OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2022
- Capitalized exploration assets at the end of the quarter amounted to KSEK 639,503 (454,363).
- Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the period totaled KSEK 329,153 (124,291).
- Equity at the end of the quarter increased 82 percent to KSEK 986,209 (542,350).
- Result for the quarter amounted to KSEK -9,114 (-4,475).
- Earnings per share for the quarter amounted to SEK -0.01 (0.00).
- Cash flow for the quarter amounted to KSEK 143,287 (-45,603), mainly related to investments in core drilling, the water purification project, the infrastructure project “The bridge construction” in Viscaria, project development in Arvidsjaur and the directed share issue of approximately MSEK 235 on October 21.
- Total assets at the end of the quarter amounted to KSEK 1,063,693 (606,941).
JANUARY – DECEMBER 2022
- Result for the period amounted to KSEK -22,328 (-16,249).
- Earnings per share amounted to SEK -0.01 (-0.01)
- Cash flow for the period was KSEK 204,862 (123,339).
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS DURING THE PERIOD
- On October 7 2022, Copperstone submitted supplements to the environmental permit application for the Viscaria mine.
- On October 21, 2022, Copperstone completed a directed share issue of approximately MSEK 235 before transaction costs, by which Thomas von Koch became the company’s largest shareholder. Transaction costs amounted to MSEK 2.75 or 1.17 percent.
- On November 18, 2022, the mineral resources at Viscaria were upgraded, with the measured and measured & indicated mineral resources in the A/B/D zones increasing by 43 percent and 23 percent, respectively, and expected to secure a further 3-4 years of future production.
- On December 1, 2022, an Extraordinary General Meeting was held at which Per Colleen was elected as a Board Member.
- On December 7, 2022, Copperstone presented groundbreaking results from the water purification plant, which was assessed on a large scale in late November in an authentic environment adjacent to Viscaria.
- On December 19, 2022, Henrik Ager assumed the position of President and CEO of Copperstone Resources.
- On December 29, Copperstone updated its applicable environmental permit application for Viscaria stating that no announcement would be issued by the Land and Environment Court before year-end.
SIGNIFICANT EVENTS AFTER THE PERIOD
- On January 4, 2023, Frida Keskitalo was appointed CFO.
- On February 8, 2023, Copperstone updated its applicable environmental permit application for Viscaria due to the request for supplementary information received from the Land and Environment Court. On February 20, a further request for supplementary information was received.
- On February 9, 2023, Norrlandsfonden chose to invest another approximately MSEK 5.6 in a convertible bond in Copperstone Resources.
- On March 8, 2023, Copperstone updated again regarding the environmental permit application for Viscaria.
The fourth quarter and the beginning of 2023 has been an intense period for Copperstone. As the new CEO, I am impressed by the competence in our team and the energy in the preparatory work to achieve our main objective – to reopen the Viscaria copper mine in Kiruna. The timing for opening Viscaria remains favorable. The demand for responsible, locally produced copper will increase significantly in conjunction with a more electrified society. In the next ten years, global demand for copper is expected to increase by approximately 45–50 percent, while there are not enough expansion projects to meet such a strong rise in demand. The recycling of copper is increasing, but that is only expected to cover half of the anticipated demand growth.
We are a small but growing company and it is important that we focus on the most essential areas of activity. They can be divided into four: pursuing the environmental permit process, planning and preparing a rapid restart of Viscaria, other value adding activities and financing.
Pursuing environmental permit process
Copperstone will continue its constructive dialog with the responsible authorities and other stakeholders to support the permit application process. On March 30, 2022, we submitted our environmental permit application to the Land and Environment Court (MMD). At the end of June, we received feedback from the Court and a number of consultation bodies, and on October 7, supplementary information was submitted. In February 2023, we received another request for supplementary information from the Court to which the company will respond on March 17, 2023, at the latest. The focus of this supplementary information is the clarification of the production conditions, logistics, water-related issues, waste rock management and adaptation to the Seveso Directive. No further field surveys or major modeling are expected to be required to prepare these supplements. The timing of the announcement and receipt of a permit is naturally outside our control, but we now deem it possible to obtain an environmental permit toward the end of 2023, provided that there is constructive correspondence and a date set for the main hearing. In the event of such a scenario, we still have the capacity to have a processing plant in place with production starting before end of 2025.
Preparations fully under way
In addition to the environmental permit process in 2022, we are making significant investments to prepare for the restart of the Viscaria mine. We constructed a bridge to simplify the access to the area. In November, we commissioned our large-scale pilot project for water treatment and these showed groundbreaking results. A reduction of as much as 97-99 percent is achieved for multiple metals (zinc, uranium, etc) resulting in significantly cleaner water being discharged into adjacent natural recipients. In January, we also commenced the process of applying for a permit to drain the Viscaria mine, which is currently waterlogged. The objective is to enable earlier pumping and water treatment and a faster start of mining as soon as the general environmental permit becomes legally binding.
During the fourth quarter, a resource upgrade was completed, in which we reported the outcome of the most recent two core drillings in Viscaria. The outcome was that our measured and measured & indicated mineral resources increased by 43 percent and 23 percent, respectively, due to a successful conversion to higher classification. The feasibility study for Viscaria commenced during the fourth quarter in close cooperation with the SRK consultancy. The first phase of the study focused on a detailed analysis of Viscaria’s financial conditions and the indicative results are very promising, with a significantly longer lifetime for Viscaria (15 years), maintained low cash cost and healthy financial returns, given the estimated investments and future copper price. See table below for more information. However, there is an increase in expected CAPEX, driven by both earlier and more extensive underground mining and the recent higher inflation. Based on the resource upgrade, further core drilling in Viscaria and this initial analysis, the work on a detailed feasibility study will commence shortly.
Other value adding activities
There are other value adding activities under way. To date, we have focused exploration activities in Viscaria on the planned A, B and D mining zones. Copperstone also has exploration permits for additional areas directly adjacent to Viscaria – areas where our geology team sees clear potential. Accordingly, we are considering further expanding our exploration activities during 2023 with the objective of increasing resources in the Viscaria area. In 2022, we also conducted core drillings and geophysical surveys in the Arvidsjaur project with favorable results. The purpose of the exploration was the quality assurance of mineral resources and to be able to upgrade the resources to the PERC 2017 standard, an upgrade that is estimated to be completed during 2023.
A couple of things have become even more obvious to me during my first months on the job. The preconditions for our Viscaria Project are favorable from a financial, social, geographical and environmental perspective. We have a competent, experienced and locally established team on site in Kiruna and an ownership structure that has enabled an ambitious environmental permit application, and investments in infrastructure, exploration and water treatment. This is a very solid platform for a new, major Swedish industrial project.
Henrik Ager, CEO Copperstone Resources