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 nine months ended September 30, 2022.
“In the first nine months of 2022, we added three new operations in North America which contributed to increasing our year-to-date revenue by $903,000 or 47% over the comparable period in 2021,” stated David Kratochvil, President & CEO of BQE Water. “Additionally, in the same period we nearly doubled our technical services revenue compared to last year, providing an indication of the strength of our project pipeline as well as expected future growth in our recurring revenue.”
- Added new recurring operational services revenues of $242,000 in Q3 2022 from a water treatment plant in the Yukon that commenced operations during the quarter.
- Grew Proportional Revenues by $205,000 or 4% and revenues by $730,000 or 26% compared to Q3 2021.
- Recorded net income of $573,000 and Adjusted EBITDA of $1.4 million in Q3 2022 compared to $1.5 million and $2.1 million in Q3 2021.
- Increased working capital to $7.3 million as at September 30 2022, an increase of $3.2 million from June 30 2022.
- Increased Proportional Cash to $9.7 million as at September 30 2022, an increase of $2.5 million from June 30 2022.
Other selected financial results for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 mos ended Sept 30||9 mos ended Sept 30|
|Revenues under GAAP||3,503||2,773||8,692||4,941|
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 for 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|
|Minto Mine for Minto Metals||Yukon, Canada||Water treatment fees|
|Kemess Property for Centerra||Northern BC, Canada||Water treatment fees|
|Zhongkuang Metallurgical Facilities for MWT||Shandong province, China||Operations support fees|
|Zhaojin Metallurgical Facilities for MWT||Shandong province, China||Operations support fees|
|Power utility ash pond for WesTech||Eastern USA||Water treatment fees|
|Base metal project for a metal producer||Southwestern 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 the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 mos ended Sept 30||9 mos ended Sept 30|
|Water treated (cubic metres)||6,395||7,949||15,183||18,075|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||1,097||1,128||2,509||2,594|
In Q3 2022, all three plants met mechanical availability and process performance set by the Company. 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 the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s)||3 mos ended Sept 30||9 mos ended Sept 30|
|Water treated (cubic metres)||185||139||504||481|
|Zinc recovered (pounds)||199||185||305||774|
|Copper recovered (pounds)||7||38||113||192|
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. In May 2022, we mobilized our operations team to site to commence our 19th operating season at the mine. Due to a drier season, the total volume of water treated across all four plants at Raglan Mine in Q3 2022 decreased by 19% compared to that of Q3 2021.
In August 2022, we entered into an operational services agreement with Minto Metals to operate a water treatment plant at Minto Mine. The mine is expected to treat approximately 750,000 to 1 million cubic metres of water per year. Our team mobilized to site on August 27, 2022 and began treating and discharging clean water.
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 Q3 2022, both SART plants operated for the full quarter as the upstream circuit 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 exchange for water treatment fees with fixed and variable components. During Q3 2022, we recommenced water treatment with the Selen-IX™ circuit as the upstream feed pumping system resumed operations.
In April 2022, we completed 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 ongoing plant operational services in exchange for water treatment fees comprised of a fixed guaranteed minimum and a variable fee linked to the volume of water treated. In Q3 2022, 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 nine months ended September 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in days)||3 mos ended Sept 30||9 mos ended Sept 30|
|Raglan Mine water treatment plants||92||92||122||115|
|Minto Mine water treatment plant||35||–||35||–|
|Zhongkuang SART plant||92||–||257||64|
|Zhaojin SART plant||64||48||87||112|
|Water treatment plant for US ash pond||92||–||273||–|
|Water treatment plant in the US||92||–||160||–|
The volume of water treated for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2022 are as follows:
|(in ’000s cubic metres)||3 mos ended Sept 30||9 mos ended Sept 30|
|Raglan Mine water treatment plants||1,316||1,628||1,534||1,773|
|Minto Mine water treatment plant||128||–||128||–|
|SART plants in China||160||76||266||232|
|Water treatment plants in USA||8||–||15||–|
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 Q3 2022 are summarized below.
Commercial Deployment of Selen-IX™ and Direct Selenium Electro-Reduction (ERC) Technology
- Continued to provide engineering services for a third Selen-IX™ plant currently in the construction stage for a US mine.
- Initiated lab testing and preliminary engineering for a new uranium project in North America.
- Initiated lab testing for selenium removal from Flue Gas Desulphurization scrubber blow-down water for a US utility.
Cyanide Recovery, Destruction and Thiocyanate Management
- Initiated technical assessments to improve cyanide destruction systems at two mines in the US.
- Initiated technical assessment to optimize cyanide destruction and effluent discharge using reverse osmosis at a large gold heap leach operation in Peru.
Water Consulting Services – Management, Treatability, Permitting Assistance, Toxicity Mitigation
- Continued to provide engineering design services for three water treatment plants to support permitting of the KSM project in BC.
- Continued to provide water treatment consulting services to support permitting of the Blackwater project in BC.
- Initiated a conceptual design study for water treatment to support the permitting of a new lithium project in Canada.
- Initiated the engineering design for a water treatment pilot plant to support permitting of a rare earth elements project 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.
- Continued to provide engineering design services for a water treatment plant to produce clean water for recycle at a mine in Mexico.
COMMENTARY AND OUTLOOK
2022 has, to date, been a year of promising growth for BQE Water in terms of our active project list, cash on hand and our future project pipeline. We also recorded another profitable quarter, with multiple encouraging developments, despite uncertainties in the global economy and rising inflation.
On the positive side, the success of our long-term business strategy and commercial model was demonstrated by:
- Signing a new multi-year plant operating services agreement with Minto Mine in the Yukon.
- Bringing into operation two US plants within the last nine months that are a source of steady recurring revenues.
- Nearly doubling our technical services revenue on a year-to-date basis compared to 2021, providing a good indication of the strength of our project pipeline as well as expected future growth in recurring revenues since technical services often precede plant operations services.
- Reaching record levels of working capital and cash derived from operations.
- Completing a successful demonstration of our Sulf-IX™ technology for sulphate removal at the first of multiple sites owned by the world’s largest copper producer Codelco in Chile.
Challenges consist of a mix of those we are actively managing and those that are outside of our control:
- An increase in the number of employees and the associated costs of hiring, onboarding and training for new water treatment plant operations and technical roles in engineering, projects, lab and piloting has slightly reduced our operating margin. However, investing in building our team for the long term is essential to our growth and success.
- Inflation and a tight labour market are driving year-over-year increases in expenses through compensation adjustments, corporate insurance, employee health benefits and other professional service fees.
- A drought in China during a period that is normally the “wet season” reduces the income earned from our China joint venture.
Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, we expect continued strong revenues from operations and technical services as these are directly underpinned by our solid project pipeline. However, we are anticipating a shortfall in copper sales from our China joint venture to further increase in Q4 2022 as the Dexing region enters the dry season earlier than usual. While this shortfall in copper sales will reduce the share of income received from the joint venture, we anticipate it will be partially offset by the increase in revenues from operations and technical services.
We expect results for the remainder of the year to produce another consecutive year-over-year increase in working capital driven by normal operations. We also anticipate our project pipeline will remain robust as we enter 2023. As always, we need to caution investors about the possible negative impacts of a downturn in the global economy and particularly the resource sector on our performance. However, our proven and unique expertise in supporting clients with their environmental compliance and sustainable water treatment needs is highly supportive of our long-term outlook for strong corporate growth.
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 Sept 30||9 mos ended Sept 30|
|Operating expenses (excluding depreciation)||(1,759)||(1,088)||(5,063)||(2,540)|
|Share of income from joint ventures||281||700||1,743||2,304|
|General and administration||(591)||(427)||(1,774)||(1,287)|
|Sales and development||(414)||(273)||(1,205)||(1,104)|
|Depreciation and amortization||(70)||(37)||(183)||(111)|
|Income from operations and joint ventures||778||1,629||1,748||1,911|
|Other expenses, net||84||34||(35)||(45)|
|Bad debt recovery||–||–||–||95|
|Income tax expense||(289)||(118)||(309)||(130)|
|Net income for the period||573||1,545||1,404||1,831|
|Net earnings per share (basic)||0.46||1.25||1.13||1.49|
|Net earnings per share (diluted)||0.45||1.23||1.11||1.46|
|at Sept 30||at Dec 31|
|Total non-current liabilities||769||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.