BUSINESS

Ivernia stock plunges as company looks at strategic options amid low lead price

12/23/2014 10:19 EST | Updated 02/22/2015 05:59 EST
TORONTO - Shares in Ivernia Inc. were cut in half Tuesday after the junior mining company said its board has initiated a strategic review in light of reduced lead prices, which have dried up cash flows from its Paroo Station mine in Australia.

The company's stock (TSX:IVN) closed down 4.5 cents at four cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange as more than six million shares traded hands.

The Toronto-headquartered company, which reports in U.S. dollars and has its main operation in Western Australia, said earlier Tuesday its operations are not generating positive cash flow despite positive impacts from currency fluctuations and cost-cutting initiatives.

It had US$11.5 million of cash as of Tuesday's report, up from $2.9 million at the end of September. At the time of the quarterly report issued Oct. 28, the company said it expected to be cash flow positive in the fourth quarter following the sale of stockpiled inventory and collection of trade receivables, assuming no deterioration in lead prices.

However, it said Tuesday that as of Dec. 19, the LME cash settlement price was US$1,870 per tonne — a 14 per cent decline from the average achieved by the company in the third quarter.

In the three months ended Sept. 30, Ivernia lost $3.9 million — compared with a profit of $500,000 a year earlier. It said in the third-quarter report, issued Oct. 28, that the loss was primarily due to sales being constrained by the suspension of shipments of lead concentrate and a decline in prices during the later part of the quarter.

Ivernia said Tuesday that it's making progress on an updated life-of-mine plan, which will take into account revised resource and reserve estimates, a revised cost structure and lower lead prices.

The company expects to meet 2014 production guidance of about 80,000 tonnes of lead in concentrate. Demand for concentrate remains steady and sales are expected to be in a range of 77,000 and 78,000 tonnes.