Thunder Bay, November 13, 2019 – Premier Gold Mines Limited (“Premier” or “The Company”) (TSX:PG) (OTCPK: PIRGF) is pleased to report operating results for the three months ended September 30, 2019. The Company previously released third quarter production results on October 30, 2019.
Premier is a growth-oriented, Canadian-based mining company involved in the exploration, development and production of gold and silver deposits in Canada, the United States and Mexico. The company manages a high-quality pipeline of precious metal projects in safe, proven, and accessible mining jurisdictions and is focused on profitable low-cost production from its two producing gold mines and the ongoing development of several advanced-stage, multi-million ounce gold deposits.
“We are excited to see the addition of South Arturo to the Company’s production profile, which is expected to positively affect our fourth quarter”, stated Ewan Downie, President & CEO. “We continue to advance multiple improvements at Mercedes aimed at increasing production and reducing costs. Ongoing permitting initiatives at the Cove and Hardrock projects provide a peer-best organic growth profile that is further complemented by a portfolio of high-potential exploration-stage assets”.
Three Months Ended September 30, 2019
Consolidated production during Q3 2019 was 16,484 ounces of gold and 37,856 ounces of silver compared to 20,100 ounces of gold and 89,512 ounces of silver during Q3 2018. The Company reported total revenue of $18.7 million and a mine operating loss of $0.4 million during the quarter compared to revenue of $27.3 million and mine operating income of $2.0 million during the corresponding period in 2018.
The decrease in production when compared to Q3 2018 is due primarily to lower than predicted grades realised in certain production stopes at Mercedes. Mine performance during the period was also impacted by several unexpected operational challenges including a delay in the completion of key ventilation infrastructure caused by poor ground conditions which led to changes in stope sequencing, and the discovery of a large natural void that removed ounces from the mine plan. In response to these challenges considerable effort has gone into revising geological interpretations and statistical models for all deposits at the mine. In addition, numerous changes have been made to support the development of a strong plan for the coming year. At South Arturo, attention is focused on construction of the Phase 1 open pit and continued development of the El Nino underground mine where commercial production was declared during the quarter.
The Company continues to focus on near-term exploration and pre-development initiatives that will support its longer-term objective of achieving increased annual production over the next several years. A total of $6.5 million in exploration and pre-development expenses were incurred during Q3 2019. These expenses, when factored with a mine operating loss of $0.4 million, general and administrative expense of $2.2 million and a gain of $6 million from the sale of royalties resulted in a loss for the period of $3.9 million. A total of $12.6 million in capital expenditures were incurred during the quarter, including $8.3 million for mine development and construction at South Arturo and $3.9 million for sustaining and expansion related activities at Mercedes with the remainder for development at McCoy-Cove.
Nine months ended September 30, 2019
A total of 50,547 ounces of gold and 147,328 ounces of silver were produced during the nine months ended September 30, 2019, compared to 66,657 ounces of gold and 201,084 ounces of silver for the prior year period.
The Company reported total revenue of $64.9 million and mine operating income of $2.6 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019, compared to revenue of $94 million and mine operating income of $10.5 million for the prior year period. The reduction in production, revenue, and operating income, when compared to the prior period, is due primarily to the hiatus in production at South Arturo during the first half of 2019.
A total of $18 million in exploration and pre-development expenses were incurred during the nine months ended September 30, 2019. These expenses, when factored with mine operating income, other income of $13.5 million (including the Greenstone Gold mines development gain and the royalty sale) and finance expenses of $2 million contributed to a loss before income taxes of $14.7 million reported year to date. A total of $38.4 million in capital expenditures were incurred during the period, including $18.8 million for mine development and construction at South Arturo, $14.4 million for sustaining and expansion related activities at Mercedes, and $5.2 million for development at McCoy-Cove.
The Company closed the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $33.1 million, inventory of 5,020 ounces of gold and 6,418 ounces of silver and an undrawn $42.5 million credit facility in place. A total of $7.5 million was drawn from the credit facility during the quarter for working capital purposes.
Consolidated operating results are provided in Table 1 below.
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