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, 2022.
“After reporting strong full-year 2021 results, we delivered a solid first quarter in 2022, recording our first positive net income for a first quarter due to robust revenues from technical services and new recurring revenues from plants entering operations. Building on the growth trajectory that started last year, including our strong balance sheet, healthy project pipeline and growing recurring revenue streams, we are going into 2022 with a positive outlook. So far this year, we have brought online our first project to remove selenium from ash pond water in the US,” stated David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water.
- Grew Proportional Revenues by $2.0 million or 128% compared to Q1 2021.
- Recorded an historic high net income for Q1 of $190,000. This is our first Q1, typically the weakest quarter, with positive net income.
- Increased Adjusted EBITDA by $677,000 compared to Q1 2021.
- Increased working capital by $1.3 million or 45% over a 12-month period, from $3.1 million at March 31, 2021 to $4.4 million at March 31, 2022.
- Increased net cash by $578,000 over a 12-month period, from $3.2 million at March 31, 2021 to $3.8 million at March 31, 2022.
Selected financial results are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months ended Mar. 31|
|Revenues under GAAP||2,467||980|
|Net income (loss)||190||(523)|
OPERATIONAL SERVICES HIGHLIGHTS
Our operational services consist of the operation or technical supervision of water treatment plants, which generate recurring revenues from three main sources: sales of recovered metals, water treatment fees and operations support fees. The Company’s operations by source of revenue are as follows:
|JCC-BQE Joint Venture||Jiangxi province, China||Sales of recovered metals|
|MWT-BQE Joint Venture||Shandong province, China||Sales of recovered metals|
|Raglan Mine for Glencore||Northern Québec, Canada||Water treatment fees|
|Kemess Property for Centerra||Northern BC, Canada||Water treatment fees|
|Smelter for MWT||Shandong province, China||Operations support fees|
|Ash pond for WesTech||Virginia, USA||Water treatment fees|
JCC-BQE Joint Venture Operations
Our 50/50 joint venture with partner Jiangxi Copper Company (“JCC”) operates three water treatment plants at Dexing Mine and at Yinshan Mine 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 Q1 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months ended Mar. 31|
|Water treated (cubic metres)||2,864||2,424|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||402||204|
In the first quarter of 2022, all three plants met mechanical availability and process performance set by the Company. Both the volume of water treated and the mass of copper recovered increased year-over-year by 18% and 97% respectively. Changes in water volume and feed grade are largely the result of environmental conditions beyond the control of the joint venture.
MWT-BQE Joint Venture Operations
Our 20% share of MWT-BQE is with our 80% partner Beijing MWT Water Treatment Project Limited Company (“MWT”) and together we operate a water treatment plant at a smelter in Shandong province of China. MWT-BQE generates revenues from the sale of zinc and copper recovered from smelter wastewater. Operating results for Q1 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months ended Mar. 31|
|Zinc recovered (pounds)||61||270|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||54||76|
The mass of zinc recovered decreased by 77% while copper recovery decreased by 29%. The smelter periodically operated its production lines with ores from different sources which led to varying concentrations of zinc and copper in the feed and a fluctuation in the volume of wastewater treated by the plant. The joint venture has no control over the composition and volume of feed that flows into the plant.
BQE Water Operations
The Company operates four treatment plants at Raglan Mine for Glencore Canada Corporation (“Glencore”). During the first quarter, the plants at Raglan Mine are shut down as water stored in the outdoor reservoirs is frozen. Consequently, no water is treated and no revenue is generated in Q1 from the Raglan Mine plants.
In 2020, we completed the commissioning of the first industrial scale treatment plant utilizing our patented and award-winning Selen-IX™ process for selenium management at the Kemess property owned by Centerra Gold (“Centerra”). In 2021 and to date in 2022, the Kemess property was not operating as it was placed in an extended state of care and maintenance, and water treatment is not required and the Selen-IX™ plant was not operational.
At the beginning of 2021, we began operations of the Zhongkuang SART plant and the Zhaojin SART plant for metallurgical facilities in China. Both plants have been under our technical supervision since beginning full production. During Q1 2022, the Zhongkuang SART plant operated for the full quarter while the Zhaojin SART plant remained in care and maintenance due to the lack of feed from the metallurgical facility caused by various disruptions beyond our control. Both the upstream circuit and Zhaojin SART plant are expected to gradually return to normal operations in Q2 2022.
At the end of 2021, we completed the commissioning of our first project in the power industry, a treatment plant utilizing our Selen-IX™ process to remove selenium from ash pond water for WesTech Engineering (“WesTech”). We also began providing on-going plant operational services in return for water treatment fees with fixed and variable components.
The volume of water treated for the three months ended March 31, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s cubic metres)||3 months ended Mar. 31|
|Raglan Mine water treatment plants||–||–|
|MWT-BQE joint venture water treatment plant||138||167|
|Kemess water treatment plant||–||–|
|Eastern China SART plants||32||48|
|Virginia ash pond water treatment plant||7||–|
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 2022 are summarized below.
Commercial Deployment of Selen-IX™ and Direct Selenium Electro-Reduction (ERC) Technology
- Began commissioning of a treatment plant designed to simultaneously remove sulphate and selenate using nanofiltration and direct selenium ERC at a mine in the US.
- Continued to provide engineering services for a third large scale Selex-IX™ plant currently in the procurement stage for a mine in the US.
Cyanide Recovery, Destruction, and Thiocyanate Management
- Completed field assessments and troubleshooting for several cyanide destruction plants in Canada and Mexico.
- Completed cyanide destruction laboratory testing for projects in Canada and Mexico.
- Initiated an engineering prefeasibility study for a thiocyanate removal plant with concurrent recovery of cyanide for recycle at an active mine in Mexico.
Water Consulting Services – Management, Treatability, Permitting Assistance, Toxicity Mitigation
- Provided troubleshooting and optimization services for an existing ammonia removal plant in Ontario.
- Provided oversight of pilot equipment fabrication and completed commissioning plans and operating procedures for a pilot plant designed for boron removal in Peru.
- Initiated a 2-year pilot demonstration program for sulphate removal and copper recovery for Codelco in Chile.
- Initiated the design stage of three water treatment plants for permitting in BC.
- Completed lab scale treatability testing for the permitting of new mines in Canada and the US.
- Completed lab scale testing of arsenic and ammonia removal for an existing mine in Canada.
- Completed feasibility level engineering for water treatment to support the permitting and development of a mine in Central America.
COMMENTARY AND OUTLOOK
We are very pleased with our Q1 2022 results which showed sustained strength in the project pipeline that underlies our long-term financial performance. Historically, the first quarter has been our weakest financially, primarily due to the impact of seasonality on recurring revenues from existing operations. Specifically, our operations in Northern Québec are shut down over the winter months while our joint venture operations in China treat lower water volumes during their dry season. Despite the same conditions and challenges faced in previous years, we recorded our first positive net income for a first quarter in 2022 due to robust revenues from technical services.
Looking ahead to the balance of the year, we expect continued strong financial performance due to a strong backlog of technical services projects, the re-start of our seasonal operations, and new recurring revenues from plants entering operations for the first time in 2022. As always, the Company would like to caution investors with respect to the uncertainties that could affect this positive outlook. Specifically, geopolitical risks, high inflation, monetary tightening and the continued impact of COVID-19 could all have negative impacts on the world economy, including our sector. That said, we believe that the environmental compliance and sustainability requirements of natural resource companies coupled with our healthy balance sheet and recurring revenues position us well to sustain any temporary exogenous shocks and will allow us to continue to grow as we capitalize on long-term opportunities in mining and ESG.
SELECTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION
For a complete set of Financial Statements and MD&A, please go to www.bqewater.com.
|(in $’000 except for per share amounts)||
3 months ended Mar. 31
|Operating expenses (excluding depreciation)||(1,531)||(507)|
|Share of income from joint ventures||333||23|
|General and administration||(604)||(401)|
|Sales and development||(354)||(453)|
|Depreciation and amortization||(55)||(37)|
|Income (loss) from operations & joint ventures||233||(483)|
|Other expenses, net||(43)||(40)|
|Net income (loss) for the period||190||(523)|
|Earnings per share (basic)||0.15||(0.43)|
|Earnings per share (diluted)||0.15||(0.42)|
|Comprehensive income (loss)||81||(592)|
at Mar. 31
at Dec. 31
|Total non-current liabilities||766||778|
- Non-GAAP measures
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, 2021). 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.