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 and six months ended June 30, 2021.
“Our financial results for the first half of the year have set new records for Proportional Revenue and Adjusted EBITDA, recording $5.7 million and $1.2 million respectively,” stated David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water. “Building on the growth trajectory that started last year, we are going into the second half of this year with a positive outlook. So far this year, we have brought online two new water treatment plants that are contributing recurring revenues and our second Selen-IX™ treatment plant, our first project outside of mining at an ash pond in the US, is expected to be fully operational by the year end.”
- Adjusted EBITDA for Q2 2021 was $1.4 million compared to $412,000 in Q2 2020, a 248% increase.
- Proportional Revenue for Q2 2021 was $4.2 million, a $1.4 million or 51% increase from $2.8 million in Q2 2020.
- Net Income increased by $864,000 to $809,000 in Q2 2021, compared to a net loss of $55,000 in Q2 2020.
- Working capital was $2.4 million at June 30, 2021, compared to $3.5 million at December 31, 2020, and $2.2 million at June 30, 2020, a 9% increase over the last 12 months.
- Proportional Cash, which includes our share held in joint ventures, at June 30, 2021 was $5.0 million, compared to $5.2 million at December 31, 2020, and $3.4 million at June 30, 2020, a 47% increase over the last 12 months.
OPERATIONAL SERVICES HIGHLIGHTS
Our operational services consist of the operation of water treatment plants, which generate recurring revenues for the Company from two main sources: sales of recovered metals and 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 from the JCC-BQE Joint Venture (“JCC-BQE”) and one plant from the MWT-BQE Joint Venture (“MWT-BQE”).
JCC-BQE Joint Venture
Our 50/50 joint venture with partner Jiangxi Copper Company (“JCC”) operates 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 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months||6 months|
|ended Jun. 30||ended Jun. 30|
|Water treated (cubic metres)||7,702||5,561||10,126||8,270|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||1,262||909||1,466||1,166|
During Q2 2021, all three plants met or exceeded mechanical availability and process performance. The volume of water treated and the mass of copper recovered both increased by 39% over the same period in 2020. Dexing Mine experienced a higher level of precipitation during Q2 2021 compared to Q2 2020. Higher rainfall increases the water flowing into the treatment plants and improves copper leaching from waste rock, leading to higher copper concentrations in the plant feed. 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
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 the majority of its revenues from the sale of zinc recovered from smelter wastewater, along with some copper found in the stream. Operating results are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 months||6 months|
|ended Jun. 30||ended Jun. 30|
|Zinc recovered (pounds)||319||536||589||719|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||78||72||154||100|
During Q2 2021, the mass of zinc recovered decreased by 40% and the mass of copper recovered increased by 8% compared to the same period in 2020. The smelter periodically operated their production lines with ores from different sources which led to varying concentration of zinc and copper in the feed composition and a fluctuation in the volume of wastewater treated by the plant. The joint venture has no control in the composition and volume of the feed that flows into the plant.
Revenues from Water Treatment Fees
The Company is contracted to operate and provide technical support for water treatment plants that generate recurring revenues in the form of water treatment and operations support fees. They include four plants operated by BQE Water for Glencore at Raglan Mine in Northern Québec, a plant operated by the MWT-BQE joint venture but supported and supervised by BQE Water in China, and the newly added Zhongkuang SART plant and the Zhaojin SART plant in Shandong province of China. The two new SART plants completed commissioning and began operations in 2021.
During Q2 2021, we mobilized our operations team to site to commence our 18th operating season at Raglan Mine. The team initiated operational activities in April 2021 and began discharging water in June 2021.
The MWT-BQE, Zhongkuang SART and Zhaojin SART plants generate fixed operations support fees for achieving operational targets that rely on the Company’s technical expertise. In Q2 2021, the Zhongkuang SART plant was not operational due to a temporary government mandated stoppage of all underground mining operations to conduct safety audits and remedial activities following an incident at an unrelated mine site. The mine, along with the requirement of water treatment from our SART plant, is expected to be back online by September 2021. The volume of water treated by plants are as follows:
|(in ’000s cubic metres)||3 months||6 months|
|ended Jun. 30||ended Jun. 30|
|Glencore water treatment plants||145||94||145||94|
|MWT-BQE water treatment plant||175||179||342||332|
|Zhongkuang SART plant||–||–||48||–|
|Zhaojin SART plant||102||–||102||–|
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 Q2 2021 are summarized below.
Commercial Deployment of Selen-IX™ and Direct Selenium Electro-Reduction (ERC) Technology
- Initiated engineering for a second large scale Selex-IX™ plant to be installed at a mine in the US.
- Continued to provide engineering services for the first commercial scale direct selenium ERC plant at a mine in the US.
- Supported equipment installation at the first Selen-IX™ plant, outside of the mining industry, at an ash pond in the US and prepared a plant commissioning plan.
Cyanide Management and Recovery using SART and Electro-oxidation
- Initiated the investigation into improving the performance of an existing cyanide destruction plant.
- Initiated lab scale testing of cyanide recovery from thiocyanate using leach solution from an existing gold plant.
Water Consulting Services – Management, Treatability, Permitting Assistance, Toxicity Mitigation
- Re-commissioning of the existing water treatment plant at Minto Mine in the Yukon.
- Upgrades and optimization of water treatment plant operation at the Hope Bay project in Nunavut.
- Completion of various trade-off studies prior to engineering for the construction of a sulphate removal plant in BC.
- Water treatment design for permitting, including one in the mine operations phase and the other for post-closure in BC.
- Expansion of an existing ammonia removal water treatment system for a gold mine in Ontario.
- Assessment of improvements to the water management and treatment strategy for the KSM project in BC.
- Water treatment design for a new gold mine in Central America.
- Initiated a study to mitigate chronic toxicity at an existing mining operation in Qué
- Design of a water treatment plant for water re-use and cyanide recycle at a gold plant in Mé
- Review of a water treatment plant design completed by a third party for a mine in Peru.
- Design of a pilot plant for boron removal from wastewater at a mine in Peru.
COMMENTARY AND OUTLOOK
When compared to previous second quarters, we set record highs during Q2 2021 for Proportional Revenue, Adjusted EBITDA and net income. Building on last year’s growth trajectory, we also posted the strongest Adjusted EBITDA and net income achieved in the first six months of a year. Our strong financial performance was supported by an increase in copper prices. Both our China joint ventures, at Dexing Mine and in Shandong province, primarily benefited from higher copper prices along with higher copper recoveries, with the associated increase in revenues going to our bottom line.
To date, we have experienced and expect further interruptions at our two new SART plant operations in China. These interruptions are attributed to a combination of a government mandated province-wide shut down of all underground mining operations to conduct safety audits and remedial activities following an incident at an unrelated mine site, and additional lock-downs and operational delays triggered by the resurgence of COVID-19 and its variants. As a result, revenues from these operations may be deferred by a quarter or two. Our joint venture operation that recovers copper and zinc at a smelter is unaffected and is expected to continue operating without interruption.
Although our volume of operations and technical service projects remained relatively stable, we saw a slight decrease in technical services revenue from Q2 2020. This is due to the timing and nature of the projects we worked on, which were smaller in scope despite being larger in number. In Q2 2021, we also started building our US based operations team in preparation for the commissioning and subsequent operation of two new water treatment plants in the US, one at a power generation facility and the other at a US mine. This accounts for the reduced operations margin recorded during the quarter as we train our new operations personnel, similar to what occurred in 2020 as part of the lead up to the commissioning of the first industrial scale Selen-IX™ plant in BC, Canada.
Our overall outlook for the second half of 2021 and going into 2022 remains positive. The Company continues to maintain a strong balance sheet while growing our working capital position when compared to 12 months ago. Furthermore, as new operations come online later in 2021, management expects to see revenue growth in the next two quarters. But as the severity and duration of the pandemic persists, we continue to caution our shareholders with respect to the risks and uncertainties surrounding COVID-19 and its variants, which remain unchanged from Q1 2021.
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)
ended Jun. 30
ended Jun. 30
|Share of income from joint ventures||1,580||380||1,604||253|
|General and administration expenses||(459)||(435)||(860)||(867)|
|Sales and development expenses||(378)||(239)||(831)||(468)|
|Share-based payment expenses||(184)||(118)||(272)||(167)|
|Income (loss) from operations & joint ventures||766||45||284||(87)|
|Other (expenses) income, net||(39)||(95)||(79)||21|
|Bad debt recovery||95||–||95||–|
|Income tax expense||(13)||(5)||(13)||(5)|
Net income (loss) for the period
|Net earnings (loss) per share (basic)||0.66||(0.04)||0.23||(0.06)|
|Net earnings (loss) per share (diluted)||0.65||(0.04)||0.23||(0.06)|
|at Jun. 30||at Dec. 31|
|Total non-current liabilities||744||821|
1. See 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, 2020). 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.