A Jan. 17 news release from the Toronto-based mine operator did not disclose the identity of the potential acquirer, but it's substantial enough to proceed to an auction stage of the creditor protection process that Harte entered into on Dec.7.
As part of the sale process which started just before Christmas, a bid deadline to receive qualified bids was set at the end of the business day on Jan. 14.
Perth-headquartered Silver Lake took the early lead to take over the barely three-year mine based on a court-approved $10.8-million loan sent to Harte to keep operations going as part of a so-called stalking horse bid.
In assessing the two bids, Harte and its court-appointed monitor, FTI Consulting Canada, have determined that it's in their best interest to conduct an auction this week on Jan. 19 to pick the best one.
Following the auction, Harte said it will apply to the court for an order approving the successful bid. If approved by the court, the company and the successful bidding party can proceed to close the transaction, which usually takes place a month or two after court approval is given.
Harte's only asset is the Sugar Zone Mine, 20 kilometres north of White River, roughly halfway between Sault Ste. Marie and Thunder Bay, not far off the Trans-Canada Highway. The mine is situated on more than 81,000 hectares of a gold-endowed greenstone belt.
Last fall, Harte said it was in danger of running out of money - and was threatening to shutter the operation - by year's end unless there was a cash infusion. The company had started the process of looking for a buyer during the middle of 2021 when it launched a strategic review process.
The background on Harte's CCAA proceedings, are available on the Monitor's website at http://cfcanada.fticonsulting.com/harte.