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Aura Minerals Announces Second Quarter of 2014 Financial and Operating Results

TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - August 13, 2014) - Aura Minerals Inc. ("Aura Minerals" or the "Company") (TSX: ORA) announces financial and operating results for the second quarter of 2014.

This release does not constitute management's discussion and analysis ("MD&A") as contemplated by applicable securities laws and should be read in conjunction with the MD&A and the Company's condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the three and six months ended June 30, 2014, which are available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com and on the Company's website.

Highlights:

  • Income of $4,020 or $0.02 per share for the second quarter of 2014 compared to a loss of $49,873 or $0.22 per share for the second quarter of 2013;
  • Operating cash flow1 of $13,149 for the second quarter compared to $11,128 for the second quarter of 2013;
  • Net sales revenue in the second quarter of 2014 decreased by 20% over the second quarter of 2013;
  • Gold ounce ("oz") production for the three months ended June 30, 2014 was 15% lower as compared to the three months ended June 30, 2013;
  • Copper concentrate sales are from the shipment of 6,881 dry metric tonnes ("DMT") and 6,301 DMT of copper concentrate for the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, respectively;
  • Copper production at Aranzazu for the second quarter of 2014 and 2013 was 3,800,257 pounds and 3,205,000 pounds, respectively, an increase of 19%. On-site average cash cost1 per pound of copper produced, net of gold and silver credits was $3.07 for the second quarter of 2014 compared to $3.63 for the second quarter of 2013;
  • Gross margin of $11,151 for the second quarter of 2014, compared to a gross negative margin of $14,500 for the second quarter of 2013.

1 Please see cautionary note at the end of this press release.

Jim Bannantine, the Company's President and CEO, stated "Aura's continued focus on operational efficiencies and effective cost reduction programs has resulted in a profitable quarter for the Company. The first half of 2014 was relatively in-line with our production expectations and we are on track to meet 2014's guidance. Aura has been able to utilize the operating cash flow generated to manage its third party debt.

Through a dedicated continuous improvement program at San Andres we have increased production resulting in a significant decrease in cash cost per ounce produced through the first six months of 2014. In addition, we concluded collective bargaining negotiations with the local unions at San Andres which will help us to manage cash costs at the mine.

The Brazilian Mines' results, primarily Sao Francisco, have been affected by the tightening of the pit and the longer haul distances of both waste and ore. Sao Francisco implemented an additional push-back in the south area of the mine which will extend its mine life into 2015 but resulted in a higher cash cost per ounce than expected in the first half of 2014. Sao Francisco's cash costs are back on plan and guidance as of the end of the second quarter and for the year. Sao Vicente will continue with its closure during 2014 with its production resulting from ounces yielded during these activities. We're working on additional end of life value maximization opportunities for both Brazilian Mines.

During the first half of 2014 at Aranzazu, we increased production and significantly decreased treatment charges, refining charges and penalties through a combination of blending, better offtake terms negotiated and a focus on lower arsenic areas in the mine. The full plant expansion and partial roasting facility remain on hold pending financing. Our mine development remains focused on near-term production related development.

At Serrote, we continue to pursue a number of options to realize the value of the project including a revised sequential development and operating plan. This plan would result in lower capital expenditures and features an earlier phased execution schedule than that previously anticipated by the feasibility study.

The Company continues to work towards obtaining a structured financing that will allow achievement of our future operating and expansion goals."

Production and Cash Costs

The Company's production and cash costs1 for the three and six months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013 are summarized in the table below:

                                                                            
                           For the three months       For the three months  
                                  ended                      ended          
                              June 30, 2014              June 30, 2013      
                                         Cash                       Cash    
                        Oz Produced    Costs(1)    Oz Produced    Costs(1)  
                        -----------  ------------  -----------  ------------
San Andres                   22,223  $        683       15,374  $      1,146
Sao Francisco                21,276           966       26,771         1,053
Sao Vicente                   1,265         2,296       10,280         1,153
                        -----------  ------------  -----------  ------------
Total / Average              44,764  $        863       52,425  $      1,100
                        -----------  ------------  -----------  ------------
                                                                            

1 Please see cautionary note at the end of this press release.

                                                                            
                         For the six months ended   For the six months ended
                              June 30, 2014              June 30, 2013      
                                         Cash                       Cash    
                        Oz Produced    Costs(1)    Oz Produced    Costs(1)  
                        -----------  ------------  -----------  ------------
San Andres                   39,888  $        718       31,088  $      1,131
Sao Francisco                41,633         1,143       52,423         1,190
Sao Vicente                   6,485         1,326       19,328         1,273
                        -----------  ------------  -----------  ------------
Total / Average              88,006  $        964      102,839  $      1,188
                        -----------  ------------  -----------  ------------
                                                                            

Gold production at San Andres in the second quarter of 2014 has increased by 45% over the comparable period primarily due to improved recoveries in both the leaching and carbon stripping processes. Average cash cost per oz of gold produced1 in the second quarter of 2014 decreased by 40% over the second quarter of 2013. Higher mining costs were experienced in 2013 due to the additional waste material moved.

Gold production at Sao Francisco in the second quarter of 2014 was 21% lower than the second quarter of 2013 due primarily to the lower plant feed. Average cash cost per oz of gold produced1 in the second quarter of 2014 was 8% lower than the second quarter of 2013.

As a result of the suspension of mining and plant operations at Sao Vicente in the fourth quarter of 2013, there was no material moved or plant processing in the second quarter of 2014. The production of 1,265 ounces during the second quarter was achieved through the clean up around the plant. The average cash cost per oz of gold produced1 in the second quarter of 2014 was significantly higher than the second quarter of 2013 due to lower ounces yielded and ongoing costs incurred during its closure process.

At Aranzazu, Copper concentrate production increased by 21% in the second quarter of 2014 as compared to the second quarter of 2013, due to the effect of a 2% increase in copper grade and an 11% increase in the copper recovery. Aranzazu's mine development continued to be focused on near-term development in the second quarter of 2014. This is expected to continue throughout the year.

Average cash cost per pound of copper produced1 for the second quarter of 2014 improved by 16% as compared to the second quarter of 2013. These average cash costs are inclusive of net realizable value write-downs of $0.28 and $1.47 per pound of copper produced for the second quarters of 2014 and 2013, respectively. The average arsenic level in the copper concentrate was 1.05% during the second quarters of 2014 and 2013. Aranzazu continues to implement a successful program of blending to ensure that value is maximized from the sales of concentrate to its two customers, which has resulted in significant improvements in the levels of arsenic encountered in the concentrate production and accompanying decreases in treatment charges, refining charges and penalties on the concentrate shipments.

Brazilian Assets - Value Maximization

The Company continues to investigate multiple options to maximize the closure value of the assets of the Brazilian Mines, including the disposal of the plant and equipment.

1 Please see cautionary note at the end of this press release.

Revenues and Cost of Goods Sold

Revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2014 decreased by 20% compared to the three months ended June 30, 2013. The decrease in revenues resulted from a 27% decrease in gold sales and a 42% increase in copper concentrate sales.

The decrease in gold sales is attributable to a 16% decrease in gold sales volumes and an 11% decrease in the realized average gold price per ounce.

The increase in copper concentrate net sales is primarily attributable to a 9% increase in DMT sold and a 30% increase in average price realized. Total revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2014 at Aranzazu related to the shipment of 6,881 DMT of copper concentrate compared to 6,301 DMT of copper concentrate for the three months ended June 30, 2013. Total concentrate shipment revenues for the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013 were $1,697 per DMT and $1,307 per DMT, respectively. The higher concentrate shipment revenue per DMT is due to slightly higher commodity prices and significantly lower price adjustments.

For the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, total cost of goods sold from San Andres was $19,137 or $881 per oz compared to $22,801 or $1,319 per oz, respectively. For the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, cash operating costs were $817 per oz and $1,163 per oz, respectively, while non-cash depletion and amortization charges were $64 per oz and $156 per oz, respectively. There were no write-downs of production inventory to net realizable value for the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013.

At the Brazilian Mines, for the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, total cost of goods sold was $22,131 or $1,030 per oz compared to $53,832 or $1,573 per oz, respectively. For the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, cash operating costs were $1,000 per oz and $1,204 per oz, respectively, while non-cash depletion and amortization charges were $30 per oz and $370 per oz, respectively. The cash operating costs for the three months ended June 30, 2014 included no inventory write-down (2013: inventory write-downs of $12,349 or $361 per oz).

Total cost of goods sold from Aranzazu for the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013 were $12,830 or $1,865 per DMT and $19,112 or $3,033 per DMT, respectively. For the three months ended June 30, 2014 and 2013, cash operating costs were $1,674 per DMT and $2,525 per DMT, respectively, while non-cash depletion and amortization charges were $190 per DMT and $508 per DMT, respectively. The cash operating costs for the three months ended June 30, 2014 included a write-down of $1,080 or $157 per DMT to bring production inventory to its net realizable value (2013: $4,699 or $746 per DMT).

Additional Highlights

Other expense items for the second quarter of 2014 include general and administrative expenses of $2,548 (2013: $4,325). Additionally, the Company recorded finance costs of $1,123 (2013: $1,742), and other losses of $639 (2013: gain of $10,654). Loss before income taxes for the second quarter of 2014 was $4,020 (2013: $49,073).

The income tax expense for the three months ended June 30, 2014 was $2,709 and consisted of $2,253 in current income tax expense related to San Andres, and $456 in deferred tax expense. The income tax recovery for the three months ended June 30, 2013 was $16,856 and consisted of $485 in current income tax expense related to San Andres, and $17,341 in deferred tax recovery, which primarily related to deferred tax assets recognized on Aranzazu and Minosa during the period.

Outlook and Strategy

Aura Minerals' future profitability, operating cash flows and financial position will be closely related to the prevailing prices of gold and copper. Key factors influencing the price of gold and copper include, but are not limited to, the supply of and demand for these commodities, the relative strength of currencies (particularly the United States dollar) and macroeconomic factors such as current and future expectations for inflation and interest rates. Management believes that the short-to-medium term economic environment is likely to remain relatively supportive for commodity prices but with continued volatility. In order to decrease risks associated with commodity price and currency volatility, the Company will continue to evaluate available protection programs.

Other key factors influencing profitability and operating cash flows are production levels (impacted by grades, ore quantities, labour, plant and equipment availabilities, and process recoveries) and production and processing costs (impacted by production levels, prices and usage of key consumables, labour, inflation, and exchange rates).

Aura Minerals' production and cash cost per oz1 guidance for the 2014 year is as follows;

                                                                            
     Gold Mines                 Cash Cost per oz             2014 Production
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
     San Andres                      $800 - $950          75,000 - 85,000 oz
    Sao Francisco                  $900 - $1,050          75,000 - 85,000 oz
     Sao Vicente                    $ 525 - $675            5,500 - 7,500 oz
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Total                      $850 - $1,000        155,500 - 177,500 oz
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                            

Aranzazu's production for 2014 is expected to be between 18,000,000 and 19,500,000 pounds of copper at a range of $2.60 to $3.15 average cash cost per payable pound1 of copper.

To date, the indicators have been that the pro-rata guidance will be achieved at each operating mine.

For 2014, total capital spending is expected to be $26,000. Of this amount, $6,000 relates to the development and expansion of Aranzazu, while $8,000 relates to San Andres plant upgrades, Phase V of the heap leach expansion and community expenditures. The remaining portion is being spent on various miscellaneous projects in the group, including the Serrote development project. The capital expenditure programs for the expansion of Aranzazu and the development of Serrote remain dependent upon successful completion of expansion financing.

Conference Call

Aura Minerals' management will host a conference call for analysts and investors on Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. (Eastern Time) to review the second quarter 2014 results. Participants may access the call by dialing 416-340-9432 or the toll-free access at 1-800-952-4972. Participants are encouraged to call in 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to avoid delays.

Those who wish to listen to a recording of the conference call at a later time may do so by dialing 905-694-9451 or 1-800-408-3053 (Passcode 3778496#). The conference call replay will be available from 2:00 p.m. on August 14, 2014, until 11:59 p.m. (Eastern Time) on August 29, 2014.

Non-GAAP Measures

This news release includes certain non-GAAP performance measures, in particular, the average cash cost of gold per oz, average cash cost per pound of copper and operating cash flow which are non-GAAP performance measures. These non-GAAP measures do not have any standardized meaning within IFRS and therefore may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. The Company believes that these measures provide investors with additional information which is useful in evaluating the Company's performance and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for measures of performance prepared in accordance with IFRS.

Average cash costs per oz of gold or per pound of copper are presented as they represent an industry standard method of comparing certain costs on a per unit basis. Total cash costs of gold produced include on-site mining, processing and administration costs, off-site refining and royalty charges, reduced by silver by-product credits, but exclude amortization, reclamation, and exploration costs, as well as capital expenditures. Total cash costs of gold produced are divided by oz produced to arrive at per oz cash costs. Similarly, total cash costs of copper produced include the above costs, and are net of gold and silver by-products, but include offsite treatment and refining charges. Total cash costs of copper produced are divided by pounds of copper produced to arrive at per pound cash costs.

Operating cash flow is the term the Company uses to describe the cash that is generated from operations excluding depletion and amortization, stock based compensation, impairment charges and the effect of changes in working capital.

About Aura Minerals Inc.

Aura Minerals is a Canadian mid-tier gold and copper production company focused on the development and operation of gold and base metal projects in the Americas. The Company's producing assets include the copper-gold-silver Aranzazu mine in Mexico, the San Andres gold mine in Honduras and the Sao Francisco and Sao Vicente gold mines in Brazil. The Company's core development asset is the copper-gold-iron Serrote da Laje project in Brazil.

National Instrument 43-101 Compliance

Unless otherwise indicated, Aura Minerals has prepared the technical information in this press release ("Technical Information") based on information contained in the technical reports and news releases (collectively the "Disclosure Documents") available under the Company's profile on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. Each Disclosure Document was prepared by or under the supervision of a qualified person (a "Qualified Person") as defined in National Instrument 43-101 -- Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects ("NI 43-101"). Readers are encouraged to review the full text of the Disclosure Documents which qualifies the Technical Information. Readers are advised that mineral resources that are not mineral reserves do not have demonstrated economic viability. The Disclosure Documents are each intended to be read as a whole, and sections should not be read or relied upon out of context. The Technical Information is subject to the assumptions and qualifications contained in the Disclosure Documents.

Cautionary Note

This news release contains certain "forward-looking information" and "forward-looking statements", as defined in applicable securities laws (collectively, "forward-looking statements"). All statements other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements relate to future events or future performance and reflect the Company's current estimates, predictions, expectations or beliefs regarding future events and include, without limitation, statements with respect to: the amount of mineral reserves and mineral resources; the amount of future production over any period; the amount of waste tonnes mined; the amount of mining and haulage costs; cash costs; operating costs; strip ratios and mining rates; expected grades and ounces of metals and minerals; expected processing recoveries; expected time frames; prices of metals and minerals; mine life; and gold hedge programs. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements may be identified by the use of words such as "expects", "anticipates", "plans", "projects", "estimates", "assumes", "intends", "strategy", "goals", "objectives" or variations thereof or stating that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved, or the negative of any of these terms and similar expressions.

Forward-looking statements are necessarily based upon a number of estimates and assumptions that, while considered reasonable by the Company, are inherently subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties and contingencies. Forward-looking statements in this news release and related MD&A are based upon, without limitation, the following estimates and assumptions: the presence of and continuity of metals at the Company's Mines at modeled grades; the capacities of various machinery and equipment; the availability of personnel, machinery and equipment at estimated prices; exchange rates; metals and minerals sales prices; appropriate discount rates; tax rates and royalty rates applicable to the mining operations; cash costs; anticipated mining losses and dilution; metals recovery rates, reasonable contingency requirements; and receipt of regulatory approvals on acceptable terms.

Known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond the Company's ability to predict or control could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements. Specific reference is made to the most recent Annual Information Form on file with certain Canadian provincial securities regulatory authorities for a discussion of some of the factors underlying forward-looking statements, which include, without limitation, gold and copper or certain other commodity price volatility, changes in debt and equity markets, the uncertainties involved in interpreting geological data, increases in costs, environmental compliance and changes in environmental legislation and regulation, interest rate and exchange rate fluctuations, general economic conditions and other risks involved in the mineral exploration and development industry. Readers are cautioned that the foregoing list of factors is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect the forward-looking statements.

All forward-looking statements herein are qualified by this cautionary statement. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update publicly or otherwise revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information or future events or otherwise, except as may be required by law. If the Company does update one or more forward-looking statements, no inference should be drawn that it will make additional updates with respect to those or other forward-looking statements.

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