Western Areas NL

Published : January 27th, 2016

Quarterly Activities Report

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Quarterly Activities Report

Microsoft Word - 1512 31 December Qtly Report Board Final.docx

Activity Report

For the period ending 31 December 2015

Western Areas is an Australian‐based nickel miner listed on the ASX. The main asset is the 100% owned Forrestania Nickel Project, 400km east of Perth. Western Areas is Australia's second largest sulphide nickel miner producing approximately 25,000 tonnes per annum nickel in ore from the Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll mines.

Flying Fox and Spotted Quoll are two of the lowest cost and highest grade nickel mines in the world.

Western Areas is an active nickel explorer in Western Australia and holds significant exploration interests in Canada and Finland through shareholdings in Mustang Minerals and FinnAust Mining Plc.

The total Mineral Resource Estimate at Spotted Quoll now stands at approximately 2.5Mt at an average grade of 5.6% nickel containing 141kt of nickel. The total Ore Reserve Estimate at Spotted Quoll now stands at approximately 2.6Mt at 4.0% nickel containing 103kt of nickel.

The total Massive Sulphide Mineral Resource Estimate at Flying Fox now stands at approximately 1.9Mt at an average grade of 5.1% nickel containing 96kt of nickel. The total Ore Reserve Estimate at Flying Fox now stands at approximately 1.4Mt at an average grade of 4.2% nickel containing 59kt of nickel.

The total Mineral Resource Estimate at Cosmos is unchanged at approximately 63Mt at an average grade of 0.9% nickel containing 567kt of nickel.

The Cosmic Boy concentrator consistently produces around 25,000 tonnes per annum of nickel contained in concentrate.

Western Areas has offtake agreements with BHP Billiton for 12,000tpa nickel in concentrate and 13,000tpa with Jinchuan for a total 25,000tpa nickel in concentrate.

The Board remains focused on the core business of low cost, long life nickel production, new nickel discoveries and generating returns to shareholders.

ASX code: WSA

Shares on issue: 233.4m shares Market capitalisation:

Approx A$443m @ $1.90 per share

Level 2, 2 Kings Park Road West Perth, WA 6005 www.westernareas.com.au


Western Areas (WSA or the Company) is pleased to report that production for both the quarter and half year ended 31 December remain in line to full year guidance, with units costs trending to the low end of guidance. The Forrestania operations remained cashflow positive for the quarter. There were no lost time injuries for the quarter and the Company is proud to continue to report a lost time injury frequency rate (LTIFR) of ZERO.

Mine production was 157,481 tonnes of ore at an average grade of 4.4% for 6,917 nickel tonnes. The mine grade reduced from the last quarter in line with the mine schedule and plan, however as an indication of January performance, both mines are grading just shy of 5% nickel at the time of this report. Spotted Quoll ore tonnages were a record for the quarter and half year at 81,318 and 162,020 tonnes respectively. Mill production remains extremely consistent at 6,256 nickel tonnes produced, despite an unplanned outage associated with a regional bushfire interrupting power supply.

Unit cash cost of production of A$2.24/lb (US$1.61/lb) was marginally lower than the last quarter. Half year unit cash costs are A$2.25/lb which is below the lower end of FY16 guidance of A$2.30/lb to A$2.50/lb. In line with past practice, any guidance update will be provided with the half year results.

Exploration and project enhancement activities were ramped up at Cosmos following a thorough review of the extensive drill data base handed over at transaction completion (see ASX announcement on 20 January 2016).

The nickel price continues to range between US$3.75/lb and US$4.00/lb with the recent weakening of the Australian dollar below US$0.70 providing some improvement in Australian dollar terms. The Company continues to work internally and externally on various cost and capital control measures. The significant portion of full year capital expenditure program was completed in the first half, and the previously announced capital expenditure deferrals have been implemented for the second half.

December Quarter 2015 Highlights:

  1. There were ZERO lost time injuries for the quarter which continued the zero LTIFR achieved at the end of April. The Company has now operated for over 20 months without an LTI.

  2. Flying Fox mine production was 76,163t of ore mined at 4.2% for 3,183 nickel tonnes (7.0M lbs).

  3. Spotted Quoll mine production was a record at 81,318t of ore at 4.6% for 3,734 nickel tonnes (8.2M lbs).

  4. Mill throughput was 152,435t of ore at an average grade of 4.6% nickel with recovery of 89.3% for 6,256 nickel tonnes. Half year mill production totals 12,507 nickel tonnes.

  5. Unit cash cost of production of nickel in concentrate was A$2.24/lb,

    being a slight reduction on last quarter.

  6. Consolidated cash at bank was A$29.9m (see page 2).

  7. Encouraging resource extension results at Flying Fox including 6.3m at 8.0% nickel in the T6 area of Flying Fox

Activity Report

For the period ending 31 December 2015



    Cash at bank was A$29.9m at the end of the quarter (September quarter A$59.0m). As disclosed in the September quarterly report, the December quarter cashflow was affected by the following one off material payments totaling A$34.4m:

    • The first instalment for the purchase of the Cosmos Nickel Project (A$11.5m);

    • The payment of the 4 cent per share final dividend (A$9.3m);

    • The final FY15 tax payment (A$9.6m); and

    • Completion of long lead items for the Mill Recovery Enhancement Project (A$4.0m).

      In addition, due to the lower realised price for nickel, quotational pricing adjustments had a A$4.5m negative impact on cashflow. Group cash at bank plus nickel sales receivables was A$38.9m.

      Capital and Exploration Expenditure (Investment Activities)

      In respect of the revised guidance announced on 7 October 2015, the Company provides the following updates:

    • Sustaining Capex and Exploration Expenditure (including Regional and Cosmos) - first half year actual spend was A$31.7m versus the full year guidance of A$49.0m. Accordingly the current second half forecast is A$17.3m, being a reduction of A$14.4m on the first half.

    • Mill Enhancement - Half year actual of A$4.0m versus the full year guidance of A$7.4m.

    • Consequently, of the total investment activity guidance for FY16 of A$56.4m, A$35.7m (or 63%) has been spent in the first half with a significantly lower spend in the second half of A$20.7m.


      Western Areas paid the fully franked final dividend of 4 cents per share (A$9.3m) on 8 October 2015.

      Capital Management

      During the quarter, the Company advised that at Western Areas' request, agreement was reached with the Australian and New Zealand Banking Group ("ANZ") to modify the corporate loan facility ("facility") in order to minimise ongoing bank fees associated with facility maintenance. Under the altered facility arrangements the available limit has been set at A$50m. A discount to the current interest rate margin, applicable on future drawn amounts (if required) has been agreed. The remaining terms and conditions are consistent with the original facility agreement. The security position held by ANZ will be maintained, providing the ability to upsize the facility quickly and efficiently should the Company identify growth opportunities that require additional capital.

      The previous undrawn A$125m facility was originally established to provide a committed line of finance for the Company and ensure a repayment backup position for the convertible bond. Following full retirement of the final convertible bond from cash reserves in July 2015, this backstop was no longer required.

      Maintaining committed financial flexibility is a key element of the Company's capital management plan. This forms part of the Company's ongoing focus to reduce costs and identify efficiencies across all areas of the group. The Company also continues to monitor all available sources of funding to ensure that the previously announced deferred capital and exploration programs can be quickly restarted when market conditions permit.


      When pricing is supportive, the Company manages nickel price and foreign exchange risk with a combination of short term quotation period (QP) hedging and a set limit of medium term hedging. The policy allows the use of forward sales, bought options and collar style options:

      Page 2

      Activity Report

      For the period ending 31 December 2015

    • QP hedging is used to manage the risk of price fluctuations for nickel already shipped to offtake partners that is yet to have its nickel price finalised.

    • Medium term hedging is used to manage the risk of nickel price fluctuations with a maximum 25% of expected nickel sales per month hedged out for a maximum of 12 months.

    At quarter's end, the hedge book consisted solely of US$ foreign exchange contracts. No nickel is currently hedged due to the current lack of price support. Details of hedges as at 31 December 2015 are as follows:

    Hedging Details

    FY 2016

    US$ Hedging ‐ Collar Options

    US$ Sold


    Average US$ FX Cap


    Average US$ FX Floor




      There were no lost time injuries (LTI) recorded for the quarter and the LTI frequency rate remains at ZERO. Western Areas has now operated 645 days without an LTI and the Company is committed to ensuring that the safety culture remains robust, dynamic and embraced by all personnel, contractors and service suppliers.

      In November the Forrestania Emergency Response Team (ERT) participated in the Mines Emergency Response Competition held at Langley Park in Perth. The team acquitted themselves extremely well against much larger organisations and left the competition with valuable experience. The ERT was placed second in the Fire Fighting and third in both Breathing Apparatus and ERT Readiness skills.

      ERT member in fire exercise

      There were a number of bushfires that were in the vicinity of operations (closest was 25km to the east) during November and December and the ERT were requested by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) to assist with local Volunteer Fire Brigades to contain and control the bushfires. Despite the hot weather and difficult conditions over a three week period, the bushfires were managed well with no injuries or asset damage sustained to any Forrestania assets.


      One minor environmental incident occurred during the quarter when a tailings surface facility (TSF) return water line developed a leak. Only a minor quantity of return water was lost with all water reporting to the retention drain. No environmental impact resulted and the pipeline has been repaired.

      Bryan Williams commenced as the new Group Environmental Manager in December. Bryan brings 17 years of experience at Newmont Mining with a particular focus on Environmental Management Systems, Heritage and Mine rehabilitation.

      Page 3

      Activity Report

      For the period ending 31 December 2015

      Compliance and Approval

      The 2014‐15 National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme (NGERS) report for Western Areas Ltd controlled facilities was submitted in October. Greenhouse emissions for the 2014‐15 reporting period remained similar to those for the 2013‐14 reporting period.

      New approvals in process during the quarter included:

      • Cosmic Boy TSF Lift Proposal currently being assessed by Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP) with a response expected soon; and

      • Clearing permit and program‐of‐work (PoW) for exploration activities at Northern Estates near Parker Dome, both currently being assessed by DMP.


      • The Prescribed Premises Licence for Cosmos was transferred from Xstrata; and

      • The annual environmental reports for Cosmos were submitted.


    The Company renewed a three year sponsorship agreement with the Eastern Wheatbelt Biosecurity Group Inc. to enable the continued support for their feral animal control program along the State Barrier Fence (SBF) adjacent to Forrestania operations. The SBF divides the wheatbelt agricultural area from the Great Western Woodlands with the main aim of the program being to protect livestock from wild dog attacks.


    Community consultation with members of the Tjiwarl native title claimant group commenced during the quarter with two meetings taking place. The Tjiwarl have a registered native title claim over a large area of land that includes Cosmos and the Company is committed to developing and maintaining a good working relationship with the traditional owners of the land.

    November Snake handling course

    Page 4

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Western Areas NL

ISIN : AU000000WSA9
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Western Areas NL is a nickel and gold producing company based in Australia.

Western Areas NL holds various exploration projects in Australia.

Its main assets in production are FORRESTANIA, FLYING FOX MINE and KOOLYANOBBING in Australia, its main asset in development is SANDSTONE - LORD NELSON in Australia and its main exploration properties are MT FINNERTY NICKEL JV, LAKE KING, MT ALEXANDER, MT JEWELL and SPOTTED QUOLL in Australia and EAST BULL LAKE in Canada.

Western Areas NL is listed in Australia and in Canada. Its market capitalisation is AU$ 1.0 billions as of today (US$ 756.6 millions, € 662.7 millions).

Its stock quote reached its highest recent level on April 15, 2011 at AU$ 6.78, and its lowest recent point on March 27, 2020 at AU$ 1.66.

Western Areas NL has 272 280 000 shares outstanding.

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Corporate Presentations of Western Areas NL
2/17/2014Half Year Results Corporate Presentation
11/21/2013Areas AGM Corporate Presentation
2/21/2013Half Year Results Corporate Presentation
Annual reports of Western Areas NL
Annual Report to shareholders
Annual Report to shareholders
2009 Annual Report
Option Grants of Western Areas NL
2/14/2012Maintains Strong Profits and Declares Dividend
Nominations of Western Areas NL
1/3/2012appoints new Managing Director
Financials of Western Areas NL
2/24/2016Half Year Financial Results Press Release
8/20/2015Areas Full Year Financial Results Presentation
Project news of Western Areas NL
1/28/2014Revised Resource Table - December Quarterly Report
12/6/2013RBR: Drilling to Commence at Caesar Hill JV
12/4/2013Drilling to Commence at Musgrave Tenements
11/22/2013Final Director's Interest Notice
9/6/2013Assays Increase New Morning High Grade Nickel Intersection
8/30/2013High Grade 8% Nickel Intersection at New Morning
7/19/2013Further High Grade Intersections at New Morning
7/1/2013TKL: Musgrave project farm-in by Western Areas
3/27/2013New Morning Exploration Update
3/14/2013Exploration Strategy and Activities Update
1/24/2013(Forrestania)New High Grade Nickel Discovery at Forrestania
1/24/2013GTE:Encouraging gold results intersected in drilling Mt Gibb
7/18/2012(Forrestania)Announces New High Grade Nickel Sulphide Discovery at Forres...
5/11/2012Production Guidance Update
3/14/2012Completed the Acquisition of Kagara Nickel
10/5/2011(Flying Fox Mine)Major Nickel Intersection Below Flying Fox Mine
Corporate news of Western Areas NL
8/11/2017Advance Notice - Full Year Results Conference Call
8/2/2016Diggers and Dealers Presentation
6/15/2016Final Director's Interest Notice
6/9/2016Western Areas Board Change
4/22/2016Quarterly Activities Report
4/5/2016Western Areas - Security Purchase Plan Booklet
4/5/2016Western Areas - Section 708A Cleansing Statement
3/31/2016Successful Completion of Western Areas Placement
1/28/2016Change in substantial holding
1/27/2016Quarterly Activities Report
1/11/2016Becoming a substantial holder
12/21/2015Western Areas Reduces Standby Bank Facility Fees
12/1/2015Change in substantial holding from NAB
11/25/2015Annual General Meeting - MD Presentation
11/25/2015Chairman's Address to Shareholders
10/26/2015Quarterly Activities Report
10/23/2015Notice of Annual General Meeting/Proxy Form
10/12/2015MOX: Western Gawler Craton Drilling Recommenced
10/12/2015Western Gawler Craton Update
10/7/2015Western Areas Revised FY16 Capital Expenditure Plans
10/1/2015Cosmos Nickel Complex Acquisition Completed
9/29/2015Western Areas to Commence Drilling at Fowlers Bay Nickel JV
9/28/2015STA: Western Areas to Commence Drilling at Fowlers Bay Nick
9/28/2015Prospective Mafic Intrusions Confirmed at Western Gawler
9/22/2015Becoming a substantial holder
9/14/2015Change in substantial holding
9/1/2015Change in substantial holding
8/28/2015Change of Director's Interest Notice x 3
8/20/2015Western Areas Report Increased Full Year Profit and Dividend
8/20/2015Appendix 4E & Full Year Statutory Accounts
8/20/2015Western Areas Full Year Financial Results Presentation
8/20/2015Dividend/Distribution - WSA
8/18/2015Full Year Results Conference Call Details
7/30/2015Change in substantial holding from NAB
7/21/2015Quarterly Activities Report - Revised
7/19/2015GNG: Contract Award
7/5/2015Major Drilling Program Commenced at Western Gawler Project
6/18/2015Western Areas to Acquire the Cosmos Nickel Complex
4/1/2015Change in substantial holding
3/25/2015Change in substantial holding from NAB
3/11/2015Change in substantial holding from NAB
3/5/2015Ceasing to be a substantial holder
2/18/2015Change in substantial holding from NAB
2/17/2015Becoming a substantial holder from MS
2/16/2015Becoming a substantial holder from CBA
2/12/2015Half Year Results Conference Call Details
2/12/2015Ceasing to be a substantial holder from MS
1/21/2015Western Gawler Craton Project Update
11/6/2014Western Areas to Commence Major Exploration at Fowlers Bay
2/28/2014On Market 2014 Convertible Bond Purchase
2/25/2014Areas Share Purchase Plan Offer Document
2/24/2014Cleansing Statement - Notification under section 708A(5)(e)
2/18/2014Successful Completion of Western Areas Raising
2/18/2014Areas Ltd Capital Raising and SPP
2/17/2014Half Year Results Press Release
2/10/2014Areas Upgrades Full Year Guidance
1/28/2014Competent Person Statement
1/9/2014Becoming a substantial holder
12/17/2013Ceasing to be a substantial holder
12/17/2013Managing Director Interview by Market Professional
12/4/2013TKL:Western Areas proceeds to Stage 2 of JV and begins drill
11/21/2013Areas 2013 AGM Results
11/21/2013WSA 2013 AGM Chairman Address
11/21/2013Areas Chairman to Step Down
11/13/2013Finland Exploration Assets - London AIM Listing
10/21/2013Notice of Annual General Meeting/Proxy Form
10/15/2013TKL: Musgraves project - new targets on WSA JV tenements
9/24/2013Becoming a substantial holder
9/12/2013(Spotted Quoll)Spotted Quoll North High Grade Mineral Resource and Reserve
9/6/2013Substantial Shareholder - Restatement from CBA
8/27/2013Preliminary Final Report and Full Year Financial Statements
8/27/2013Areas Full Year Results Press Release
8/27/2013Areas Full Year Result Presentation Pack
8/21/2013Conference Call: Full Year Results for the Year Ended 30 Jun...
7/31/2013Announces Anticipated Non-Cash Impairment
7/23/2013Quarterly Activities Report
7/4/2013Areas Exceeds Full Year Guidance
7/1/2013Strategic Agreement with Traka at Musgraves
6/24/2013GTE: Rights Issue Entitlement
5/31/2013Areas Upgrades Full Year Guidance
4/23/2013Quarterly Activities Report
4/5/2013Chairmans Letter to Shareholders
4/4/2013Becoming a substantial holder
2/21/2013Half Year Accounts and Appendix 4D
2/21/2013Half Year Results Press Release
2/21/2013Results of Meeting
1/29/2013New Offtake Agreement
1/18/2013Notice of General Meeting/Proxy Form
1/14/2013WSA Announces Successful Completion of Share Purchase Plan
1/14/2013Areas Announces New Constitution
1/14/2013Areas Announces Change of Name and Company Type
12/10/2012Section 708A - Cleansing Notice
10/22/2012Notice of Annual General Meeting/Proxy Form
10/16/2012Takes Top Honours at WA Industry & Export Awards
9/21/2012Weekly Summary Alert
8/15/2012Conference Call-Full Year Results for the Year Ended 30 June...
7/25/2012Announces June 2012 Quarterly Activities Report
7/13/2012Weekly Summary Alert
7/2/2012Retires Convertible Bond From Cash Reserves
6/29/2012Weekly Summary Alert
6/15/2012Weekly Summary Alert
6/7/2012(Spotted Quoll)Spotted Quoll Underground Ore Reserves Increase by 94%
6/1/2012Weekly Summary Alert
5/18/2012Weekly Summary Alert
5/4/2012Weekly Summary Alert
4/20/2012Weekly Summary Alert
4/6/2012Weekly Summary Alert
3/23/2012Weekly Summary Alert
3/9/2012Weekly Summary Alert
3/5/2012Acquires 100% of Lounge Lizard and Kagara's Nickel Assets
2/24/2012Weekly Summary Alert
2/10/2012Weekly Summary Alert
1/27/2012Weekly Summary Alert
1/23/2012Announces December 2011 Quarterly Activities Report
1/13/2012Weekly Summary Alert
12/30/2011Weekly Summary Alert
12/22/2011Closes Out Royalty Obligation To Outokumpu
12/16/2011Weekly Summary Alert
12/2/2011Weekly Summary Alert
11/30/2011Agrees One Year Offtake Contract with Jinchuan
10/12/2011Clarification: Lounge Lizard Nickel Deposit
9/23/2011Weekly Summary Alert
9/8/2011Announces Update on Nickel Concentrate Tender Process
8/26/2011Weekly Summary Alert
8/22/2011Strong Financial Results for Year Ended 30 June 2011 & Full ...
8/12/2011Weekly Summary Alert
8/2/2011Considering Nickel Offtake Tender
5/6/2011Weekly Summary Alert
4/15/2011Announces March 2011 Quarterly Activities Report
4/8/2011Weekly Summary Alert
3/25/2011Weekly Summary Alert
2/25/2011Weekly Summary Alert
2/14/2011ALERT: New Western Areas Financial Report
2/11/2011Weekly Summary Alert
11/7/2008Weekly Summary Alert
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