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, 2022.
“After reporting strong results in 2021, we continued our growth trajectory in delivering a strong second quarter in 2022. To date this year, we have brought online and added two new streams of recurring revenues to our operations. The first is a facility to remove selenium from ash pond water in Virginia and the second a plant to simultaneously remove selenium and sulphate from mine water for a base metal project in Arizona,” stated David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water.
- Added new recurring operational services revenues of $344,000 in Q2 2022 from two new water treatment plants in the US that commenced operations in 2022.
- Grew Proportional Revenues by $1.0 million or 24% and revenues by $1.5 million or 129% compared to Q2 2021.
- Increased operating margin from $244,000 in Q2 2021 to $949,000 in Q2 2022.
- Recorded net income of $642,000 and Adjusted EBITDA of $1.3 million in Q2 2022 compared to $809,000 and $1.4 million in Q2 2021.
- Ended Q2 2022 with $4.0 million in working capital, $2.9 million in cash and $7.2 million in Proportional cash.
- Subsequent to the end of the reporting period, received a record $2.6 million dividend from our China joint venture.
Other selected financial results for the three and six months ended June 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 mos ended Jun. 30||6 mos ended Jun. 30|
|Revenues under GAAP||2,722||1,188||5,189||2,168|
OPERATIONAL SERVICES HIGHLIGHTS
Our operational services consist of the technical supervision and plant operation of water treatment plants, which generate recurring revenues from three main sources: sales of recovered metals, water treatment fees and operations support fees. Sales of recovered metals are based on the mass of metals recovered and market prices of metals sold. Water treatment fees mainly consist of a variable fee based on water treated and may include a fixed guaranteed minimum fee regardless of volume of water treated. Operations support fees are fixed fees in exchange of onsite plant support services. 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|
|Zhongkuang Plant for MWT||Shandong province, China||Operations support fees|
|Zhaojin Plant for MWT||Shandong province, China||Operations support fees|
|Power utility ash pond for WesTech||Virginia, USA||Water treatment fees|
|Base metal project for a metal producer||Arizona, USA||Water treatment fees|
JCC-BQE Joint Venture Operations
Our 50/50 joint venture with partner Jiangxi Copper Company 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 the three and six months ended June 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 mos ended Jun. 30||6 mos ended Jun. 30|
|Water treated (cubic metres)||5,925||7,702||8,788||10,126|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||1,010||1,262||1,412||1,466|
In Q2 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 decreased year-over-year by 23% and 20%, 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 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 the three and six months ended June 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 mos ended Jun. 30||6 mos ended Jun. 30|
|Water treated (cubic metres)||181||175||319||342|
|Zinc recovered (pounds)||45||319||106||589|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||52||78||106||154|
The mass of zinc and copper recovered decreased by 86% and 33%, respectively. The smelter periodically operated its production lines with ores from different sources, leading to varying levels 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 flowing into the plant.
BQE Water Operations
The Company operates four treatment plants at Raglan Mine for Glencore Canada Corporation. During Q2 2022, we mobilized our operations team to site to commence our 19th operating season at the mine. Operational activities were initiated in April and treated water began discharging in June.
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. In 2021 and to date in 2022, the Kemess property was not operating as it had been placed in an extended state of care and maintenance. Water treatment is not required under this state and the Selen-IX™ plant was not operational.
In 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 Q2 2022, the Zhongkuang SART plant operated for the full quarter and the Zhaojin SART plant resumed operations in early June as the upstream circuit gradually returned to normal operations.
At the end of 2021, we completed the commissioning of our first project in the power generation industry, a treatment plant utilizing our Selen-IX™ process to remove selenium from ash pond water for WesTech Engineering. We also began providing ongoing plant operational services in return for water treatment fees with fixed and variable components. During Q2 2022, due to issues with the upstream feed pumping system, water treatment with the Selen-IX™ circuit was not required and water was stored for treatment later in the year. Although the lack of feed had some effect on the recurring revenues from this operation, we continued to collect a base fee which represents the guaranteed minimum regardless of volume of water treated.
In April 2022, we completed the commissioning of a treatment plant utilizing a combination of nanofiltration and our proprietary selenium electro-reduction process to simultaneously remove selenium and sulphate from mine water for a base metal project in the American Southwest. Upon completion of commissioning, we began providing on-going plant operational services in return for water treatment fees comprised of a fixed guaranteed minimum and a variable fee linked to the volume of water treated. But due to a limited supply of feed water into our treatment circuits, we received only the fixed guaranteed minimum fee for the months during which the plant was ready to operate.
The number of operating days contributing to water treatment or support fees for the three and six months ended June 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in days)||3 mos ended Jun. 30||6 mos ended Jun. 30|
|Raglan Mine water treatment plants||30||23||30||23|
|Zhongkuang SART plant||75||–||165||64|
|Zhaojin SART plant||23||64||23||154|
|Water treatment plant in Virginia||91||–||181||–|
|Water treatment plant in Arizona||68||–||68||–|
The volume of water treated for the three and six months ended June 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s cubic metres)||3 mos ended Jun. 30||6 mos ended Jun. 30|
|Raglan Mine water treatment plants||218||145||218||145|
|SART plants in China||74||108||106||156|
|Water treatment plants in USA||–||–||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 Q2 2022 are summarized below.
Commercial Deployment of Selen-IX™ and Direct Selenium Electro-Reduction (ERC) Technology
- Continued to provide engineering services for a third large scale Selex-IX™ plant currently in the construction stage for a mine in the US.
Cyanide Recovery, Destruction, and Thiocyanate Management
- Performed a site assessment to integrate SART into an existing gold metallurgical plant in Canada.
- Completed cyanide recycle and cyanide destruction tests in a laboratory as the basis for design and cost estimates for projects in Canada and Mexico.
- Completed a prefeasibility study for a thiocyanate removal plant with concurrent cyanide recovery for re-use at an active mine in Mexico.
Water Consulting Services – Management, Treatability, Permitting Assistance, Toxicity Mitigation
- Continued to provide engineering design services for three water treatment plants for mine permitting in BC.
- Completed lab scale treatability testing for sulphate and metals removal to support permitting for the re-start of a base metal mine in Ontario.
- Continued to provide optimization services to an existing ammonia removal plant in Ontario.
- Completed engineering design for an ammonia removal facility for a large existing mining operation in Ontario.
- Completed lab scale testing for water treatment integration at a rare earth elements project to provide the basis for pilot plant design and permitting in South America.
- Completed an onsite sulphate removal pilot operation for Codelco at the El Teniente operation and initiated planning to move the pilot plant to the Andina operation in Chile.
- Provided management and operations supervision services for a water treatment pilot to remove boron in Peru.
COMMENTARY AND OUTLOOK
We recorded another solid quarter of financial results and reached several important new milestones in Q2 2022.
One milestone was the successful completion of commissioning and the start of ongoing operations of a second water treatment plant in the US. These two plants commenced operations within the last six months and contributed new recurring revenues of $439,000 on a year-to-date basis in 2022. Due to factors beyond our control, both plants received only a small fraction of the designed water volume to treat. As such, revenues from these operations reflect only our guaranteed minimum base fees which are fixed regardless of the volume of water treated. Looking ahead, we expect an increase in revenues from both sites as the volume of water requiring treatment increases.
A second milestone was the successful pilot demonstration of our Sulf-IX™ technology for sulphate removal at the El Teniente copper operation in Chile owned by Codelco as part of an 18-month multi-site and multi-technology project. Upon completion of the pilot, the mobile pilot plant will be moved to a second location where it will be combined with a copper recovery module to demonstrate our BioSulphide® process alongside sulphate removal.
A third milestone was the achievement of a record cash position at the end of a second quarter, which historically is the lowest due to the seasonality of our operations. This accomplishment was made possible due to a combination of factors including:
- New recurring revenues from our US operations that reduced the effect of seasonality on our overall revenues.
- A strong pipeline of active projects where we provide technical engineering services. Project highlights in Canada include the design of several new water treatment plants in BC and Ontario for mine permitting. In Chile, in addition to our continuing work for Codelco, our team has been providing lab testing and design engineering services for a rare earth elements project currently entering the permitting phase.
Lastly, our growth has been recognized publicly by Corporate Knights as one of the 25 fastest-growing green public companies in Canada (https://www.corporateknights.com/rankings/future-50/2022-future-50-ranking/). This recognition is a sign that our success is being noticed by the broader business community in Canada.
Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, we expect our strong financial performance to continue. We have a strong backlog of technical services projects and new recurring revenues from plants that commenced operations earlier in the year. As always, we would like to caution investors with respect to the uncertainties that could affect this positive outlook. Specifically, geopolitical risks, high inflation and monetary tightening could all have negative impacts on the world economy, including our sector. That said, we believe the environmental compliance and sustainability requirements of natural resource companies coupled with our healthy balance sheet and recurring revenues positions 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 environmental, social and governance trends.
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 mos ended Jun. 30||6 mos ended Jun. 30|
|Operating expenses (excl depreciation)||(1,773)||(944)||(3,304)||(1,451)|
|Share of income from joint ventures||1,129||1,580||1,462||1,604|
|General and administration||(579)||(459)||(1,183)||(860)|
|Sales and development||(436)||(378)||(791)||(831)|
|Depreciation and amortization||(59)||(37)||(114)||(74)|
|Income from operations & joint ventures||737||766||970||284|
|Other expenses, net||(77)||(39)||(119)||(79)|
|Bad debt recovery||–||95||–||95|
|Income tax expense||(18)||(13)||(20)||(13)|
Net income for the period
|Net earnings per share (basic)||0.51||0.66||0.67||0.23|
|Net earnings per share (diluted)||0.50||0.65||0.65||0.23|
|at Jun. 30,||at Dec. 31,|
|Total non-current liabilities||751||778|
1. 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.