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Sprott, Appian get into Sugar Zone

Harte Gold Corp (TSX: HRT) expects to begin commercial production in a few months at Sugar Zone in Ontario after locking in a US$70 million debt financing package with Sprott and Appian to allow it to outlay the remaining C$58 million of pre-start capital on plant and mine development.
Sprott, Appian get into Sugar Zone Sprott, Appian get into Sugar Zone Sprott, Appian get into Sugar Zone Sprott, Appian get into Sugar Zone Sprott, Appian get into Sugar Zone

Construction at Sugar Zone is now fully funded to a commercial production start

Staff reporter

Harte said this week it expected to be in production in July this year, with the phase-one, 540 tonnes per day underground mine and processing plant yielding an average 54,000ozpa for the first two years. The company wants to ramp that up to more than 100,000ozpa in 2021 by expanding the plant to 1,400tpd and accessing and mining Middle Zone resources to complement Sugar production.

Harte's new PEA projects 80,700oz of average annual gold production over 11 years at a C1 cash cost of US$507/oz and AISC of US$708/oz.

The junior gold company's shares rose 2.4% Thursday to C42c. The stock hit a one-year low of 37c in February this year, after reaching its highest ever level of 77c last April.

Its market cap is now C$249.5 million.

Harte's PEA shows a C$244 million NPV (5% discount rate) and 42% IRR at a US$1,250/oz gold price, rising to C$299 million NPV and 50% with gold averaging  US$1,350/oz over the base 11-year mine life (yielding 904,000oz). The NPV after-tax numbers also use a 25% corporate tax rate and 10% Ontario Mining Tax rate.

"With a target of 1,400tpd producing over 100,000oz per year, Harte Gold will have the cash flow to continue property wide exploration and the ability to target high impact acquisition opportunities," said Harte president and CEO, Stephen Roman.

"We are particularly encouraged by the value opportunities being explored. As illustrated with previous infill drilling, grade is expected to improve as we tighten spacing, which will have a significant, positive effect on the diluted head grade mined and the number of ounces incorporated into the mine plan.

"There are over 500,000oz of resource currently not included within the PEA mine plan.

"As we continue drilling, we expect the economics of the Sugar Zone project should only improve."

Harte says the debt package with Sprott Private Resource Lending (US$50 million senior secured facility) and Appian Natural Resources Fund ($20 million subordinated loan) announced this week means the project is fully funded to commercial production.

Roman said the company spent six months canvassing debt financing options. The dual-party package signed gave Harte "immediate liquidity for continued development while maintaining maximum flexibility and a lower cost of capital, compared to most project debt transactions executed the past few years".

Meanwhile, Harte said it planned to buy down its 3.5% net smelter royalty via a $1.5 million payment in August this year, reducing the NSR to 2% over the life of mine.