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Pretivm COVID-19 response and financial position

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

Pretium Resources Inc. remains committed to the safety and health of its workforce and neighbouring communities in northwest British Columbia. The Brucejack Mine continues to operate under the strict guidance and directives of federal, provincial and regional health authorities. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Brucejack.

Brucejack mine operations

A significant number of steps have been taken to protect the site workforce and limit the risk of COVID-19 exposure for crews, and in turn their families and communities. In order to minimize the number of individuals on site at Bruce-jack, only personnel necessary to support gold production will continue to work at the mine.

Consequently, all capital projects and expansion drilling have been placed on hold and crews have been demobilized. In order to decrease the frequency of crew changes and travel required, crew rotations for most departments have been increased to 3 weeks on and 3 weeks off (or potentially 3 weeks on and 1 week off, pending Ministry approval) from 2 weeks on and 2 weeks off.

As Brucejack is a remote mining operation, the risk to operations from travel restrictions can be significant. Contingency plans are in place should the number of employees available for operations be limited. Mine operations will prioritize gold production over development, and the mill will operate at reduced produc-tion rates should the ore supply be insufficient to operate at 3800 tpd on a con-tinuous basis. Safety is and will remain the number one priority.

Enhanced health checks by qualified health professionals are being conduct-ed for all personnel prior to boarding transportation to and from Brucejack, and additional crew buses are in service to ensure social distancing during transit. Social distancing protocols are in force at all site facilities, and ‘high-touch’ sur-faces are being disinfected with increased frequency.

Supplies and inventory

At present interruptions to the supply chain are not anticipated. Grinding media is currently the limiting factor for Mill consumables, and there is an ap-proximately two-month supply on hand with additional grinding media on or-der. For mining, emulsion for blasting is the limiting factor as on site storage is limited to approximately five to seven days of product depending on usage lev-els. Deliveries are made on a scheduled basis to Brucejack from a supplier locat-ed within British Columbia. Supply chains are being monitored and increased inventory levels have been established with supplies on order accordingly.

Dore and concentrate sales

Doré and flotation concentrate sales are proceeding as planned without any disruptions to date. With multiple off-takers for both doré and flotation concen-trate, no sales disruptions are anticipated at this time.

COVID-19 preparedness and site health protocols

Brucejack’s medical staff include remote-care nurses and advanced-care paramedics under the guidance of two off-site physicians; physicians are on-call to provide guidance or instruction to on-site staff as needed. The site is equipped for emergency medical evacuation, including cases suspected to be contagious. Brucejack’s camp facilities support self-isolation. If any individual experiences symptoms suggestive of COVID-19 (sore throat, fever, sneezing, or coughing), the individual will remain in quarantine for a proscribed duration and under the evaluation of medical staff. An evacuation plan has been established to respond to cases when directed by Northern Health (British Columbia), the regional authority.

Clinic staff are monitoring the COVID-19 crisis and are engaged with North-ern Health to continuously discuss and manage Pretivm’s operational protocols.

Finance update

At 31 March 2020, cash on hand was approximately US$40 million, with an additional US$16 million remaining undrawn on the revolving credit facility. As a precautionary measure, a request was submitted to draw down the remaining US$16 million from the revolving credit facility subsequent to the end of the quarter.

At this time Pretivm has US$183.3 million outstanding on the term credit facility and, following the draw of US$16 million, will have US$200 million drawn and committed on the revolving credit facility. For the remainder of this year, three quarterly payments of approximately US$16.7 million remain to be made on the term credit facility and interest remains payable on the outstanding amounts of the term and revolving credit facilities.

COVID-19 impact on production

COVID-19 did not impact first quarter gold production. Looking ahead, COVID-19 may have a significant impact on production if the Company is not able to maintain operations. The Company currently expects a modest impact on costs should operations continue with enhanced safety measures in effect.

Local communities

Pretivm realises that the remote and dispersed communities of northwest British Columbia are at particular risk as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as access to healthcare can be a geographical challenge. Pretivm is committed to mitigating the risk of exposure to its staff, their families and neighboring com-munities in the region. Pretivm is engaging with local communities to address concerns as well as to share and develop strategies to address the challenges posed by COVID-19.

Lyle Morgenthaler, B.A.Sc., P.Eng., Chief Mine Engineer, Pretium Resources Inc. is the Qualified Person as defined in NI 43-101 responsible for Brucejack Mine development, and has reviewed and approved the scientific and technical information contained in this news release relating thereto.

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