The mining and exploration company produced more than 73,000 gold ounces at its Queensland-based Cracow operation over the financial year, while the ASX-lister’s Tritton project in New South Wales churned out nearly 23,000 tonnes of copper.
FY21 proved to be an incredibly busy period for Aeris - acquiring the Cracow gold operation from fellow ASX-lister Evolution Mining Ltd (ASX:EVN) and discovering the high-grade Constellation copper deposit at Tritton.
Moving into the new financial year, Aeris has repaid $48 million of its senior debt parcel, reducing the amount owing to $27 million.
The company also recently bolstered its bank balance, executing a $50.4 million placement to fund exploration across its precious and base metal assets.
At the end of FY21, the explorer had $97 million in the bank, giving the company a positive net debt position equal to around $71 million.
“A transformational year”
Aeris executive chairman Andre Labuschagne said: “FY21 was a transformational year for Aeris, that has set us up for the future.
“There were many significant milestones during the year, which wouldn’t have been achieved without the support of our employees, shareholders and financier.
“We are looking forward to making FY22 another big year for the company.”
Cracow Gold Operations
Over the course of FY21, Aeris produced exactly 73,685 gold ounces at Cracow at an all-in sustaining cost (AISC) of $1,483 per gold ounce.
The ounce tally is at the upper end of Aeris’ guidance — the explorer hoped to produce between 70,000 and 75,000 gold ounces over FY21 — and the AISC is significantly lower than the predicted $1,525 to $1,575 cost range.
During the year, Aeris also upgraded the mineral resources across Cracow’s Roses Pride and Klondyke-Royal deposits.
Based just 500 kilometres northwest of Brisbane, the flagship Cracow Gold Operation is what Aeris credits as “transforming” the company.
Aeris paid $60 million upfront to purchase the gold play, with another $15 million payment invoiced for June 30, 2022.
The buy also includes a 10% net value royalty, effective from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2027, capped at $50 million.
Aeris believes it can reinvigorate exploration at the goldfield, which has produced over 1.4 million ounces of gold since mining began in 2004.
Since it acquired the operation, the ASX-lister has completed a prospectivity review and is now reviewing a suite of priority targets.
To follow up on the gold potential, an aggressive exploration campaign is planned for the coming financial year.
Tritton Copper Operations
Meanwhile, at its NSW-based Tritton copper play, Aeris churned out 22,987 tonnes of copper at an AISC of $3.70 per pound.
Once again, copper production came in at the higher end of previous guidance, which predicted the copper plant would produce between 22,500 and 23,5000 tonnes of resource.
Production AISC was in line with expectations, with Aeris predicting every pound of copper would cost between $3.60 and $3.75 to produce.
While more than 750,000 tonnes of copper have been discovered to date on the Tritton tenement package, Aeris believed the potential to uncover more copper at the asset was high.
This view was validated in November 2020, when the company discovered the Constellation deposit during its first drill hole.
Aeris says drilling results to date have exceeded expectations and Constellation is quickly shaping up to play an important role in the copper asset’s future.
In FY22, drilling will continue at Constellation with the aim of establishing a maiden mineral resource for the deposit’s open pit and underground operations.
First-pass drill testing is also on the cards for multiple greenfields exploration targets in the broader project area.