by Stockwatch Business Reporter
New York spot gold rose $4.20 to $1,948.90 on Friday. The TSX-V added 2.15 points to 745.37 while the TSX gold index dropped 6.84 points to 376.42. Kinross Gold Corp. (K) helped lead a few Canadian gold miners higher today. It added 78 cents to $13.09 on 25.69 million shares today on word that its three-year guidance projects the company to produce 2.9 million equivalent ounces of gold in 2023. The company managed 2.5 million ounces last year. Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM) did not fare as well, dropping $4.75 to $106.09 on 2.44 million shares.
Fridays are typically quiet on the assay front, but it is often a banner day for management shuffles. Joseph Conway's Harte Gold Corp. (HRT), unchanged at 17 cents on 385,000 shares, was one of the latter companies, revealing today that Sam Coetzer is stepping down as president and chief executive officer for unexplained "personal reasons." His replacement is Frazer Bourchier, a career mining engineer, who received the customary seal of approval from an outgoing CEO who remains on the company's board.
The for-the-good-of-the-team attitude was also on display from Dr. Martin Raffield, executive vice-president, who is stepping down for personal reasons. In his case, a reason was proffered: Dr. Raffield is a United States resident and Harte's Sugar Zone gold mine is near White River in Ontario, making it difficult for him to work with the border closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. His replacement will be Dan Gagnon, who had been general manager of the Sugar Zone mine. Dr. Raffield is also sticking around -- as an adviser.
Mr. Coetzer did not have a long stay in Harte's corner office. (He was appointed last November, several months after Golden Star Resources Ltd. (GSC: $6.30) said that he would be leaving his role as president and CEO.) Mr. Coetzer's arrival at Harte had been orchestrated that summer, when Appian Natural Resources, a major Harte shareholder, prodded then president and CEO, Stephen Roman, to "step down" as soon as a replacement could be found. Mr. Roman did keep his role as chairman, but just for a few months. Harte appointed Mr. Conway to its board last fall and by early this year he was chairman.
Mr. Conway's parting praise for Mr. Roman -- without him "this company would not be where it is today" -- proved to be rather prescient; so much so that the shuffling continued. Two months ago, Appian had to step in with an offer to provide Harte with an $18.5-million (U.S.) credit facility to tide it over through the COVID crisis and the teething problems at Sugar. As well, Appian paid $2-million (U.S.) for a royalty on the mine and it bought $9.5-million (U.S.) in "special shares" priced at $1 (U.S.). (The shares are special because they convert into either regular shares or debt, depending on the circumstances.)
At the time, Harte said it needed $18-million just to cover bills and provide liquidity for Sugar Zone, another $10-million for further mine development and $7-million for capital projects and exploration. Ideally, Harte wants to boost the 800-tonne-per-day mine to 1,200 tonnes per day -- or at least the old crew did. The new crew, Mr. Bourchier essentially, says that the focus will be to execute on Harte's operational strategy, deliver production growth and assess the expansion plan. (For more details, perhaps one should ask Appian's grumpy crew what they want.)
Friday's bad-news-assay award goes to Jonathan Deluce's Goldseek Resources Inc. (GSK), which slid 12 cents to 43 cents on 31,000 shares on word that the best its five-hole maiden drill program could do at Horizon, just north of the rich Hemlo mines, was 4.3 grams of silver per tonne and modest amounts of base metals across 0.44 metre. Three of the other holes also produced tiny amounts of metal over narrow intervals.
No matter: Mr. Deluce, president and CEO, was "encouraged by our starting drill results." He says that a downhole geophysics program will be a "prudent step to consider" before Goldseek attempts any further drilling. He does say that more drilling is planned this winter, including a deeper hole at the C target. He points out that the Hemlo deposit occurred at depth so deep drilling is key, but he intends to take a "capital-efficient approach" using small programs to "try to piece together where a potential deep source is to target."
One company with glittering assays today -- although the news came late Thursday -- was John McCluskey's Alamos Gold Inc. (AGI) Alamos, down 25 cents to $12.44 on 3.48 million shares today, hit a 21.76-metre interval averaging 28.97 grams of gold per tonne at Island East, at its Island gold mine near Wawa in Northern Ontario. Mr. McCluskey, president and CEO, says the assays show that Island East is widening and that the mineralization is extending farther to the east.