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2017-08-09 15:11 CEST
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SEMAFO Delivers Cash Flow from Operations of $23.6 Million in Second Quarter 2017

Results from Zone 9 Grade Control Program in Line with 2016 Reserves

Montreal, Quebec, August 9, 2017- SEMAFO Inc. (TSX, OMX: SMF) today reported its financial and operational results for the three-month period ended June 30, 2017. All amounts are in US dollars unless otherwise stated.

Second Quarter 2017 - in Review

  • Results from grade control program on Zone 9 are in line with 2016 reserves
  • Gold production of 47,600 ounces compared to 61,300 ounces for the same period in 2016
  • Gold sales of $59.3 million compared to $76.6 million for the same period in 2016
  • Total cash cost1 of $703 per ounce sold and all-in sustaining cost1 of $1,074 per ounce sold compared to $547 and $742, respectively, for the same period in 2016
  • Net operating loss of $0.8 million compared to an operating income of $14.4 million for the same period in 2016
  • Adjusted operating loss1 of $2.8 million compared to an adjusted operating income of $18.9 million for the same period in 2016
  • Net income of $9.3 million compared to $7.1 million for the same period in 2016
  • Adjusted net loss attributable to equity shareholders1 of 2.9 million or $0.01 loss per share1 compared to an adjusted net income of $14.4 million or $0.05 per share1 for the same period in 2016
  • Cash flows from operating activities2 of $23.6 million or $0.07 per share1 compared to $37.4 million or $0.12 per share1 for the same period in 2016
  • Drawdown of incremental $60 million from Credit Facility with Macquarie Bank Limited in June

Boungou Mine

  • Development on schedule with $69 million spent out of $231 million
  • Construction of the mine 35% complete
  • Pre-stripping at Boungou deposit has commenced
  • Water storage facility has been excavated and is ready to collect 2017 rainwater
  • million man-hours have been worked without lost-time injury

1 Total cash cost, all-in sustaining cost, adjusted operating income (loss), adjusted net income (loss) attributable to equity shareholders, adjusted basic earnings (loss) per share and operating cash flows per share are non-IFRS financial performance measures with no standard definition under IFRS. See the "Non-IFRS financial performance measures" section of the Corporation's MD&A, note 18.
2 Cash flows from operating activities exclude changes in non-cash working capital items.

Grade Control Results at Siou

Earlier this year, the mined grade was adversely affected by the geological interpretation of the upper portion of Zone 9, a mineralized zone in the south-west sector of the Siou pit that was first included in the 2017 mine plan. The upper portion of Zone 9 presents a complex geometry as the area comprises the junction of three different zones: Zone 9 itself, and two subsidiary zones known as Zones 55 and 56. This resulted in misleading ore outlines and led to significant variation in grade.

Following these issues, the Corporation changed its method of grade control from channel sampling to reverse-circulation (RC) drilling. We are now pleased to be in a position to provide grade control results for Zone 9. As at end of July, over 7,500 meters (in 200 holes) of in-pit RC drilling had been conducted to a vertical depth of up to 30 meters over 500 meters of mineralization over a grid of 12.5 meters by 6.25 meters in the Zone 9 area. This represents the ore expected to be mined from Zone 9 from May through December 2017. As shown in Figure 1, the results from the grade control program are in line with our 2016 reserves and confirm our expectation that the geometry is simpler and more rectilinear.

Table 1 below compares the new block model with the 2016 reserves block model for the same test area of Zone 9.

Table 1

New block model
(Mining area: May through December 2017)
668,000 tonnes at 4.52 g/t Au for 97,000 oz of gold contained
2016 reserves block model 633,500 tonnes at 4.82 g/t Au for 98,100 oz of gold contained

As expected, we exited the complex portion of upper Zone 9 in May. The ore mined in the months of May and June is in line with our new block model.

The Corporation reiterates its 2017 outlook of between 190,000 and 205,000 ounces of gold, at a total cash cost of between $685 and $715 per ounce and all-in sustaining cost of between $920 and $960 per ounce.

Figure 1: See attachment

Mana, Burkina Faso

Mining Operations

  Three-month period Six-month period
  ended June 30, ended June 30,
  2017 2016 Variation 2017 2016 Variation
Operating Data            
Ore mined
(tonnes)
503,200   564,500   (11 %) 982,600   1,064,800   (8 %)
Ore processed
(tonnes)
675,500   604,500   12 % 1,407,300   1,287,400   9 %
Waste mined
(tonnes)
3,947,600   4,809,700   (18 %) 8,586,000   8,269,100   4 %
Operational
stripping ratio
7.8   8.5   (8 %) 8.7   7.8   12 %
Head grade (g/t) 2.31   3.33   (31 %) 2.43   3.18   (24 %)
Recovery (%) 95   95   - 94   93   1 %
Gold ounces
produced
47,600   61,300   (22 %) 103,000   122,600   (16 %)
Gold ounces
sold
46,900   60,700   (23 %) 101,600   123,500   (18 %)
             
Statistics
(in dollars)
           
Average realized
selling price (per ounce)
1,265   1,262   - 1,242   1,224   1 %
Cash operating cost
(per tonne processed)¹
43   49   (12 %) 48   46   4 %
Total cash cost
(per ounce sold)¹
703   547   29 % 701   526   33 %
All-in sustaining cost
(per ounce sold)¹
1,074   742   45 % 976   719   36 %
Depre-
ciation
(per ounce sold)²
527   331   59 % 491   303   62 %

1 Cash operating cost, total cash cost and all-in sustaining cost are non-IFRS financial performance measures with no standard definition under IFRS. See the "Non-IFRS financial performance measures" section of the Corporation's MD&A, note 18.
2 Depreciation per ounce sold is a non-IFRS financial performance measure with no standard definition under IFRS and represents the depreciation expense per ounce sold.

2017 Second Quarter Results

As expected, grade in the quarter was adversely affected by the geological interpretation of the upper portion of Zone 9. Consequently, production in the second quarter totaled 47,600 ounces of gold compared to 61,300 ounces in the prior-year quarter. During the second quarter of 2017, the ore processed was 675,500 tonnes at an average grade of 2.31 g/t Au, including 194,100 tonnes of low-grade material not included in our reserves. The latter results from a decision to take advantage of higher gold prices and available milling capacity in order to generate additional cash flow. Absent the impact of this decision, the head grade would have been 2.94 g/t Au. The decrease in gold ounces produced and sold is a direct result of lower head grade, partially offset by higher throughput.

The Corporation's second quarter gold sales decreased relative to 2016 due to lower gold ounces sold, and resulted in a decrease in government royalties. The 2017 increase in depreciation of property, plant and equipment mainly reflects a higher capitalized stripping ratio from Siou at depth compared to the same period in 2016. Second quarter operating income decreased compared to the same period in 2016, primarily as a result of lower gold sales and higher depreciation, partially offset by lower share-based compensation expense. The decrease in cash flow from operating activities in the quarter compared to the same period in 2016 is due to lower gold sales following a decrease in production.

In the second quarter of 2017, our cash operating cost per tonne processed totaled $43 compared to $49 in the prior year. The decrease is attributable to a lower operational stripping ratio combined with higher throughput compared to 2016. The total cash cost and all-in sustaining cost reached $703 and $1,074 per ounce sold, respectively, compared to $547 and $742 per ounce sold, respectively, for the same period in 2016. The 2017 cost results are due to the lower head grade, partially offset by a lower cash operating cost per tonne.

Boungou Mine

To date, construction of the Boungou Mine is progressing well and is on time and on budget. As at June 30, 2017, the following key components had been advanced:

  • Development on schedule, with $69 million spent
  • Construction of the mine 35% complete
  • Concrete works are progressing on the SAG, vertimill, crusher and surge bin foundations
  • Erection of the leach and water tanks has commenced
  • On-site delivery of the vertimill, the first long-lead item
  • Work has commenced on the power plant and fuel depot
  • Water storage facility has been excavated and is ready to collect 2017 rainwater
  • Pre-stripping at the Boungou deposit has commenced
  • Receipt of the mining convention from the Council of Ministers of the Government of Burkina Faso
  • 1,540 personnel including contractors were employed on site, 93% of which are Burkinabe
  • 1.1 million man-hours have been worked without lost-time injury

Exploration

Mana Project, Burkina Faso

Exploration drilling at Mana in the quarter targeted the Siou deposit at depth. Year to date, a total of 49 holes (17,400 meters) mainly tested the southern part of the Siou mineralized structures at depth up to 50-meter by 50-meter spacing, including 8 holes (2,800 meters) for geotechnical studies. The delineation program was completed in July 2017. The objectives of this program are to expand the resources at Siou, convert inferred resources into the indicated category and complete a pre-feasibility study in the first quarter of 2018.

Under the regional program, a total of 32,780 meters of auger drilling was carried out in the first half of the year over the Mana Ouest, Fobiri II and Bara permits.

Tapoa (Boungou Mine)

West and East Flank Sectors

In the second quarter, exploration activities principally involved completion of the infill program (40-meter by 40-meter spacing) on the West and East Flank Sectors of the Boungou reserves pit. A total of 49,400 meters of drilling in 326 holes was carried out in the first half of the year, most of which was for the infill program, with the objective of bringing the inferred resources into the indicated resources category in order to complete a pre-feasibility study in the first quarter of 2018. Results continue to be in line with the 80-meter x 80-meter model. The East Flank, although much smaller, has a similar structure to that of the West Flank.

The geotechnical drilling program on the East and West Flanks has also been completed, and samples have been sent to Rocklab in South Africa to establish engineering parameters. Results are expected in the third quarter of 2017. Analysis of the rock mechanics will be used in the design of the underground stoping in the pre-feasibility study.

Regional Exploration

In the second quarter, a 60,000-meter auger drill program was initiated on the Bossoari, Dangou and Pambourou permits located within the Tapoa Project. In 2016, a soil sampling program was conducted on the Bossoari permit located southwest of the Boungou permit. A total of 22,000 meters was drilled in 2,375 holes on the three properties in the quarter, and results will be used to define RC drill targets later in the year.

Exploration RC drilling commenced at the beginning of June to test auger drill anomalies along the 045 Trend and the Bossoari target. To date, 32 holes (1,450 meters, part of the above 49,400 meters of infill drilling) have been completed.

Kongolokoro (Houndé Greenstone Belt)

Exploration activities commenced in the quarter on the Milpo permit where a 6,700-meter RC drill program was conducted in 67 holes. The program is now complete, and no significant results were reported.

In July, a 1,200-meter core drill program was initiated on the Dynikongolo permit with the aim of finding extensions to the Bantou mineralized zone.

Korhogo Ouest (Côte d'Ivoire)

A first trenching exploration program commenced in March this year on our Korhogo Ouest permit in Côte d'Ivoire located at some 60 kilometers from the Tongon Mine. The program follows up the airborne geophysical and soil geochemical surveys completed in 2016. A total of 11 trenches has been completed, mapped and sampled (2,011 meters for 2,173 samples). Following encouraging trenching results, a 6,000-meter RC drilling program commenced in July.

SEMAFO's Management's Discussion and Analysis, Consolidated Financial Statements and related financial materials are available in the "Investor Relations" section of the Corporation's website at www.semafo.com. These and other corporate reports are also available on www.sedar.com.

Second Quarter Conference Call

A conference call will be held today, Wednesday, August 9, 2017 at 10:00 EDT to discuss this press release. Interested parties are invited to call the following telephone numbers to participate in the conference:

Tel. local & overseas: +1 (647) 788 4922
Tel. North America: 1 (877) 223 4471
Webcast: www.semafo.com
Replay number: 1 (800) 585 8367 or +1 (416) 621 4642
Replay pass code: 48335908
Replay expiration: August 30, 2017

About SEMAFO

SEMAFO is a Canadian-based mining company with gold production and exploration activities in West Africa. The Corporation operates the Mana Mine in Burkina Faso, which includes the high-grade satellite deposit of Siou, and is targeting production start-up of the Boungou Mine in the third quarter of 2018. SEMAFO's strategic focus is to maximize shareholder value by effectively managing its existing assets as well as pursuing organic and strategic growth opportunities.

CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and assumptions and accordingly, actual results and future events could differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statements. You are hence cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements include words or expressions such as "expected", "outlook", "objectives", "will", "aim", "encouraging", "targeting", "pursuing", "growth", "opportunities" and other similar words or expressions. Factors that could cause future results or events to differ materially from current expectations expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements include the ability to mine the expected ore from Zone 9 from May through December 2017, the accuracy of our new block model, the ability to meet our 2017 gold outlook of between 190,000 and 205,000 ounces of gold at a total cash cost of between $685 and $715 per ounce and all-in sustaining cost of between $920 and $960 per ounce, the ability to expand the resources at Siou, convert inferred resources into the indicated category and complete a pre-feasibility study in the first quarter of 2018, the ability to bring the inferred resources into the indicated resources category in order to complete a pre-feasibility study in the first quarter of 2018 at Natougou, the ability of the 1,200-meter core drill program on the Dynikongolo permit to find extensions to the Bantou mineralized zone, the accuracy of our assumptions, the ability to execute on our strategic focus, fluctuation in the price of currencies, gold prices and operating costs, mining industry risks, uncertainty as to calculation of mineral reserves and resources, delays, political and social stability in Africa (including our ability to maintain or renew licenses and permits) and other risks described in SEMAFO's documents filed with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. You can find further information with respect to these and other risks in SEMAFO's 2016 Annual MD&A, as updated in SEMAFO's 2017 First Quarter MD&A, 2017 Second Quarter MD&A, and other filings made with Canadian securities regulatory authorities and available at www.sedar.com. These documents are also available on our website at www.semafo.com. SEMAFO disclaims any obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, except as required by applicable law.

The information in this release is subject to the disclosure requirements of SEMAFO under the Swedish Securities Market Act and/or the Swedish Financial Instruments Trading Act. This information was publicly communicated on August 9, 2017 at 7:00 a.m., Eastern Daylight Time.

For more information, contact

Robert LaVallière
Vice-President, Corporate Affairs & Investor Relations
Email: Robert.Lavalliere@semafo.com
Cell: +1 (514) 240 2780

Ruth Hanna
Analyst, Investor Relations
Email: Ruth.Hanna@semafo.com

Tel. local & overseas: +1 (514) 744 4408
North America Toll-Free: 1 (888) 744 4408
Website: www.semafo.com

Consolidated Results and Mining Operations

Financial and Operating Highlights

    Three-month period   Six-month period
    ended June 30,   ended June 30,
    2017 2016 Variation   2017 2016 Variation
                 
Gold ounces produced   47,600   61,300 (22 %)   103,000   122,600 (16 %)
Gold ounces sold   46,900   60,700 (23 %)   101,600   123,500 (18 %)
                 
(in thousands of dollars,
except amounts per share)
               
Revenues - Gold sales   59,315   76,590   (23 %)   126,201   151,146 (17 %)
                 
Mining operation expenses   30,573   30,071   2 %   66,138   58,793   12 %
Government royalties   2,389   3,139   (24 %)   5,081   6,157   (17 %)
Depreciation of property,
plant and equipment
  24,795   20,164   23 %   50,063   37,504   33 %
Share-based compensation   (1,095 ) 5,127   -   124   8,805   (99 %)
Other   3,408   3,661   (7 %)   7,335   7,623   (4 %)
                 
Operating income (loss)   (755 ) 14,428   -   (2,540 ) 32,264   -
                 
Finance income   (800 ) (573 ) 40 %   (1,536 ) (946 ) 62 %
Finance costs   321   1,062   (70 %)   645   1,364   (53 %)
Foreign exchange (gain) loss   (6,103 ) 2,714   -   (6,932 ) (2,195 ) 216 %
Income tax expense (recovery)   (3,521 ) 4,147   -   (1,681 ) 8,272   -
                 
Net income for the period   9,348   7,078   32 %   6,964   25,769   (73 %)
                 
Attributable to
equity shareholders
               
Net income   8,854   5,304   67 %   6,163   21,488   (71 %)
 Basic earnings per share   0.03   0.02   50 %   0.02   0.07   (71 %)
 Diluted earnings per share   0.03   0.02   50 %   0.02   0.07   (71 %)
                 
Adjusted amounts                
Adjusted operating income (loss)1   (2,754 ) 18,911   -   (4,643 ) 38,984   -
Adjusted net income (loss)
attributable to equity shareholders¹
  (2,893 ) 14,394   -   (7,267 ) 25,355   -
 Per share¹   (0.01 ) 0.05   -   (0.02 ) 0.08   -
                 
Cash flows                
Cash flows from operating activities²   23,614   37,390 (37 %)   46,761   72,594   (36 %)
 Per share¹   0.07   0.12 (42 %)   0.14   0.24   (42 %)

     

1 Adjusted operating income (loss), adjusted net income (loss) attributable to equity shareholders, adjusted basic earnings (loss) per share and operating cash flows per share are non-IFRS financial performance measures with no standard definition under IFRS. See the "Non-IFRS financial measures" section of the Corporation's MD&A, note 18.
2 Cash flows from operating activities exclude changes in non-cash working capital items.

Interim Consolidated Statement of Financial Position
(Expressed in thousands of US dollars - unaudited)

    As at   As at
    June 30,   December 31,
    2017   2016
    $   $
Assets        
         
Current assets        
Cash and cash equivalents   283,297     273,772  
Trade and other receivables   23,952     16,945  
Inventories   47,006     51,391  
Other current assets   3,946     2,513  
    358,201     344,621  
Non-current assets        
Advance receivable   3,028     3,060  
Restricted cash   21,191     5,689  
Property, plant and equipment   585,222     536,237  
Intangible asset   1,481     1,595  
Other non-current assets   1,434     4,074  
    612,356     550,655  
Total assets   970,557     895,276  
         
Liabilities        
         
Current liabilities        
Trade payables and accrued liabilities   61,262     41,964  
Current portion of long-term debt   310     310  
Share unit plans liabilities   4,695     6,635  
Provisions   3,230     3,271  
Income tax payable   1,953     5,422  
    71,450     57,602  
Non-current liabilities        
Long-term debt   114,241     56,726  
Share unit plans liabilities   1,745     4,899  
Provisions   9,748     8,137  
Deferred income tax liabilities   30,426     32,329  
    156,160     102,091  
Total liabilities   227,610     159,693  
         
Equity        
         
Equity Shareholders        
Share capital   621,996     621,902  
Contributed surplus   7,324     7,357  
Accumulated other comprehensive income   1,434     1,095  
Retained earnings   83,837     77,674  
    714,591     708,028  
Non-controlling interest   28,356     27,555  
         
Total equity   742,947     735,583  
Total liabilities and equity   970,557     895,276  
         

Interim Consolidated Statement of Income
(Expressed in thousands of US dollars, except per share amounts - unaudited)

    Three-month period   Six-month period
    ended June 30,   ended June 30,
    2017 2016   2017 2016
    $ $   $ $
             
Revenue - Gold sales   59,315   76,590     126,201   151,146  
             
Costs of operations            
Mining operation expenses   32,962   33,210     71,219   64,950  
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment   24,795   20,164     50,063   37,504  
General and administrative   3,329   3,481     6,871   7,308  
Corporate social responsibility expenses   79   180     464   315  
Share-based compensation   (1,095 ) 5,127     124   8,805  
             
Operating income (loss)   (755 ) 14,428     (2,540 ) 32,264  
             
Other expenses (income)            
Finance income   (800 ) (573 )   (1,536 ) (946 )
Finance costs   321   1,062     645   1,364  
Foreign exchange (gain) loss   (6,103 ) 2,714     (6,932 ) (2,195 )
             
Income before income taxes   5,827   11,225     5,283   34,041  
             
Income tax expense (recovery)            
Current   514   6,611     2,235   10,565  
Deferred   (4,035 ) (2,464 )   (3,916 ) (2,293 )
    (3,521 ) 4,147     (1,681 ) 8,272  
             
Net income for the period   9,348   7,078     6,964   25,769  
             
Attributable to:            
Equity shareholders   8,854   5,304     6,163   21,488  
Non-controlling interests   494   1,774     801   4,281  
    9,348   7,078     6,964   25,769  
             
Earnings per share            
Basic   0.03   0.02     0.02   0.07  
Diluted   0.03   0.02     0.02   0.07  

Interim Consolidated Statement of Comprehensive Income
(Expressed in thousands of US dollars - unaudited)

    Three-month period   Six-month period
    ended June 30,   ended June 30,
    2017 2016   2017 2016
    $ $   $ $
             
Net income for the period   9,348   7,078     6,964   25,769  
             
             
Other comprehensive income            
 Item that may be classified to net income            
 Change in fair value of the investment in GoviEx (net of tax of nil)    (479 ) -     339   -  
Total comprehensive income for the period, net of tax   8,869   7,078     7,303   25,769  
Attributable to:            
Equity shareholders   8,375   5,304     6,502   21,488  
Non-controlling interest   494   1,774     801   4,281  
    8,869   7,078     7,303   25,769  

Interim Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows
(Expressed in thousands of US dollars - unaudited)

    Three-month period   Six-month period
    ended June 30,   ended June 30,
    2017 2016   2017 2016
    $ $   $ $
             
Cash flows from (used in):            
             
Operating activities            
Net income for the period   9,348   7,078     6,964   25,769  
Adjustments for:            
Depreciation of property, plant and equipment   24,795   20,164     50,063   37,504  
Share-based compensation   (1,095 ) 5,127     124   8,805  
Unrealized foreign exchange loss (gain)   (5,331 ) 1,862     (6,339 ) (2,928 )
Deferred income tax expense (recovery)   (4,035 ) (2,464 )   (3,916 ) (2,293 )
Adjustment for withholding taxes   -   5,827     -   5,827  
Other   (68 ) (204 )   (135 ) (90 )
    23,614   37,390     46,761   72,594  
Changes in non-cash working capital items   (2,842 ) (3,578 )   (8,594 ) 3,187  
Net cash provided by operating activities   20,772   33,812     38,167   75,781  
             
Financing activities            
Drawdown (Repayment) of long-term debt   59,921   -     59,845   (30,000 )
Long-term debt transaction costs   -   (259 )   -   (259 )
Proceeds on issuance of share capital, net of expenses   12   87,238     61   88,643  
Dividend paid by a subsidiary to non-controlling interest   -   (10,359 )   -   (10,359 )
             
Net cash provided by financing activities   59,933   76,620     59,906   48,025  
             
Investing activities            
Acquisitions of property, plant and equipment   (43,864 ) (20,397 )   (81,096 ) (39,940 )
Increase in restricted cash   (15,077 ) -     (15,077 ) -  
             
Net cash used in investing activities   (58,941 ) (20,397 )   (96,173 ) (39,940 )
             
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents   6,372   (2,632 )   7,625   3,038  
Change in cash and cash equivalents during the period   28,136   87,403     9,525   86,904  
Cash and cash equivalents - beginning of period   255,161   166,667     273,772   167,166  
Cash and cash equivalents - end of period   283,297   254,070     283,297   254,070  
Interest paid   892   910     1,780   2,492  
Interest received   693   493     1,132   854  
Income tax paid   3,506   6,088     5,667   6,173  
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