Harte Gold Corp. [HRT-TSX; HRTFF-OTC; H4O-FSE] said it has received all necessary operating permits from the Government of Ontario to start commercial production at its Sugar Zone Mine, which is located 80 km east of the Hemlo Gold Camp in northern Ontario.
Harte Gold is now fully permitted to mine, process ore and pour gold on site. Mining operations are currently expected to run for 12 years and will support further resource expansion drilling in the immediate vicinity of the mine and the ramp up of property-wide exploration programs.
Harte Gold shares rallied on the news, jumping 20.51% or $0.08 to 47 cents on active volume of 2.74 million. The 52-week range is 62 cents and 29 cents.
Harte is focused on exploration and development of the 100%-owned Sugar Zone property, where it completed a 70,000-tonne advanced exploration bulk sample and mined 30,000 tonnes under its Phase I commercial production permit. It also permitted and built an 800-tonne-per-day processing plant.
Harte Gold also holds the Stoughton Abitibi property on the Destor-Porcupine Fault Zone, east of Timmins, Ontario. That property is adjacent to the Holloway Gold Mine.
A resource estimate dated February 15, 2018, says the Sugar Zone Project contains an indicated mineral resource estimate of 2.6 million tonnes, grading 8.52 g/t, or 714,200 ounces of contained gold and an estimated inferred resource of 3.59 million tonnes, grading 6.59 g/t or 760,800 ounces of contained gold.
Harte acquired the Sugar Zone property in May 2010 from Corona Gold Corp. [CRG-TSX], a company headed by mine financier Ned Goodman. At the time, Corona received cash payments, plus shares equal to a 9.9% stake in Harte.
Some of the exploration since then has focused on “Hemlo Style” mineralization to the east of the Sugar Zone. This is a reference to the famous Hemlo gold discoveries of the early 1980s, which were rich enough to support three mines – Williams, Golden Giant, and David Bell.
“We are very pleased to announce the completion of commercial permitting and the beginning of full-scale operations at the Sugar Zone Mine,” said Harte Gold President and CEO Stephen Roman.
According to a Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA), the Sugar Zone Mine is expected to produce an average of 80,700 ounces of gold at an all-in-sustaining cost of US$708 an ounce over an 11-year mine life from 2019 onwards.
The PEA expects Harte to recover 904,000 ounces of gold over the life of the mine. That amounts to two-thirds of the combined indicated and inferred mineral resources announced in February, 2018.
The PEA studied a phased development approach with a goal of achieving near-term cash flow, while minimizing underground development work, starting at 540 tpd at the Sugar Zone, rising to 1,400 tpd by year 2021 as access to the Middle Zone mineral resources are incorporated into the mine plan.
The PEA has outlined the benefits of mining higher grade areas of the Sugar and Middle Zones, saying this will increase the average annual gold production to 100,000 ounces from 2021 to 2025.
The company is targeting average annual gold production of 54,500 ounces in 2019 and 2020.
The mine is expected to employ close to 200 people and provide significant economic benefits to the immediate area and the province as a whole, the company said.