Murchison United NL
14 September 2001
Murchison United NL
ASX, AIM and Media Release
13 September 2001
SOLID OPERATING PERFORMANCE BY RENISON BELL DESPITE WEAK TIN PRICES
Murchison United NL (ASX:MUR, AIM:MUU) today announced an operating profit
before tax of A$13.8 million excluding significant items representing 16.3
cents per share. The result represents a solid operating performance at the
Renison Bell mine in an environment of weak tin prices despite being lower
than last years comparable profit of A$23.0 million. The result was achieved
on decreased sales revenue of A$81.4 million and tin production of 8,976
tonnes, a slight decrease on the previous year.
Due to recent significant falls in the tin price to below cyclical lows, it
has been decided to write down the carrying value of Renison Bell by A$30.6
million to reflect the effects of lower tin prices and uncertainties in global
metal markets. The operating loss from ordinary activities after tax and
significant items of A$43.3 million was A$30.97 million.
The Company's cash position at year end was A$17 million and outstanding bank
debt A$3.0 million.
Renison Bell is well positioned to withstand the current low tin price
environment - the restructuring programmes and investment in new technology
over the past three years has transformed Renison Bell from one of the world's
highest cost producers to its current position amongst the lowest.
In addition, the exploration and development programmes at Renison Bell have
extended mine life and brought the Rentails tailings retreatment project to
prefeasibility status. A new ore reserve and resource statement has been
completed which increases mineable tin to 4.96 million tonnes at 1.76% Sn
representing approximately 60,000 tonnes of recoverable tin metal.
The Company remains well positioned to finalize an agreement to acquire Rio
Tinto's 49% interest in Somincor, the holding company for the Neves Corvo
copper mine in Southern Portugal. The agreement is conditional on the approval
of the Portuguese Government and its controlled entity EDM (Empressa
Desenvolvimento Mineiro, SA) to commence the divestment process for a further
Managing Director Paul Atherley commented: 'We are pleased with the solid
operating performance by Renison in the face of weak tin prices. The
write-downs are prudent in light of current uncertainties in global metal
markets. We remain focused on the Neves Corvo acquisition as the Company's
next step and hope to make an announcement shortly.'
For further information please contact:
Paul Atherley, Managing Director Tim Blackstone
Murchison United NL Blackstone Business Communications
Telephone: +618 9321 7448 +44 207 251 2527
Facsimile: +618 9321 7747 +44 207 251 2545
Email: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
In so far as this release refers to ore reserves or identified mineral
resources, the information is based on and accurately reflects, information
compiled by Mr Chris Mroczek who is a member of the Australian Institute of
Mining and Metallurgy and is the Chief Geologist for the Renison Bell mine. Mr
Mroczek has relevant experience in relation to the mineralisation being
reported on to qualify as a Competent Person as defined by the Australasian
Code for Reporting of Mineral Resources and Ore Reserves.