Griffin Mining Limited (“Griffin” or the “Company”) has today published its preliminary results for the year ended 31st December 2016. Griffin and its subsidiaries (together the “Group”) recorded:

  • Revenues of $66,270,000 in 2016 (2015 $59,779,000);
  • Operating profit of $15,201,000 in 2016 (2015 $4,301,000);
  • Profit before tax of $10,382,000 in 2016 (2015 loss $940,000); and
  • Profit after tax of $5,914,000 in 2016 (2015 Loss $2,186,000)

Although record throughput was achieved in 2016, lower zinc, lead and silver head grades caused by restricted mine access following the suspension in mining operations, resulted in lower zinc, lead and silver in concentrate being produced and sold than in 2015. However, gold in concentrate production was up 22.1% on 2015 to a record 12,654 ozs.

Metal in concentrate prices received were significantly higher in 2016 than in 2015 with zinc metal in concentrate prices received of $1,520 per tonne up 27.6% on that received in 2015 of $1,191; silver of $13.25 per oz was up 10.9% from that received in 2015 of $11.95; and gold of $1,154 per oz up 10.6% on that received in 2015 of $1,043. This reflects higher market prices and a tightening of concentrate supply in China.

In summary, metal in concentrate sales in 2016 were:

  • 31,864 tonnes zinc compared with 38,514 tonnes in 2015;
  • 1,439 tonnes lead compared with 1,800 tonnes in 2015;
  • 310,611 ozs silver compared with 346,711 ozs in 2015; and
  • 12,654 ozs gold compared with 10,406 ozs in 2015.

Cost of sales of $37,851,000 in 2016 was down on that incurred in 2015 of $42,948,000. This reflects some economies of scale following the installation of the new ball mill and non productive costs during the suspension in mining in 2015.

874,983 tonnes of ore were processed in 2016 up 35,270 tonnes (4.2%) from 2015 of 839,713 tonnes. Despite this increase in throughput processing costs fell by 5.8% in 2016 with costs per tonne of ore processed down by 9.6%.

817,506 tonnes of ore were mined in 2016 up 245,691 (43.0%) from 2015 of 571,815. Mining costs rose 4.8% which with increased tonnage resulted in significantly lower costs per tonne of ore mined. Much of this reduction in costs may be attributed to non productive mine service costs during the suspension in mining activities in the later part of 2015 with no ore extracted.

817,506 tonnes of ore were hauled in 2016 up 220,445 (36.9%) from 2015 of 597,061. Haulage costs rose 26.5% which again with increased tonnage resulted in significantly lower costs per tonne of ore hauled. Much of this cost reduction reflects shorter distances hauled from higher mine levels.

Administration expenses (including those of the Caijiaying site) have risen 5.5% from $12,530,000 in 2015 to $13,218,000 in 2016. Underlying administration costs have fallen 12.5% with lower share based option charges, a fall in the value of the Renminbi and other cost savings. However, service fees to Guoxin based upon on Hebei Hua Ao’s profits have increased from a credit of $307,000 in 2015 to a charge of $1,983,000 in 2016.

With a return to profitability, bank loans are being repaid as quickly as possible resulting in finance charges falling from $5,084,000 in 2015 to $4,286,000 in 2016.

A fall in the value of the Chinese Renminbi and British Pound in 2016, caused foreign exchange losses of $532,000 (2015 $447,000) to be incurred.

Losses on the disposal of plant and equipment of $224,000 were recorded in 2016 compared to $48,000 in 2015.

Income taxes of $4,468,000 (2015 $1,246,000) have been charged in 2016. This includes a deferred taxation provision of $151,000 (2015 $813,000) and a charge of $573,000 in respect of deductions made in prior years since disallowed by the Chinese tax authorities.

Basic earnings per share in 2016 was 3.30 cents (2015 loss 1.22 cents) and diluted earnings per share was 3.26 cents (2015 loss 1.22 cents).

Bank loans of $14,891,000 were repaid in 2016 (2015 $3,171,000 drawn down) whilst cash and cash equivalents fell by $10,711,000 in 2016 (2015 reduction $1,520,000) with:

  • Net cash inflow from operating activities in 2016 of $21,903,000 (2015 $25,165,000); and
  • $11,104,000 invested in mine development and plant upgrades in 2016, (2015 $16,044,000).

Attributable net assets per share at 31st December 2016 was 80 cents ( 2015 78 cents).

With cash flows from operations directed to repaying banking facilities the directors do not recommend the payment of a dividend at this time.


Chairman’s Statement:

2016 was a year when the aberration of our first loss in a decade in 2015 was cast aside and profitability was restored.

Financially, the Company made an operating profit of $15.2 million, profit before tax of $10.4 million and after profit tax of almost $6 million. Operationally, a record number of tonnes were mined and processed whilst cost of sales fell significantly, even though only low grade ore could be processed via stockpiles during the cessation of mining activity and, upon recommencement of mining, only from residual low grade ore in the higher mine levels. Notably, gold production reached a new record high of 12,654 ounces in concentrate.

Further good news included the completion of the upgrade on the 28th January 2016 to the mine and processing facilities to a 1.5 million tonne throughput capacity, the addition of a second 35,000 volt grid power line to site, a new safety permit over the lower levels of Zone III and the continuing drive to improve efficiencies with the commissioning of a new, electro hydraulic longhole drill rig.

Non-operationally, almost $15 million of debt was repaid in 2016. And although I believe share price is a very poor indicator of a Company’s value and performance, it is pleasing to see that the share price has increased over 115% in the past 12 months.

Critically, the fundamental outlook for zinc continues to improve. According to the International Lead and Zinc Study Group, the zinc market continues to register a supply deficit, short 268,000 tonnes in 2016 and, in January 2017, already short 27,000 tonnes with storage at the London Metal Exchange declining 31,000 tonnes. This is being reflected in lower smelter charges and a higher overall zinc price.

Most pleasing, on the 14th December 2016 and in the presence of the Australian Ambassador to China and senior officials from the Ministry of Land and Resources and Zhangjiakou City, an agreement was signed whereby the Company was granted the right to explore, in particular, the Shitouhulun and Sangongdi areas near the Caijiaying Mine. Both areas share the same geological signatures as the known orebodies at the Caijiaying Mine and high hopes exist for exploration success once work begins on these regions.

It would, of course, be disingenuous of me to hide the fact that our overwhelming, continuing, disappointment lies in the failure to be granted a mining licence over Zone II and thereby increase our throughput to our now expanded processing capacity. It has become a frustrating reality in the mining world that mining licences are taking ever longer to obtain due to administrative labyrinths, constant legislative changes, environmental issues needing over-addressing and native concerns being constantly satisfied. China is no different in this respect. The overwhelming question asked by shareholders is when will the licence be granted? I have made predictions in the past and have been proved horribly wrong. I will merely state I have high hopes for 2017.

It would be unfair of me not to thank the directors, staff and contractors who continue to strive to make the Company an even greater success than it has already become. Any organization is only as competent and dynamic as the people who work, think and act solely in the best interest of the Company. Ours are some of the best in the industry, and in country, and we thank them for their outstanding effort.


The full Preliminary Announcement is available as a PDF download, please click here.

For a copy of the 2016 Annual report please click here.