VANCOUVER, BC – BQE Water Inc. (TSX-V: BQE), a leader in the treatment and management of mine impacted waters, is pleased to release its interim consolidated financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2019.
Q1 2019 FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
- Most successful Q1 financial results compared to prior years for the same period;
- Adjusted EBITDA was a loss of $80,000 compared to a loss of $418,000 in Q1 2018, which is a significant improvement compared to the average Adjusted EBITDA loss from the first quarter of 2015 to 2017 was $549,000;
- Proportional Revenues of $2 million compared to $1.3 million in Q1 2018;
- Net loss as reported under GAAP was $327,000 compared to $601,000 in Q1 2018; and
- Proportional Cash, which includes our share held in joint ventures, as of March 31, 2019 was $2.5 million compared to $2 million at March 31, 2018, and to $3.2 million at the end of 2018.
Q1 2019 OPERATIONAL SERVICES HIGHLIGHTS
Our operational services consist of the operation of water treatment plants, which generates recurring revenues for the Company from two main sources: from the sales of recovered metals and from water treatment fees.
Revenues from Sales of Recovered Metals
The Company operates four water treatment plants that generate revenues from the sale of recovered metals, three plants operating under the JCC-BQE Joint Venture and one plant operating under the MWT-BQE Joint Venture.
JCC-BQE Joint Venture (“JCC-BQE”)
Our joint venture with partner Jiangxi Copper Company (“JCC”) operates three water treatment plants at the Dexing and Yinshan Mines in Jiangxi province of China. The volume of water treated and pounds of copper recovered by the plants fluctuate seasonally depending on precipitation levels in the region. The operating results for JCC-BQE in Q1 2019 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months ended Mar. 31|
|Water treated (cubic metres)||5,809||3,544|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||782||440|
During Q1 2019, all three plants met or exceeded mechanical availability and process performance. The volume of water treated and the mass of copper recovered increased by 64% and 78% respectively over the same period in 2018. Changes in water volume and feed grade are largely the result of environmental conditions beyond the control of the joint venture and will fluctuate from period to period.
MWT-BQE Joint Venture (“MWT-BQE”)
Our joint venture with partner Beijing MWT Water Treatment Project Limited Company (“MWT”) began operations for its first water treatment plant in Q4 2018. The water treatment plant in the Shandong province of China generates revenues from the sale of copper and zinc recovered from wastewater. The operating results for MWT-BQE in Q1 2019 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months ended Mar. 31|
|Zinc recovered (pounds)||709||–|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||53||–|
Revenues from Water Treatment Fees
The Company is contracted to operate four water treatment plants that generate revenues in the form of treatment fees, which are the three plants at Raglan Mine owned by Glencore in Canada and one plant operated by MWT-BQE in China.
During Q1, the plants at Raglan Mine are shutdown as all water stored in the outdoor reservoirs is frozen. Consequently, no revenues are generated in Q1 from the three plants at Raglan Mine. The MWT-BQE plant in Shandong generates an operation support fee paid to the Company by MWT-BQE. This fee is not linked to the volume of water treated but to the achievement of operational targets which rely on the Company’s expertise delivered through ongoing operations services. The operating results for the three months ended March 31, 2019 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months ended Mar. 31|
|Water treated at Raglan Mine (cubic metres)||–||–|
|Water treated at MWT-BQE (cubic metres)||151||–|
Q1 2019 TECHNICAL SERVICES HIGHLIGHTS
BQE Water’s technical expertise and IP are applicable globally across broad areas of water management. The highlights of technical services provided to clients and technical innovation projects during Q1 2019 are summarized below.
Commercial Deployment of Selen-IX™ Technology
- Completion of Issued-for-Construction engineering design for the water treatment plant at Kemess Mine in Northern BC, which utilizes Selen-IX™ as one of the treatment stages.
- Preparation of the operating manual, emergency response plan and other documents required by regulatory agencies.
Engineering Design of New Water Treatment Plant
- Engineering design of a water treatment plant for the Hope Bay project in western Nunavut territory.
Cyanide Management or Recovery for Precious Metals Extraction Projects using the SART Process and the Management of Nitrogen Residues with various Treatment Approaches
- Engineering design and cost estimate for a SART plant treating up to 600 m3/hr of gold leach solution and the recovery of approximately 3,400 metric tons of copper and 6,700 metric tons of cyanide per year in South America.
- Engineering design and cost estimate for a SART plant to treat 140 m3/hr of leach solution at the Parral project in Mexico.
- Cyanide management including engineering design for cyanide destruction and recovery plants at two gold processing facilities in China.
Water Management, Permitting Assistance & Toxicity Mitigation
- Independent review of water treatment options to manage toxicity from cyanide destruction residue at a gold mine in Quebec and created a plan to improve water management while reducing treatment requirements.
- Technical lead for the permitting of a new sulphate removal treatment system at a Central BC mine.
- Technical lead for the permitting of improvements and expansion of water treatment at the Silvertip Mine in BC.
- Investigation and laboratory testing of the root causes of toxicity at Kattiniq Mine in Quebec.
- Pilot testing of toxicity mitigation with the Sulf-IX™ process on lime plant effluent in the US.
- Technical review of water treatment for First Nations engaged in the permitting and re-start of an existing BC mine.
Optimization of Existing Water Treatment Plant
- Assessment of options to upgrade and expand water treatment at Raglan Mine.
Q1 2009 COMMENTARY AND OUTLOOK
We are very pleased with our Q1 2019 financial results. We recorded the best Adjusted EBITDA during the first three months of a fiscal year in the Company’s history. This follows the 2018 year-end results which produced the first net income reported for a fiscal year since the inception of the Company and which was also the fourth consecutive year-over-year improvement in financial results. We are delighted to be continuing the positive momentum of recent years into 2019.
Long-term followers of BQE Water know that Q1 is typically our weakest quarter in terms of financial performance primarily due to the impact of climatic conditions on our recurring revenues from plant operations which accounts for up to 70% of our total annual Proportional Revenues. Typically, our capacity to generate non-recurring revenues from technical services does not make up for the decrease of recurring revenues during Q1.
The improvement in our Q1 2019 performance compared to Q1 2018 was due to simultaneous increases in recurring revenues from our joint venture operations and in non-recurring revenues from technical services. Specifically, the mass of copper recovered and sold in Q1 2019 was close to 80% higher compared to Q1 2018. This is attributed to climatic factors in China that resulted in greater volumes of mine water to be treated and which are outside of the Company’s control. Additionally, the value of technical services the Company provided to clients globally increased by 36%. This is a direct reflection of our expanding sales pipeline which can be linked to the success of our business development efforts over the past year and the general economic state of the mining sector.
Looking ahead to the remainder of 2019, we anticipate successful plant operations at Raglan Mine where we will begin our 16th operating season in late Q2 of 2019 and operation of the copper recovery plants in Jiangxi province of China. However, we also forecast weaker performance from the zinc recovery plant in Shandong province due to the reduced volume of wastewater generated by the smelter and the amount of recoverable zinc contained in the water. Both these factors are expected to be temporary and beyond the Company’s control as they are linked to a temporary change in the smelter’s throughput. Our non-recurring revenues from technical services in 2019 and 2020 will be influenced by the following:
- Clients’ decisions on whether to proceed to the construction phase of three different SART plants in Q2;
- Client decision on whether to proceed with a pilot demonstration for sulphate and selenium treatment at a BC mine in Q3;
- Client decision on whether to proceed with a pilot demonstration for sulphate removal and copper recovery at a copper mine in Chile in Q3; and
- Successful commissioning of the first commercial Selen-IX™ plant at the Kemess Mine in Q4.
In addition to the opportunities listed above, we expect to continue to expand our projects pipeline which reinforces our overall positive outlook for the rest of 2019 and the first half of 2020.
Q1 2019 FINANCIAL RESULTS
For a complete set of the interim condensed Financial Statements and Management Discussion and Analysis, please go to www.bqewater.com.
|(in $’000 except for per share amounts)||Q1 2019||Q1 2018|
|less: Operating expenses (excluding depreciation)||444||460|
|General and administration||383||369|
|Sales and development||319||324|
|Depreciation and amortization||50||4|
|Share of results of equity accounted joint ventures||(202)||(97)|
|Loss from operations and joint ventures||(300)||(588)|
|Other expenses – net||(27)||(13)|
|Net loss for the period||(327)||(601)|
|Translation gain on foreign operations||27||320|
|Comprehensive loss for the period||
|Net loss per share (basic and diluted)||(0.27)||(0.64)|
|at Mar. 31,||at Dec. 31,|
|Total non-current liabilities||253||–|
1See “Non-GAAP Measures” in the MD&A
About BQE Water
BQE Water is a service provider specializing in water treatment and management for metals mining, smelting and refining. We are helping to transform the way the industry thinks about water in the context of natural resource projects by offering services and expertise which enables more sustainable water management practices and improved overall project performance at reduced risks. BQE Water invests in innovation and has developed unique intellectual property through the commercialization of several new technologies at mine sites around the world for organizations including Glencore, Jiangxi Copper, Freeport-McMoRan and the US EPA. BQE Water is headquartered in Vancouver, Canada and trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol BQE. Visit www.bqewater.com for more information.
The Toronto Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or the accuracy of this release.
CAUTIONARY STATEMENT REGARDING FORWARD-LOOKING INFORMATION
Certain information contained herein may not be based on historical fact and therefore constitutes “forward-looking information” under applicable Canadian securities legislation. This includes without limitation statements containing the words “plan”, “expect”, “project”, “estimate”, “intend”, “believe”, “anticipate”, “may”, “will” and other similar words or expressions. Forward-looking statements are based on the opinions and estimates of management at the date the statements are made, and are subject to a variety of risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual events or results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to, the Company’s dependence on key personnel and contracts, uncertainty with respect to the profitability of the Company’s technologies, competition, technology risk, the Company’s ability to protect its intellectual property and proprietary information, fluctuations in commodity prices, currency risk, environmental regulation and the Company’s ability to manage growth and other factors described in the Company’s filings with the Canadian securities regulators at www.sedar.com (including without limitation the factors described in the section entitled “Risks and Uncertainties” in the Company’s MD&A for the year ended December 31, 2018). Given these risks and uncertainties, the reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All forward-looking information contained herein is based on management’s current expectations and the Company undertakes no obligation to revise or update such forward-looking information to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.