VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA -- (Marketwire) -- 03/20/13 -- Nevsun Resources Ltd. (TSX: NSU)(NYSE MKT: NSU) is pleased to report its financial and operating results for the year ended December 31, 2012. Unless otherwise noted, with the exception of earnings per share and cash cost per ounce figures, all results are in thousands of US dollars.
This release should be read in conjunction with Nevsun Resources Ltd.'s (Nevsun or the Company) consolidated financial statements for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011 and associated Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A), which are available on the Company's website at www.nevsun.com/investors/financials and on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and EDGAR (www.sec.gov).
Full year 2012 highlights
-- Operated safely and well below the industry average LTI rate with no fatalities-- Produced 313,000 ounces of gold in 2012, exceeding the top end of guidance-- Revenues of $566 million, with average realized gold price per ounce of $1,671-- Cash cost of $312 per ounce of gold sold, inclusive of royalties-- Generated $194 million in cash flow from operations-- Earnings of $0.73 per share attributable to Nevsun shareholders-- Increased mineral resource and reserve estimates from 2011/2012 drilling
"This past year represented the second year of gold production for the Company's 60%-owned Bisha Mine" stated Cliff Davis, President and CEO of Nevsun. "The Company surpassed the top end of its production guidance, which in turn, allowed the Company to achieve record revenues, remain among the lowest cost gold producers in the world, and generate strong operating cash flows. This excellent operating performance is not only due to the fact that Bisha is one of the highest grade open pit deposits in the world, but also due to the dedication of our site management and employees, and the strong support we receive from the State of Eritrea. We are also pleased to report that Bisha had zero lost time incidents during 2012 and that we strive to ensure that the Company's presence has a positive social and economic impact and that mining operations are conducted in a responsible manner.
During the year, the Company invested $64 million in the copper phase expansion and a further $24 million between sustaining capital for the gold facilities and exploration and evaluation expenditures. The Company paid $20 million in dividends, completed a $6.3 million share repurchase program, and paid in excess of $200 million of income taxes relating to 2011 and installments for 2012. Despite these expenditures, we maintained an exceedingly strong balance sheet through 2012, ending the year with almost $400 million in cash and no debt.
As 2013 unfolds, the transition from gold production by mid-year to a low cost copper concentrate producer will be pivotal for Bisha. The copper expansion project remains on budget and on schedule. In excess of 80% of the forecasted project expenditures of $125 million has been spent or committed. The copper production ramp up will continue through the second half of 2013 after which we are expecting copper production in 2014 to be in the order of 200 million pounds.