OceanaGold posts record first-quarter earnings

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Stronger Philippine operations and lower operating costs boosted OceanaGold Corp.’s net profit to $58.9 million in the first quarter of 2014.

The company sold 94,050 ounces of gold and 7,752 tons of copper in the period, it said.

OceanaGold is a Pacific Rim gold producer, listed on the Toronto, Australian and New Zealand stock exchanges, with development and exploration activities in New Zealand and the Philippines.

In a report, OceanaGold Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Mick Wilkes also said the company posted record quarterly revenues of $170.4 million and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization ( EBITDA) of $101.0 million.

“We had another strong quarter of production and financial results with record quarterly revenue, EBITDA and net earnings on the back of higher sales and lower operating costs. We continued to strengthen our balance sheet through the repayment of $20 million of debt and build-up of our treasury,” Wilkes said.

Wilkes attributed the strong performance to the Didipio operations in the Philippines, which reported record quarterly gold production of 30,480 ounces along with copper production of 6,479 tons.

From January to March 2014, the company made four shipments of copper-gold concentrates totaling 30,152 dry metric tons to markets in Asia.

The executive said that debottlenecking of the process plant to achieve the planned 3.5 million tons per annum (MTPA) throughput rate is advancing well and on schedule for completion by the end of the year. As at the end of the first quarter, the Didipio operation recorded over 10 million man-hours worked without any lost time injury.

“The Didipio process plant is well on track to increase throughput rates to 3.5 MTPA by the end of the year and will continue generating strong free cash flows,” he said.

For the remainder of the year, Wilkes said that OceanaGold will continue to further strengthen the balance sheet by repaying debt to enhance shareholder value and position the company for new value-added opportunities.

“We remain steadfast on the health and safety of our employees as demonstrated by the 10 million plus man hours worked without a lost time injury at Didipio and we will continue to work closely with all of our stakeholders to deliver positive results in a safe and sustainable manner,” he said.

In a related development, the OceanaGold received the support and official consent from the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to conduct exploration activities at the Mayag tenement in Northern Mindanao.

Wilkes said that this was a major milestone for the company as it demonstrated the successful completion of its free and prior informed consent process with the local indigenous groups and brings them closer to receiving exploration permits for its Mayag tenement.

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