Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Comments on Today's News Release

When was the last time Century has produced production numbers, including ounces produced from Lamaque and San Juan in less than 45 days? Never! This news had to be put out today – 6 days after the end of the quarter and one day before the record date for voting of shares. Are the numbers real or fictitious?
Considering what has gone on in the last month can anyone be surprised by the published numbers? IMO either they were going to be understated or production was going to be deliberately slowed down to create the low numbers, and so there was no surprise.

With mill throughput of 944 tpd in January and 788 tpd in February at Lamaque, a total of 85,448 tonnes milled in Q1 works out to a nice round number of exactly 1100 tpd in March. Mine production averaged 1168 tpd in February, up from 971 tpd in January, so you would expect a number greater than 1200 tpd in March. Major told us in early February that the second egress to the Bedard Dyke had just been completed which would enable greater production from BD. We also would have had a stockpile of ore from February due to the crusher breakdown. So why did we only mill 1100 tpd in February? Why not 1500 tpd?

The next issue is the grade of 2.2 g/tonne. On the Feb 4 CC, DM said the low grades in Q4 of 2010 were because they were processing a lot of development ore from the non-resource area, but said that “we are already seeing the grades picking up in the New Year”. He went onto say that that at the BD “the second level is coming in at a much better grade”. He estimated that the average grade for the year would be 3.75 g/tonne. So to me, the grade reported for Q1 of 2.2 g/tonne is certainly suspect.

Now let’s look at San Juan where in Q1 the number of ounces declined by 13% from Q1 2010. This is what DM said about SJ on the Feb.4 CC. “We had a very positive start down there and we’re already ahead of budget”. The budget for this year was 24,000 oz. – an average of 6,000 oz/qtr. You’d expect a number of somewhere between 5,000 oz and 5,500 oz in Q1 based on the Feb 4 enthusiasm.

The March 8 news release said that all capital projects, including the refurbishment of the third mill have been placed on hold. On the Feb 4 Call, DM told us that refurbishment of the third mill would enable the mill to process 2,000 tpd and above. This would be completed in April leading to mill throughput of 2,000 tpd beginning in May. The March 8 NR put that on hold because of dire financial conditions. In today’s NR we are told that the third mill refurbishment has been completed and it is only April 6. That means the mill can process 2,000 tpd right now.

The March 8 NR said that operations of the contractor developing the North Wall would be delayed until May “at the earliest”; today we are told that he has already been re-mobilized.

Remember the March 8 NR came out after the bridge loan agreements were in place.

The tone of today’s news release was softened considerably to make the so-called bad news more credible and believable. I think it accomplished that goal by the relatively heavy selling compared to the previous days’ volumes. Haywood didn’t read last night’s message as they dumped over 500,000 shares today, so the news had its intended effect.

I expect we’ll see a dramatic improvement in Q2 numbers. There is still no mention of lowered guidance for 2011. I think the Q2 numbers will include significant unreported production from Q1 which will make the Q2 numbers appear better than they really are.

One should really go back and listen again to the February 4 conference call.


bigjohn37 said...

Well put, Carib. What is most disgusting though is that Daniel Major was awarded the CEO position in the "new" company (I guess, based on his performance of being a "credible liar"!). No costly global search next time!

Cocoablini said...

well, today is last day to be a registered shareholder. I'm still long and awaiting my chance to pull the lever on Finiskiy and the Bored