.
  • Cash flow from operations, before working capital adjustments, was $9.9 million during Q1-12, compared to $0.7 million in Q1-11.
  • Cash costs decreased to $858 per ounce, a 22% reduction from Q1-11 and 11% lower than Q1-12 guidance of $962.
  • Capital expenditures at Black Fox totaled $17.8 million, consisting of $8.1 million for underground development, $4.3 million for property, plant and equipment, $2.3 million related to capital stripping and $3.1 million related to exploration expenditures.
  • Raised $15.0 million from the issuance of common shares.
  • Raised $15.0 million from the sale leaseback of certain Black Fox Mill assets.
  • Subsequent to the quarter, Brigus divested of the Calais Notes for proceeds of $6.0 million to be received in the second and third quarters.
 
CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL RESULTS
   
 
 
 
($ thousands, except per share and ounces)
       
For the three months ended
         
March 31, 2012
   
March 31, 2011
Revenue from the sale of gold         $ 25,823     $ 13,570
Direct operating costs         $ 14,032     $ 10,972
Income (loss) from operations         $ 3,480     $ (3,376)
Net income and comprehensive income         $ 5,520     $ 4,261
Basic earnings per share         $ 0.03     $ 0.02
Cash flows from operations, before working capital adjustments         $ 9,942     $ 741
Gold sales in ounces           16,033       10,003
Total cash cost per ounce of gold sold         $ 858     $ 1,097



 
First Quarter 2012 Operational Highlights
  • Gold production increased by 93% to 16,922 compared to 8,773 in Q1-11.
  • Underground production steadily improved during the quarter with average grade increased by 95% to 5.28 gpt compared to 2.71 gpt in Q4-11.
  • The open pit mined 220,580 ore tonnes at an average grade of 2.29 gpt, a 60% increase over the ore tonnes mined in Q4-11.
  • The Black Fox Mill processed 180,965 tonnes of ore, at a grade of 3.04 gpt and a recovery of 95.7%.
  • Continued positive drilling results from Grey Fox including 5.95 gpt over 56.7 m and 26.83 gpt over 15.50 m during the quarter.
 
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
   

       
For the three months ended






March 31     March 31






2012     2011
Metal Sales








Gold (ounces)





16,033



10,003
Silver (ounces)





858



436
Average realized gold price – including Sandstorm




$ 1,611


$ 1,356
Average realized gold price – excluding Sandstorm




$ 1,687


$ 1,380
Production









Open pit ore tonnes mined





220,580



29,809
Open pit operating waste tonnes mined





1,327,362



91,067
Open pit capital stripping tonnes mined





753,360



1,890,451
Open pit overburden tonnes mined




          293,680  
Total open pit tonnes mined





2,301,302



2,305,007
Total underground ore tonnes mined




  35,147         8,816  
Total tonnes mined




  2,336,449         2,313,823  









 
Tonnes milled





180,965



179,229
Tonnes milled per day





1,989



1,991
Head grade of ore (gpt)





3.04



1.67
Recovery (%)





96 %


91 %
Gold ounces produced





16,922



8,773









 
Total cash costs ($/ounce):




$ 858


$ 1,097
Operating Margin ($/ounce):




$ 753


$ 259

 
“We are pleased with Brigus' progress so far this year,” said Wade Dawe, President and CEO of Brigus. “Gold production continues to increase and costs are lower than expected. Current production levels put us on track to meet our guidance for Q2 and we are confident the mine will reach a steady state production level of approximately 25,000 ounces per quarter by year-end”.
OUTLOOK
Operations at the Black Fox Mine continue to ramp up and will deliver increased gold production quarter over quarter in 2012. The Company is guiding between 77,000 and 85,000 ounces for 2012.

     
     
     
2012       Low       High       Actual
Q1       15,500       17,000       16,922
Q2       18,000       21,000        
Q3       21,500       23,000        
Q4       22,000       24,000        
Total       77,000       85,000        












 
High-grade tonnage from the underground continues to steadily increase and is expected to reach 800 tpd in the third quarter by adding 6-8 mining stopes to the 27 stopes that are now in place. The additional stopes will provide greater flexibility and enable Brigus to actively mine 10-12 stopes at all times.
Cash costs are expected to be $775 - $825 per ounce for the year, declining to approximately $700 per ounce by the end of 2012.
The mill optimization program commenced in July 2011 and is expected to be completed and in service during the second half of 2012. The optimization is expected to increase mill processing capacity by 5-10% through optimization of existing equipment, equipment additions and reduction of production losses.
Planning is underway to develop the Grey Fox Mine located on the southeast portion of the Black Fox Complex. The initial resource estimate from this area, announced in December 2011, added more than 50 percent to the gold resource at the Black Fox Complex. Brigus plans to expand the resource and convert Inferred ounces to Indicated ounces through systematic in‐fill drilling. An updated resource estimate will be released later in the year. Simultaneously, the Company recently commenced a preliminary economic assessment (“PEA”) and expects to release results during the third quarter.
The Black Fox underground ore body is open for expansion with grades that trend higher at depth. The Company is driving an exploration drift from the deepest portion of the east ramp. Exploration drilling will commence in June with the objectives to increase reserve ounces and extend the mine life.
To date, the Company has explored approximately 25 percent of the Black Fox Complex. Significant upside potential remains on the property, which covers an area of approximately 18 square kilometres within the Timmins Mining District of Ontario.
FIRST QUARTER WEBCAST AND CONFERENCE CALL
A webcast and conference call will be held today, Tuesday, May 15 at 12 noon Atlantic time (11:00 a.m. Eastern time).
To attend by webcast please visit http://www.investorcalendar.com/IC/CEPage.asp?ID=168323.
To attend by phone, dial toll free 1-877-407-8133 (international 201-689-8040) at least 10 minutes prior to the start of the call. No pass code is required.
About Brigus Gold
Brigus is a growing gold producer committed to maximizing shareholder value through a strategy of efficient production, targeted exploration and select acquisitions. The Company operates the wholly owned Black Fox Mine and Mill in the Timmins Gold District of Ontario, Canada. The Black Fox Complex encompasses the Black Fox Mine and adjoining properties in the Township of Black River-Matheson, Ontario, Canada. Brigus is also advancing the Goldfields Project located near Uranium City, Saskatchewan, Canada, which hosts the Box and Athona gold deposits. In Mexico, Brigus has granted Cangold Limited the option to acquire a 75% interest in the Company's Ixhuatan Project located in the state of Chiapas. In the Dominican Republic, Brigus has signed an agreement to sell its remaining interests in three mineral exploration projects.
Cautionary Note to U.S. Investors Concerning Estimates of Mineral Resources
This news release uses the term mineral “resources”. The Company advises U.S. investors that while these terms are defined in and required by Canadian regulations, these terms are not defined terms under the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) Industry Guide 7 and are generally not permitted to be used in reports and registration statements filed with the SEC. The SEC generally only permits issuers to report mineralization that does not constitute SEC Industry Guide 7 compliant “reserves” as in-place tonnage and grade without reference to unit measures. U.S. investors are cautioned not to assume that any part or all of mineral deposits in these categories will ever be converted into reserves.
Cautionary and Forward-Looking Statements
Statements contained in this news release, which are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements that involve risk, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. All statements regarding the ability of the Company to achieve its production, total cash costs, steady state annual production and mining rate estimates; estimated average gold grades for the open pit and underground operations; increase in gold production; increase in profitability; exploration drill results and resource additions, are forward-looking statements and estimates that involve various risks and uncertainties. This forward-looking statements include, or may be based upon, estimates, forecasts, and statements as to management's expectations with respect to, among other things, the outcome of legal proceedings, the issue of permits, the size and quality of the Company's mineral resources, progress in development of mineral properties, future production and sales volumes, capital and mine production costs, demand and market outlook for metals, future metal prices and treatment and refining charges, and the financial results of the Company.
Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include environmental risks and other factors disclosed under the heading “Risk Factors” in Brigus' most recent Annual Information Form and Management Discussion and Analysis filed under the Company's name at www.sedar.com and annual report on Form 40F filed with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission at www.sec.gov as well as elsewhere in Brigus' documents filed from time to time with the Toronto Stock Exchange, the NYSE Amex Equities, the United States Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory authorities. All forward-looking statements included in this news release are based on information available to the Company on the date hereof. The Company assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable securities laws.

Brigus Gold Corp.
Jennifer Nicholson, CA, 902-442-7186
Executive Vice President
jnicholson@brigusgold.com
or
Katherine Burgess, 902-442-7184
Manager, Stakeholder Relations
kburgess@brigusgold.com
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