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Report and Accounts for the year ended 31 March 2017

29 September 2017

West African Minerals Corporation (LSE: WAFM), the mining and exploration group with a portfolio of assets in West Africa, presents its final audited results for the year ended 31 March 2017. The 2017 Audited Annual Report and Accounts will be available from the Company's website www.westafricanminerals.com.

 

Financial Highlights

  • Total Assets for West African Minerals Corporation ("WAFM") decreased by 0.9% to £22.2 million (2016: decreased to £22.4 million) largely due to operational losses of £0.5 million, offset by £0.3 million in gains from translating foreign denominated subsidiaries into Pounds Sterling.
  • Cash in bank equates to £3.1 million (2016: £3.6 million).
  • Operational expenses continue to be rigorously controlled at all levels.
  • During the financial year under review, the Group reported a total comprehensive loss of £0.2 million (2016: Loss £0.7 million).
  • Basic and diluted loss per share at 0.14 pence per share for all operations (2016: 0.15 pence).

 

Operational Highlights

  • Mineral Resource Estimate ("MRE") and Metallurgy at Sanaga:
  • Royal HaskoningDHV completed a Scoping Study on Sanaga, the results of which indicate positive economic potential.
  • The Ministry of Mines in Cameroon has finalised the approval of a lease-area reduction of WAFM's surface holdings from 4,117 km2 to 330 km2 (1 km2 extension of Sanaga has been requested to follow mineralisation and this may bring WAFM's surface holdings to 331 km2).
  • The Company continues to evaluate new business proposals that will generate shareholder value.

 

Cash Preservation

  • Due to the persisting weak market for iron ore and following the completion of the Sanaga Scoping Study, WAFM has successfully reduced operational and corporate expenditure, preserving its cash position during the year. 
  • The strategy to reduce expenditure to a bare minimum included significant reduction in the operational team and exploration field activities, the successful reduction in the lease area size under exploration permit in Cameroon (to include only areas of "known mineralisation") and a rationalisation of Corporate overheads.  This strategy will remain in place through the next financial year, until such time as the company makes a new investment or implements its regional steel production strategy, or sees a significant improvement in market conditions.

 

Chairman's statement

 

Dear Shareholders,

 

Outlook

 

The iron ore sector continues to see significant cyclical price pressure due to the decline in demand expectations from the key Chinese market coupled with new supply from established producers. Iron ore has traded between upper US$30's per tonne at the start of March 2016 up to mid US$60's per tonne at the end of March 2017 with a peak of around US$80 per tonne. Continued reduction in iron ore prices over the last few years has continued to cause significant stress for the industry.

 

West African Minerals ("WAFM") remains fortunate among its peers in that it has no debt, a healthy cash balance and low maintenance cash burn rate of less than US$ 1 million per year.  Our strategy remains to prudently and cautiously advance our most mature and promising iron asset toward production by securing appropriate infrastructure and seeking out compelling new business opportunities outside of iron ore where there may be significant unrecognized value. Our long-term view is that all mineral commodities are fundamentally cyclical and that those companies that can take advantage of periods of low asset valuations to build their portfolio will be well place to benefit from the eventual market recovery.

 

We continue to focus significant effort on how best to utilize our existing assets, notably the Sanaga deposit, as a low-cost feed source for a regional steel development opportunity and to review and evaluate new business opportunities. We will continue to preserve cash and only spend funds on compelling value generation opportunities.

 

Operations in Review

 

Sanaga

 

During the financial year ended 31 March 2017 the Company commissioned Royal HaskoningDHV to carry out a Scoping Study on Sanaga to investigate the technical and economic viability of the mining, infrastructure, process plant requirements and logistics necessary to produce a saleable product.  Sanaga is located 60km from the seaport of Douala in Cameroon and the railway from Yaoundé to Douala passes within 10km of the deposit.  While the study, the results of which were announced publicly in May 2017, suggests that the project has economic potential the Board does not believe it is prudent to spend significantly on the project in the current iron ore market environment.

 

Cash Preservation

 

WAFM continues to operate with a skeleton staff under a cash preservation budget and has maintained significantly reduced expenditure relating to its lease holding and service providers.

 

A limited work programme is being undertaken on the remaining Cameroon lease areas which is focussed on reviewing existing exploration data and a reconnaissance stream sediment sampling campaign. Semester and Annual reporting and other compliance related activities have been kept current.

 

Reduction of Exploration Lease Area in Cameroon

 

The Ministry of Mines in Cameroon has finalised the approval of a lease-area reduction of WAFM's surface holdings from 4,117 km2 to 330 km2 (1 km2 extension of Sanaga has been requested to follow mineralisation and this may bring WAFM's surface holdings to 331 km2).

 

New Business

 

The company continues to analyse new business proposals and your Board has considered a number of opportunities during the year under review.

 

Events Post Year End

 

In June 2017 Brad Mills resigned as a director of the company shortly after the company was informed that Plinian Capital was no longer a shareholder.  In the same month existing shareholder Panetta Partners Limited announced it held over 30% of the shares in the company.  In July 2017 the company appointed Dr Kunwar Shailubhai as a director.  Dr Shailubai has extensive experience in the life sciences field and is also Chief Executive Officer of AIM listed Tiziana Life Sciences plc.

 

Results to 31 March 2017

 

During the financial period under review, the Group reported a reduced loss from operations of £0.54 million (2016: £0.57 million).

 

The Company also assessed the carrying value of deferred mine costs relating to areas for which licenses were still held for impairment as at 31 March 2017 and considered that the recoverable amount of these assets exceeded the carrying amount and as such, no further impairment was recognised. There have been no indications of impairment since the last review.

 

The Company's Shareholders' Equity reduced by 1% primarily as a result of the operational costs incurred during the year.

 

Total costs capitalised to Deferred Mine Exploration costs stood at £12.2 million (31 March 2015: £11.8 million).

 

Cash stood at £3.15 million at the end of the year (31 March 2016: £3.57 million).

 

Total number of shares in issue as at the period end was 381.2 million, there were no new shares issued during the year.

 

Summary

 

The Board is frustrated that the global iron ore sector remains volatile but generally depressed.  Until market fundamentals resolve, WAFM will continue with its cash preservation program which has been in place for the last two years.

 

Given the company's focus on one commodity in one country the Board remains keen to identify other business opportunities which will generate near term shareholder value.

 

Gerard Holden

Non-Executive Chairman

28 September 2017

 

This announcement contains inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of EU Regulation 596/2014.

For further information contact:

    

West African Minerals Corporation

Gerard Holden

 

+44 (0) 1624 639 396

 

Beaumont Cornish Limited (Nominated Adviser)

Roland Cornish

Michael Cornish

 

+44 (0)20 7628 3396

Beaufort Securities Limited (Broker)

 

Jon Belliss

+44 (0)20 7382 8300