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Aura Minerals Announces First Quarter 2012 Financial and Operating Results
Published : May 15, 2012
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VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - May 15, 2012) - Aura Minerals Inc. ("Aura Minerals" or the "Company") (News - Market indicators) today announced financial and operating results for the first quarter of 2012. All dollar amounts are expressed in US dollars unless otherwise specified.

First Quarter 2012 Financial and Operating Highlights:

  • Gold production in the first quarter of 2012 increased 10% to 37,587 ounces from 34,169 ounces in the first quarter of 2011;
  • On-site average cash cost1 per ounce of gold produced of $1,758 in the first quarter of 2012. High production costs were primarily a result of the structural failure of the crusher feed bin which resulted in the Sao Francisco Mine not having use of its primary crusher for 47 days, a $13.4 million production inventory write-down, as well as lower than normal production at San Andres due to the changeover of mine contractors. Production and cash costs and are comprised of the following:
  For the three months For the three months
  ended March 31, 2012 ended March 31, 2011
  Ounces Produced   Cash Costs1 Ounces Produced   Cash Costs1
             
San Andres Mine 13,386 $ 1,130 18,125 $ 626
Sao Francisco Mine 15,349   2,424 7,188   811
Sao Vicente Mine 8,852   1,553 8,856   1,464
Total / Average 37,587 $ 1,758 34,169 $ 882
1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.
  • Copper production at the Aranzazu Mine for the first quarter of 2012 of 3,345,500 pounds, which is a 255% increase over the first quarter of 2011 and 17% higher than the fourth quarter of 2011;
  • Revenue of $75.6 million in the first quarter of 2012, an increase of 41% over the first quarter of 2011, and comprising net gold sales of $61.6 million (2011 - $51.6 million) from 37,226 ounces (2011 - 37,512 ounces) and $14.0 million (2011 - $2.2 million) from the shipment of 5,396 dry metric tonnes ("DMT") (2011 - 873 DMT) of copper concentrate;
  • On-site average cash cost1 per pound of payable copper produced, net of gold and silver credits, of $2.46 for the first quarter of 2012 compared to $4.87 for the first quarter of 2011. Although first quarter cash cost1 per pound of payable copper produced are only marginally higher than the fourth quarter cash cost1 of $2.32, the positive effect of increasing production levels during the first quarter was offset by the adverse effect of elevated arsenic levels in the Aranzazu Mine's concentrate production, which are included in cash costs1;
  • Loss for the first quarter of 2012 of $18.7 million or $0.08 per share compared to a profit of $4.4 million or $0.02 per share for the first quarter of 2011;
  • Ended the first quarter of 2012 with $13.9 million in cash and cash equivalents and $5 million available under the $25 million revolving credit facility ("Credit Facility"), which was drawn down in April 2012. On May 10, 2012, the Company amended the Credit Facility, extending the maturity to June 30, 2014 and increasing the credit available to $45 million;
  • In connection with the implementation of the new mine plans at the Brazilian Mines, the Company established a gold hedge program covering a total of 80,000 ounces of gold between April 1, 2012 and June 30, 2014, using zero-cost put/call collars with a floor price of $1,700 per ounce of gold and an average ceiling price of $1,812 per ounce of gold;
  • Continued to progress and optimize the bankable feasibility study for the Serrote Project, which is scheduled for completion in the third quarter of 2012; and
  • Continued work on the Preliminary Economic Assessment for the Aranzazu expansion project, which is scheduled for completion by the end of the second quarter of 2012.

"As mentioned in our 2011 year-end operational results, the first quarter was negatively affected first, by an extended primary crusher outage at Sao Francisco and second, by higher than expected levels of arsenic at the Aranzazu Mine," stated Jim Bannantine, President and CEO of Aura Minerals. "The elevated arsenic levels have resulted in additional charges and penalties being assessed by the off-taker of concentrate in Mexico. Our technical team is working hard to understand the extent of the arsenic within the Aranzazu Mine's ore body, as well as reviewing blending, processing and other options to effectively lower future arsenic levels in the concentrate production. The Sao Francisco crusher was repaired and replaced at the end of March and run rate for April is back on plan and within previously announced guidance. The outage in the first quarter reduced production, and caused significant temporary costs in equipment rentals, maintenance and cyanide consumption, which, in addition to some significant inventory adjustments, caused cash costs per ounce to be extraordinarily high. San Andres production was lower than plan during the first quarter, through a change in mining contractors, but since this was completed in March, is also back on plan and within expected guidance for the year. Sao Vicente is performing basically on plan although costs were higher than plan in the first quarter due to higher than expected mine mobile equipment repair costs. The operation is still expected to achieve its guidance for the year based on reducing waste-to-ore ratios, particularly later in 2012, slightly higher grades, and reduced mining and haulage costs associated with considerably less waste. Accordingly, based on our current run rate and forecast through year end, management reaffirms its gold production and cost guidance for the year.

Largely because of the non-recurring outage at Sao Francisco, the Company's cash flow was negative for the quarter and the Company's cash balance decreased by approximately $8 million from December 31st. We still expect to achieve positive free cash flow for the year as a result of operations at our current run rate. In addition, since the end of the quarter, we have closed on the expansion of our credit facility by adding another $20 million to the facility and extending its maturity. Finally, the gold hedges placed in the form of costless collars in late-February, when gold reached its high for the year, are significantly in the money, in essence increasing our operating margins or adding to liquidity at the financial level. We have also applied for refunds of certain Brazilian tax credits which were previously only recoverable to the extent of federal taxes payable. New tax legislation in Brazil now allows refunds of these tax credits, which, at the 2011 year end, amounted to approximately $11 million. We expect to receive a portion of this amount back in the second quarter, with the balance refundable subject to audit by the Brazilian tax authorities.

Going forward, the business plan remains unchanged. We expect to realize significant cash flows from the Brazilian mines over the next three years to be reinvested in the expansion of Aranzazu Mine, in accordance with the Aranzazu PEA to be released at the end of the second quarter. San Andres is expected to continue to provide the necessary cash flow for our operations and sustaining capex. We hope to be able to grow significantly through project financing the Serrote de Laje copper project in Brazil, subject to the bankable feasibility study for that project being released in the third quarter."

Financial Review

The following financial information does not constitute management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A") as contemplated by relevant securities rules and should be read in conjunction with the Company's unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three months ended March 31, 2012, which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under the Company's profile or on the Company's website.

The following table presents a summary of financial information for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011:

(In thousands of dollars, Three months ended Three months ended
except per share amounts) March 31, 2012 March 31, 2011
    (Unaudited)   (Unaudited)
         
Revenue $ 75,596 $ 53,789
Cost of goods sold   (86,128)   (51,519)
         
Gross Margin   (10,532)   2,270
         
Expenses        
  Exploration expenses   (3,865)   (3,893)
  General and administrative expenses   (6,268)   (6,969)
  Finance costs   (872)   (1,289)
  Interest and other (expense) income   (19)   165
  Gain on restructuring of contractual obligations   -   17,009
  Other gains   4,913   829
(Loss) profit before income taxes   (16,643)   8,122
  Income tax expense, net   (2,040)   (3,759)
(Loss) profit for the period $ (18,683) $ 4,363
         
Basic and diluted (loss) profit per share   (0.08)   0.02

1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.

Gold ounces sold for the respective periods, the average realized prices per ounce and net sales are detailed in the following table. The average realized prices per ounce for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 compare to the average market prices (London PM Fix) of $1,690 and $1,385, respectively.

  Three months ended Three months ended
  March 31, 2012 March 31, 2011
         
San Andes Mine, (ounces)   12,678   18,464
Sao Francisco Mine, (ounces)   15,492   9,082
Sao Vicente Mine, (ounces)   9,056   9,966
Total ounces sold during Quarter   37,226   37,512
         
Realized average gold price per ounce in Quarter $ 1,691 $ 1,388
         
Gold sales revenues (in '000's) net of local sales taxes $ 61,618 $ 51,566
Copper concentrate sales (in '000's)   13,978   2,223
Total net sales (in '000's) $ 75,596 $ 53,789

Copper concentrate sales in the table below comprised shipments for the three months ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 of 5,396 DMT and 873 DMT, respectively. Payable metal from copper concentrate for the three months ended March 31, 2012 includes 2,901,141 pounds of copper, 1,838 ounces of gold and 40,344 ounces of silver and payable metal while for the three months ended March 31, 2011 includes 580,127 pounds of copper, 463 ounces of gold and 13,261 ounces of silver Accordingly, copper concentrate sales are comprised as follows:

  Three months ended Three months ended
(In thousands of dollars) March 31, 2012 March 31, 2011
         
Copper revenue, net of treatment and refining charges $ 8,922 $ 2,205
Gold by-product revenue   3,154   640
Silver by-product revenue   1,352   422
Price adjustments recorded   550   (57)
Total revenue $ 13,978 $ 3,210
Less: pre-production revenue applied against property, plant and   -   (987)
Total revenue recorded in the statement of income $ 13,978 $ 2,223

For the quarters ended March 31, 2012 and 2011, the Company recorded cost of goods sold of $86.1 million and $51.5 million, respectively, including non-cash depletion and amortization charges of $12.8 million and $11.7 million for the three month periods then ended. Gross margin for the first quarters of 2012 and 2011 were $(10.5) million and $2.3 million, respectively.

Other expense items for the first quarter of 2012 include general and administrative expenses of $6.3 million and exploration expenses of $3.9 million compared to first quarter 2011 general and administration expenses of $7.0 million and exploration expenses of $3.9 million. General and administrative costs for the quarters ended March 31, 2012 and 2011 included share-based compensation expense of $2.0 million and $1.9 million, respectively. In the first quarter of 2012, management has taken steps to reduce general and administrative expenses in its corporate offices in Canada and Brazil by up to 20% and expects to see the effect of these initiatives starting in the second quarter of 2012.

For the first quarter of 2012, the Company recorded finance costs of $0.9 million and other net gains of $4.9 million compared to finance costs of $1.3 million and other net gains of $0.8 million in the first quarter of 2011. Loss before income taxes for the first quarter of 2012 was $16.6 million compared to a profit before taxes of $8.1 million for the first quarter of 2011, which included a $17.0 million gain on the restructuring of certain contractual obligations.

For the first quarter of 2012 and 2011, the Company recorded a net loss of $18.7 million or $0.08 per share and a net income of $4.3 million or $0.02 per share, respectively.

Liquidity and Capital Resources

As at March 31, 2012, the Company's working capital was $76.3 million, including cash and cash equivalents of $13.9 million. In addition, the Company had $5 million available under its Credit Facility, which it drew down subsequent to quarter end. On May 10, 2012, the Company entered into an amended credit facility (the "Amended Credit Facility") pursuant to which a second bank was added as a lender to the Company. Under the Amended Credit Facility, the maturity was extended from June 30, 2013 to June 30, 2014. The revolving credit available to the Company has been increased from $25 million to $45 million, but will be reduced by $3.75 million per quarter from June 30, 2013 to March 31, 2014. All other terms and conditions remain unchanged from the Credit Facility, except for the interest margin which has increased from 2.75% over LIBOR to 3.25% over LIBOR, the arrangement fee which has increased to 1.75% from 1.5%, and the commitment fee on undrawn funds which has increased from 1.0% to 1.5% per annum.

During the quarter ended March 31, 2012, working capital decreased by $7.1 million which is primarily attributable to the lower production levels at the Company's gold operations and higher costs at the Sao Francisco Mine during the quarter. Included in working capital is $14.4 million of PIS/COFINS tax credits in Brazil, which until late 2011, could only be recovered by the Company to the extent it had federal income taxes or payroll taxes payable. Recent legislative changes in Brazil have resulted in these tax credits being refundable, subject to certain conditions. Accordingly, the Company has filed for refunds of such tax credits for amounts paid to December 31, 2011, and expects that a portion of such amounts could be refunded within the second quarter of 2012, with the balance refundable subject to audit by the Brazilian federal tax authorities.

Operational and Project Review

San Andres Mine

The table below sets out selected operating information for the San Andres Mine for the first quarter 2012 and 2011:

San Andres Mine        
Operating Information   Q1 2012   Q1 2011
         
Ore mined (tonnes)   1,088,600   1,313,100
Waste mined (tonnes)   672,900   286,300
Total mined (tonnes)   1,761,500   1,599,400
         
Waste to ore ratio   0.62   0.22
         
Ore plant feed (tonnes)   1,066,100   1,317,000
Grade (g/tonne)   0.68   0.79
         
Production (ounces)   13,386   18,125
Sales (ounces)   12,678   18,464
         
Average cash cost per ounce of gold produced1 $ 1,130 $ 626
1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.

Operations continue to be affected by the processing of lower-recovery mixed ore having a higher component of clay alteration. This has resulted in lower ore movement from the mine, and downtime associated with the processing of wet ore and cleaning of chutes, as well as, poor contractor performance. The Company has taken several mitigating steps to improve production, including replacing the primary crusher wobbler during the first quarter of 2012 with a vibrating grizzly screen ahead of the jaw crusher to improve plant operating time, throughput and efficiency. Starting in February 2012, a new mine contractor with a proven track record, took over the mining operations with the aim of improving mining operation reliability and productivity and safety. The new contractor has a fleet of 40 tonne articulated trucks that can safely operate in wet weather conditions to ensure productivity goals can be achieved. Both the changeover of contractors and the vibrating grizzly installation had the effect of temporarily reducing production and increasing unit costs in the first quarter of 2012.

Gold production at the San Andres Mine in the three month period ended March 31, 2012 was 13,386 ounces of gold, down 26% from the 18,125 ounces produced in the first quarter of 2011 and is primarily attributed to the reduction of ounces stacked which is a result of fewer ore tonnes fed through the plant and reduced ore grades.

Operating cash costs1 of $1,130 per ounce of gold produced in the first quarter of 2012 were 81% higher than operating cost of $626 per ounce in the first quarter of 2011. Increased cash costs1 over the first quarter 2011 are primarily a result of significantly higher strip ratios and lower ounces of gold produced.

1 See a cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.

Sao Francisco Mine

The table below sets out selected operating information for the Sao Francisco Mine for the first quarter 2012 and 2011:

Sao Francisco Mine        
Operating Information   Q1 2012   Q1 2011
         
Ore mined (tonnes)   817,600   65,900
Waste mined (tonnes)   3,921,500   5,279,700
Total mined (tonnes)   4,739,100   5,345,600
         
Waste to ore ratio2   4.80   80.12
         
Ore plant feed (tonnes)   1,070,200   26,900
Grade (g/tonne)   0.63   0.38
         
Production (ounces)   15,349   7,188
Sales (ounces)   15,492   9,082
         
Average cash cost per ounce of gold produced1 $ 2,424 $ 811
1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.
2 Includes deferred stripping waste.

First quarter 2011 results in the table above are not comparable to the first quarter 2012, as the 2011 period was impacted by the dedicated waste stripping program which was undertaken from early December 2010 through early April 2011. During this period, crushing and processing operations were suspended, as the Company focused solely on waste stripping and upgrades to the crushing and gravity circuits. Total waste material moved as part of the stripping program in the first quarter of 2011 was approximately 5.3 million tonnes and all 7,188 ounces of gold production during the quarter was the result of gold leached during the stripping campaign and stacked prior to December 2010.

First quarter 2012 operations were impacted by the failure of the main shaft bearing in the jaw of the primary crusher in late-November, which was down for approximately two weeks before a rental crusher was installed. Although smaller than the primary crusher, the rental crusher made up a sizable percentage of the otherwise lost throughput, albeit at a higher cost. Significant preventive maintenance was completed in the tertiary crusher and gravity circuits during this period. First quarter 2012 was also impacted by a structural failure of the primary crusher feed bin in early February, which resulted in the operation not having use of the primary crusher for 47 days. The structural issues were rectified and the repaired crusher was re-installed in late-March 2012 and was placed back in operation. Despite the significantly reduced throughput rates as a result of the crusher-related issues, gold production in the first quarter of 2012 was 15,349 ounces, only 13% lower than the fourth quarter of 2011.

Average cash costs1 of gold produced during the quarter were $2,424 per ounce, which is not comparable to the $811 per ounce recorded in the first quarter of 2011 for the reasons described above. Cash costs1 per gold ounce produced in the first quarter 2012 are approximately 52% higher than the $1,591 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011 due to the failed jaw crusher bearing and the structural failure of the feed bin which significantly impacted the quarter's operations, as well as a production inventory write-down of $13.4 million. Year over year inflation and general cost escalation also impacted the 2012 quarter.

1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.

Sao Vicente Mine

The table below sets out selected operating information for the Sao Vicente Mine for the first quarter 2012 and 2011:

Sao Vicente Mine        
Operating Information   Q1 2012   Q1 2011
         
Ore mined (tonnes)   304,200   801,800
Waste mined (tonnes)   987,900   1,585,800
Total mined (tonnes)   1,292,100   2,387,600
         
Waste to ore ratio2   3.25   1.98
         
Ore plant feed (tonnes)   500,200   784,700
Grade (g/tonne)   0.69   0.47
         
Production (ounces)   8,852   8,856
Sales (ounces)   9,056   9,966
         
Average cash cost per ounce of gold produced1 $ 1,553 $ 1,464
1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.
2 Includes deferred stripping waste.

The Sao Vicente Mine produced 8,852 gold ounces in the first quarter of 2012, which is consistent with the first quarter of 2011 production of 8,856 gold ounces, but 33% below the fourth quarter of 2011, mainly a result of the mine plan sequence which mined lower grade ores due to access difficulties to the bottom of the pit during the rainy season and lower throughput rates in the crushing plant.

The average cash cost1 per ounce produced in the first quarter of 2012 was $1,553 which is 6% higher than the average cash cost of $1,464 per ounce in the first quarter of 2011. The increase in average cash cost1 per ounce produced over the comparable period in 2011 is due to a higher waste-to-ore ratio and general cost escalation, partially offset by higher process recovery rates. The increase in average cash cost per ounce produced over the fourth quarter of 2011 cash cost1 of $1,015 per ounce is due to a considerably higher waste-to-ore ratio, slightly lower recoveries, 33% fewer ounces produced and higher than expected mine mobile equipment repair costs. The mine plan calls for consistent grades for the balance of 2012, but a decreasing waste-to-ore ratio, which is expected to lead to lower costs, particularly in the fourth quarter.

1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.

Aranzazu Mine

The table below sets out selected operating information for the Aranzazu Mine for the first quarter 2012 and 2011:

Aranzazu Mine        
Operating Information   Q1 2012   Q1 2011
         
Ore mined (tonnes)   233,900   105,600
Ore milled (tonnes)   192,600   126,100
         
Copper grade (%)   1.01%   0.74%
Gold grade (g/tonne)   0.55   0.30
Silver grade (g/tonne)   11.16   15.78
Copper recovery1   77.6%   46.2%
Gold recovery   70.1%   50.7%
Silver recovery   67.7%   49.1%
         
Concentrate production:        
  Copper concentrate produced (dry metric tonnes ("DMT"))   6,183   1,728
  Copper contained in concentrate (%)   24.5%   24.8%
  Gold contained in concentrate (g/DMT)   11.5   12.4
  Silver contained in concentrate (g/DMT)   251.2   538.8
  Copper contained in concentrate (pounds)   3,345,500   942,900
  Estimated payable copper produced (pounds)   3,175,600   892,700
  Estimated payable gold produced (ounces)   2,087   601
  Estimated payable silver produced (ounces)   43,892   27,023
         
         
Average cash cost per payable pound of copper produced,net of gold and silver credits 2,3 $ 2.46 $ 4.87
1 Recoveries based on a mixture of sulphide and oxide ores, not primary sulphide ores.
2 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.
3 For post commissioning period, starting February 1, 2011.

First quarter 2011 results in the table above are not comparable to the first quarter 2012, as the operation experienced several operational and maintenance issues during and following declaration of commercial production. Production during 2011 was also impacted by the mining of a higher than planned proportion of oxidized ore from the open-pits and previously stockpiled ores which reduced mill recoveries.

During the first quarter of 2012, underground mining continued to be ramped up with the mining of ore from the high grade BW and AA Zones. Improvements in the mine continue with better equipment availability through the hiring of an experienced Maintenance Manager. Additionally, improvements in power and water supply, which affected the fourth quarter of 2011, were rectified and enabled higher first quarter mill throughput to be achieved. Nonetheless, the operation experienced a one week outage of the tertiary crusher during the quarter, leading to lost production for those seven days and consequent effect on quarterly production and costs.

The average head grades of the ore processed during the first quarter of 2012 were, with the exception of silver grades, considerably higher than the first quarter of 2011, and consistent with grades mined and processed in the fourth quarter of 2011. First quarter 2012 recoveries increased for all payable metals, particularly silver and gold, from the prior quarter, and were also substantially higher than recoveries in early 2011. These increases were due to a reduced oxide component in the ore, higher head grades, and stable operating conditions in the process plant. This trend is expected to continue. As a result, the Aranzazu Mine continued its ramp up to design production levels with 6,183 DMT of copper concentrate produced in the first quarter of 2012, containing 3,345,500 pounds of copper (3,175,600 pounds of payable copper). As compared with the fourth quarter of 2011, concentrate tonnes produced increased by 21% and metal content increased by 17%, primarily the result of improved mill throughput and recoveries.

During the quarter ended March 31, 2012, the Aranzazu Mine experienced higher than expected levels of arsenic in its concentrate production. These levels were outside contract specification and resulted in significantly higher treatment and refining charges and penalties from the Company's off-take customer, commencing with deliveries in March 2012. The Company is currently improving the understanding of the extent of the arsenic in its ore body through increasing the data base used to generate the initial arsenic block model and expects to have further, more reliable information by the end of the second quarter 2012. Blending of the ore feed to the plant based on mine operational assays from the various mining zones is ongoing on a daily basis. The Company is also working with external consultants to review alternatives to effectively lower future arsenic levels in the plant. Prior to the current quarter and from the Company's acquisition of the Aranzazu Mine, concentrate shipments have been within the arsenic specification.

Cash costs1 per payable pound of copper for the first quarter 2012 were $2.46 compared to $4.87 per payable pound of copper for the first quarter 2011. Cash costs1 per payable pound of copper have steadily decreased quarter by quarter as production continues to increase, recoveries improve and the Aranzazu Mine moves towards design levels for throughput and concentrate production. However, cash costs1 increased from the fourth quarter 2011 cash costs1 of $2.32 per payable pound of copper due to additional charges incurred on the out-of-specification concentrate shipments. The impact on the current quarter's cash costs1 of the additional charges resulting from of the elevated arsenic levels, which were first applied to concentrate shipments in March 2012, was $0.25 per payable pound of copper. The impact on the March 2012 monthly costs was $1.08 per payable pound of copper.

The Company continues evaluating increased production levels at the Aranzazu Mine, expanding mill throughput levels up to 5,000 tpd, based on low cost bulk mining scenario such as long-hole open stoping. The completion of the Aranzazu preliminary economic assessment study (the "Aranzazu PEA"), is scheduled in the second quarter of 2012.

Outlook and Strategy

Aura Minerals' future profitability, operating cash flows and financial position will be closely related to the prevailing prices of gold and copper. Key factors influencing the price of gold and copper include the supply of and demand for these commodities, the relative strength of currencies (particularly the U.S dollar) and macroeconomic factors such as current and future expectations for inflation and interest rates. Management believes that the short-to-medium term economic environment is likely to remain supportive for gold and copper prices with continued volatility in both.

Other key factors influencing profitability and operating cash flows are production levels - impacted by grades, ore quantities, labour, plant and equipment availabilities, and process recoveries - and production and processing costs - which are impacted by production levels, prices and usage of key consumables, labour, inflation, and exchange rates.

Aura Minerals' full year 2012 gold production and average cash cost1 guidance per mine, is as follows:

Gold Mines - Production Estimates
San Andres Mine $1,000 - $1,100 60,000 - 65,000 oz
Sao Francisco Mine $1,500 - $1,700* 70,000 - 80,000 oz
Sao Vicente Mine $1,100 - $1,200 35,000 - 40,000 oz
Total $1,250 to $1,400 165,000-185,000 oz
* Full year 2012 cost estimate includes first quarter impact of failure in primary jaw crusher, the structural failure of primary crusher feed bin, and the write-down to net realizable value of production inventory at the Sao Francisco Mine.

As previously guided, operating cash costs1 per ounce for the San Andres Mine in the first half of 2012 are expected to be slightly less than cash costs1 recorded in the fourth quarter of 2011, which were just over $1,100 per ounce of gold produced. This is based on similar expected ore grades, waste-to-ore ratios and process recoveries. In the second half of 2012, however, the mining of lower percentage of mixed ore and expected improvements in the productivity of the recently replaced mining contractor are expected to enhance overall mine performance and lower unit production costs.

The one-time impact of the failed jaw crusher bearing and the structural failure of the feed bin in the first quarter of 2012, combined with the mining and processing of lower grade ore material during the first and second quarters of 2012, will adversely impact production and increase cash costs1 in the first half of 2012. However, in accordance with the new business and mine plan for this operation, cash costs1 are expected to decrease in the second half of 2012 and further decrease in subsequent years as progressively higher grade ore material is mined as the pit deepens, and as strip ratios are reduced. As a result, the Company expects cash costs1 for the Sao Francisco Mine for the balance of 2012 to be decline steadily from first quarter levels, to between $1,200 - $1,400 per ounce by the fourth quarter of the year.

Operating cash costs1 per ounce for the Sao Vicente Mine for 2012, as shown in the above table are based on the new mine and business plan for the operation, which includes: a reduction in the strip ratio particularly in the fourth quarter; slight increases in the average mine grades; and reduced mining and haulage costs associated with considerably less waste. Accordingly, cash costs1 per ounce for the Sao Vicente Mine for the balance of 2012 are forecast to be lower than those experienced in the first quarter.

The Company's 2012 production guidance for the Aranzazu Mine is summarized in the table below:

Aranzazu Mine - Production Estimates  
Copper 13,000,000 - 14,000,000 lbs
Gold 7,500 - 8,500 oz
Silver 145,000 - 155,000 oz

Cash costs1 per payable pound of copper for the Aranzazu Mine are net of gold and silver by-product credits and include off-site treatment and refining charges and penalties. Accordingly, as the arsenic level in the Aranzazu Mine's concentrate shipments is a factor in determining the overall treatment and refining charges and penalties incurred, cash costs1 will be affected by the level of arsenic. As a result, the Company's previous 2012 cash costs1 guidance for the Aranzazu Mine of between $1.75 to $2.00 per pound of payable copper is being adjusted pending completion by the Company of the initial arsenic block model, which is expected by the end of the second quarter 2012.

Total capital expenditure guidance for the balance of 2012 is approximately $17 million, with $9 million relating to growth and sustaining projects and $8 million relating to the continued development at the Aranzazu Mine. Exploration expenses are forecast to be approximately $4 million for the balance of 2012, including costs associated with the completion of the Serrote Feasibility Study and the Aranzazu PEA as well as resource definition and expansion drilling at the San Andres Mine.

The Company's primary strategic focus for 2012 and beyond remains unchanged, and includes: improving operational efficiencies at the San Andres Mine to maximize cash flows and completing the in-fill drill program to expand resources and reserves; maintaining steady state operations at the Aranzazu Mine and completing the Aranzazu PEA to potentially increase mill throughput up to 5,000 tpd; executing the business plans for each of Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente to achieve, sustain and maximize cash flows from these operations, based on reduced strip ratios and improved ore grades; and completing and delivering a positive Serrote Feasibility Study, to enable the future development of the project.

1 See cautionary note regarding non-GAAP measures.

Conference Call

Aura Minerals' management will host a conference call and audio webcast for analysts and investors on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 9 a.m. (Eastern Time) to review the first quarter 2012 results. Participants may access the call by dialing 416-695-7848 or the toll-free access at 1-800-355-4959. Participants are encouraged to call in 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to avoid delays.

The call is being webcast and can be accessed at Aura Minerals' website at www.auraminerals.com. Those who wish to listen to a recording of the conference call at a later time may do so by dialing 905-694-9451 or 1-800-408-3053 (Passcode 7801002#). The conference call replay will be available from 2 p.m. eastern time on May 16, 2012, until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on May 30, 2012.

Non-GAAP Measures

This news release includes certain non-GAAP performance measures, in particular, the total cash costs of gold per ounce and cash costs per payable pound of copper. These non-GAAP measures do not have any standardized meaning within International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. The Company believes that this information is useful to management and certain investors in evaluating the Company's performance. The data presented is intended to provide additional information and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS. Cash costs are presented as they represent an industry standard method of comparing certain costs on a per unit basis. Total cash costs include on-site mining, processing and, administration costs, off-site refining and royalty charges, reduced by by-product credits, but exclude amortization, reclamation, and exploration costs, as well as capital expenditures. Total cash costs are divided by ounces to arrive at per ounce cash costs. Similarly, total cash costs of copper produced include the above costs, and are net of gold and silver by-products, but include offsite treatment and refining charges. Total cash costs of copper produced are divided by payable pounds of copper produced to arrive at per payable pound cash costs.

About Aura Minerals Inc.

Aura Minerals is a Canadian mid-tier gold and copper production company focused on the exploration, development and operation of gold and base metal projects in the Americas. The Company's producing assets include the San Andres gold mine in Honduras, the Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente gold mines in Brazil and the copper-gold-silver Aranzazu Mine in Mexico. The Company's core exploration asset is the feasibility-stage copper-gold-iron ore Serrote Project in Brazil.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statement:

This document contains "forward-looking information" within the meaning of Canadian securities legislation and "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the United States Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This information and these statements, referred to herein as "forward- looking statements" are made as of the date of this news release or as of the effective date of information described in this news release, as applicable. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect current estimates, predictions, expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, without limitation, statements with respect to: (i) the amount of mineral reserves and mineral resources; (ii) the amount of future production over any period; (iii) the amount of waste tonnes mined; (iv) the amount of mining and haulage costs; (v) cash costs; (vi) operating costs; (vii) strip ratios and mining rates; (viii) expected grades and ounces of metals and minerals; (ix) expected processing recoveries; (x) expected time frames; (xi) prices of metals and minerals; (xii) mine life; and (xiii) anticipated gold hedge programs. Any statements that express or involve discussions with respect to predictions, expectations, beliefs, plans, projections, objectives, assumptions or future events or performance (often, but not always, using words or phrases such as "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "projects", "estimates", "envisages", "assumes", "intends", "strategy", "goals", "objectives" or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions) are not statements of historical fact and may be forward-looking statements.

All forward-looking statements are based on the Company's or its consultants' current beliefs as well as various assumptions made by and information currently available to them. These assumptions include, without limitation: (i) the presence of and continuity of metals at the Brazilian Mines at modeled grades; (ii) the capacities of various machinery and equipment; (iii) the availability of personnel, machinery and equipment at estimated prices; (iv) exchange rates; (v) metals and minerals sales prices; (vi) appropriate discount rates; (vii) tax rates and royalty rates applicable to the mining operations; (viii) cash costs; (ix) anticipated mining losses and dilution; (x) metals recovery rates, (xi) reasonable contingency requirements; and (xiii) receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms. Although management considers these assumptions to be reasonable based on information currently available to it, they may prove to be incorrect. Many forward-looking statements are made assuming the correctness of other forward looking statements, such as statements of net present value and internal rate of return, which are based on most of the other forward-looking statements and assumptions herein. The cost information is also prepared using current values, but the time for incurring the costs will be in the future and it is assumed costs will remain stable over the relevant period.

By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and risks exist that estimates, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved or that assumptions do not reflect future experience. We caution readers not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements as a number of important factors could cause the actual outcomes to differ materially from the beliefs, plans, objectives, expectations, anticipations, estimates assumptions and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements. These risk factors may be generally stated as the risk that the assumptions and estimates expressed above do not occur, but specifically include, without limitation, risks relating to variations in the mineral content within the material identified as mineral reserves and mineral resources from that predicted, changes in development or mining plans due to changes in logistical, technical or other factors, the impact of general business and economic conditions, global liquidity and credit availability on the timing of cash flows and the values of assets and liabilities based on projected future conditions, fluctuating metal prices (such as gold, copper, silver, nickel and iron ore), currency exchange rates (such as the Canadian dollar, Brazilian Real, Mexican Peso and the Honduran Lempira versus the United States dollar), possible variations in ore grade or recovery rates, changes in accounting policies, changes in the Company's corporate resources, changes in project parameters as plans continue to be refined, changes in project development and production time frames, the possibility of project cost overruns or unanticipated costs and expenses, higher prices for fuel, steel, power, labour and other consumables contributing to higher costs and general risks of the mining industry, failure of plant, equipment or processes to operate as anticipated, unexpected changes in mine life, final pricing for concentrate sales, unanticipated results of future studies, seasonality and unanticipated weather changes, costs and timing of the development of new deposits, success of exploration activities, successful completion of proposed acquisitions, permitting time lines, government regulation of mining operations, environmental risks, unanticipated reclamation expenses, title disputes or claims, limitations on insurance coverage and timing and possible outcome of pending litigation and labour disputes, as well as those risk factors discussed or referred to in the Company's Annual Information Form, dated March 28, 2012, under the heading "Item 4 - Risk Factors", in the annual financial statements and management's discussion and analysis of the Company for the year ended December 31, 2011, in the Sao Francisco Technical Report, in the Sao Vicente Technical Report and in the technical reports relating to each of the Brazilian Mines. The foregoing list of factors that may affect future results is not exhaustive.

When relying on our forward-looking statements, investors and others should carefully consider the foregoing factors and other uncertainties and potential events. The Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, whether written or oral, that may be made from time to time by the Company or on behalf of the Company, except as required by law.

The forward-looking statements contained herein is presented for the purpose of assisting investors in understanding the Company's expected financial and operational performance and results as at and for the periods ended on the dates presented in the Company's plans and objectives and may not be appropriate for other purposes. The reader is also cautioned that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability.



Aura Minerals Inc.
Jim Bannantine
President & Chief Executive Officer
(604) 669-4777
(604) 696-0212 (FAX)
info@auraminerals.com
www.auraminerals.com
Data and Statistics for these countries : Brazil | Canada | Honduras | Mexico | All
Gold and Silver Prices for these countries : Brazil | Canada | Honduras | Mexico | All

Aura Minerals Inc.

PRODUCER
CODE : ORA.TO
ISIN : CA05152Q3052
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Aura Minerals is a producing gold and copper company based in Canada.

Aura Minerals produces gold, copper, silver in Brazil, in Honduras and in Mexico, and holds various exploration projects in Brazil.

Its main assets in production are SAN ANDRÉS (CHRISTO) MINE in Honduras, SAO FRANCISCO and SAO VINCENTE in Brazil and ARANZAZU in Mexico and its main exploration properties are CUMARU, INAJA, ARAPICARA and NORTH CARAJAS in Brazil.

Aura Minerals is listed in Canada. Its market capitalisation is CA$ 484.8 millions as of today (US$ 364.4 millions, € 311.7 millions).

Its stock quote reached its lowest recent point on September 18, 2015 at CA$ 0.06, and its highest recent level on June 19, 2020 at CA$ 93.39.

Aura Minerals has 36 590 000 shares outstanding.

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Annual reports of Aura Minerals Inc.
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3/24/2015Announces Year End 2014 Financial and Operating Results
3/10/2015Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Release Date -...
8/14/2013Announces Second Quarter of 2013 Financial and Operating Res...
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3/20/2013Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Financial and Op...
1/22/2013Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter Operational Results and 2...
11/13/2012Announces Third Quarter 2012 Financial and Operating Results...
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8/10/2011Announces Second Quarter 2011 Financial and Operating Result...
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2/1/2012(Sao Francisco)Files Technical Reports for Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente Go...
1/24/2012Provides 2011 Production Results and 2012 Guidance
2/10/2011(Aranzazu)Releases Additional Assay Results for the Copper-Gold-Silver...
2/9/2011(Aranzazu)Announces Commercial Production at Aranzazu, Significant Q4/...
4/30/2010(Sao Vincente)Closes Acquisition of the Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente Gold...
Corporate news of Aura Minerals Inc.
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6/23/2016Aura Minerals Announces the Completion of the Acquisition of...
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5/10/2016Aura Minerals Announces Q1 2016 Financial and Operating Resu...
5/9/2016Aura Minerals Announces Resumption of Operations at the San ...
4/25/2016Aura Minerals Announces First Quarter Release Date -- May 10...
3/24/2016Aura Minerals Announces Fourth Quarter and Year End 2015 Fin...
12/21/2015Aura Minerals Announces Resumption of Operations at San Andr...
11/2/2015Aura Minerals Announces Third Quarter Release Date -- Novemb...
9/14/2015Aura Minerals Files Aranzazu Mine NI 43-101 Technical Report
8/11/2015Aura Minerals Announces Q2 2015 Financial and Operating Resu...
8/7/2015Aura Minerals Announces Updated Aranzazu Mine NI 43-101 PEA ...
7/31/2015Aura Minerals Announces Second Quarter Release Date -- Augus...
3/24/2015Aura Minerals Announces Year End 2014 Financial and Operatin...
3/10/2015Aura Minerals Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2014 Re...
1/15/2015IIROC Trade Resumption - ORA
1/15/2015IIROC Trading Halt - ORA
11/12/2014Aura Minerals Announces Third Quarter of 2014 Financial and ...
10/20/2014Aura Minerals Announces Third Quarter Release Date and Confe...
5/27/2014Aura Minerals Announces Updated San Andres Mine NI 43-101 Sh...
5/13/2014Aura Minerals Announces First Quarter of 2014 Financial and ...
4/17/2014Aura Minerals Announces First Quarter Release Date and Confe...
3/26/2014Aura Minerals Announces Year End 2013 Financial and Operatin...
3/17/2014Aura Minerals Announces US$22.5 Million Gold Loan
10/17/2013Announces Third Quarter Conference Call Details
7/22/2013Announces Second Quarter Conference Call Details
5/3/2013Announces First Quarter Conference Call Details
3/11/2013Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Conference Call ...
2/25/2013Announces Update on Serrote- Bridge Loan from Banco ITAU- R$...
11/5/2012Announces Third Quarter 2012 Conference Call Details
10/22/2012Files Positive Feasibility Study on the Serrote Project
8/31/2012(Aranzazu)Files Preliminary Economic Assessment on the Aranzazu Projec...
8/8/2012Announces Second Quarter 2012 Conference Call Details
6/6/2012Announces Changes to Management
4/30/2012Announces First Quarter 2012 Conference Call Details
3/20/2012Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2011 Conference Call ...
2/29/2012Provides Corporate Update
10/26/2011Announces Third Quarter Conference Call Details
8/3/2011Announces Second Quarter Conference Call Details
7/12/2011Awards Feasibility Study on Serrote Deposit to SNC-Lavalin I...
6/30/2011Announces Details of the Annual General Meeting of Sharehold...
6/21/2011Announces Corporate and Operational Review Conference Call D...
4/7/2011Releases Additional Assay Results from the Deeper Drill Test...
3/23/2011Yamana ACQUIRES SHARES OF AURA MINERALS
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