Harte Gold's 2020 production guidance for its Sugar Zone mine is 54 to 76 per cent higher compared to 2019. Courtesy of Harte Gold.

On Jan. 9 Harte Gold announced its preliminary fourth quarter and year-round gold production results for 2019, surpassing its revised estimates and significantly increasing its production guidance for 2020.

In the fourth quarter, gold production at Harte’s Sugar Zone mine in White River, Ontario, reached 8,017 ounces, for a total of 27,316 ounces for the year. While Harte Gold had initially set its 2019 guidance at 39,200 ounces of gold with an all-in-sustaining cost (AISC) of US$1350per ounce, the company shaved this figure in November down to 24,000 to 26,000 ounces after its third quarter, as with its preceding quarters, was below target. The change also lifted the AISC to US$2000 per ounce.

While Harte Gold had initially set its 2019 guidance at 39,200 ounces of gold, the company revised this figure in November after its third quarter results were once again below target. The Sugar Zone mine produced 5,476 ounces, 7,754 ounces and 6,069 ounces of gold in its first, second, and third quarters of 2019, respectively.

In its third quarter summary, Harte Gold explained development delays in accessing high-grade stopes meant much of the feed going to the mill was low-grade development ore. Problems with the start-up of the paste backfill plant also dragged down production.

Related: Harte’s newly opened Sugar Zone gold mine in northern Ontario expected to have a 12-year life

In November 2019, Harte Gold announced the appointments of Sam Coetzer as the company’s new president and CEO and Martin Raffield as executive vice president and COO and implemented a series of changes to its operational and management practices.

In the company’s Jan. 9 press release, Coetzer pointed to improvements in waste-development and backfill rates, in combination with higher-grade feed to the mill as reasons for a successful fourth quarter.

Harte Gold announced its 2020 guidance at a range of 42,000 to 48,000 ounces of gold, an increase of 54 per cent to 76 per cent compared to its 2019 production. The AISC is an estimated US$1475 to US$1650 per ounce. The company expects to achieve this increase in output through a combination of higher mine tonnage and higher ore grades. It also announced the addition of Karen Walsh as vice-president of people and organizational development. Walsh previously held at similar position at Golden Star Resources.

In the release, Coetzer said that, “we believe Harte Gold is now poised for long term growth andis on the path to becoming a profitable producer.”