The junior, which is listed in Johannesburg and Toronto, turned its Q4 FY2013 loss of $C3.36 million into a loss of $20,000 in the three months ended May 31.
Revenue improved from $13.47 million in Q4 FY2013 to $20.51 million in Q1 FY2014 and earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization amounted to $2 million compared with negative $2.58 million in the previous quarter.
Forbes president and chief executive officer Stephan Theron attributed the brighter quarter largely to improved operational efficiencies and strengthened production volumes.
“We have been successful at continuing to reduce our operating expenses this quarter which has been increasingly important as export coal prices have softened further,” Theron said.
Operating expenses for the quarter were $64.36 per ton, compared to $68.86/t for the same quarter last year.
The company’s Magdalena and Aviemore operations reported record production for the months of April and May, contributing to an increased total saleable production of 253,000t in Q1 FY2014, up 18% from Q4 FY2013 production of 214,000t.
“On the production side, we had a strong quarter and achieved record production in April and May 2013, which had a positive impact on the financial results of the company this quarter,” Theron said.
Run of mine production from Aviemore operations for the quarter was 138,000t, a 62% increase compared to 86,000t produced in Q4 FY2013.
ROM production from Magdalena combined underground and open pit operations for Q1 FY2014 was 309,000t, an 11% increase compared to 279,000t produced in Q4 FY2013.
The production for the quarter comprised 228,000t from the underground operations and 81,000t from the open pit.
Total ROM production from all operations for Q1 FY2014 was 447,000t, a 23% increase compared to the prior quarter.
However, Forbes said the ROM production of 447,000t for Q1 was below targeted ROM production of 487,000t – primarily as a result of “difficult” geology at Magdalena.
Sales were also up for Forbes during the first quarter, with total sales up by 55% to 261,000t.
Export sales increased 108% to 142,000t and domestic sales increased 18% to 119,000t.
The company is targeting overall 2014 saleable production of 1.15 million tons, a 20% increase on 2013.