Toronto’s Harte Gold has called a temporary halt to operations and exploration at the Sugar Zone Mine, north of White River, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
All non-essential work has been suspended, the company said in March 30 release. The workforce at the site has been reduced to critical support staff handling underground maintenance, mine safety, and environmental stewardship.
The mine is 25 kilometres north of White River.
An oversight committee was established to draw up a demobilization strategy and ensure the workforce is transported safety from the property.
A staff of 16, including mine rescue staff, will continue to service the mine, the company said.
During this period the camp and kitchen will be temporarily closed and employees at site will be housed in cabins detached from one another.
Administrative staff are working from home and the company said it will continue to conduct business using technology and the hosting of virtual meetings.
Harte Gold is assuring its employees that all jobs are secure until normal operations resume.
On the production side, Harte expects its first quarter guidance (quarterly gold production target) to be higher than in previous quarters, “representing another record quarter of production.”
But beyond that, with so much uncertainty on when operations will resume, Harte can’t provide any assurance that future guidance targets will be achieved. The company will provide an update on that situation sometime in mid-April.
Harte said it’s sufficiently cashed up to “withstand a prolonged scenario” and is in cash preservation mode on all non-critical spending. Its senior lender, BNP Paribas, is working with Harte to “provide financial flexibility during this period.”