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Pershing Gold pushing towards production at Relief Canyon, says upbeat broker

The Toronto-listed firm's main asset is the Relief Canyon Mine in Pershing County, Nevada...
Pershing Gold still pushing towards production at Relief Canyon, says upbeat broker
Pershing has a plan...it's now about executing it

Broker H.C Wainwright is upbeat on junior explorer Pershing Gold Corp (TSE:PGLC) and has repeated a 'buy' recommendation on the shares.

The Toronto-listed firm's main asset is the Relief Canyon Mine in Pershing County, Nevada.

"Given the existence of extensive infrastructure at site, we believe Relief Canyon should be quickly advanced following the announcement of a positive production decision.

"We also note that the project could be in production as early as 2018...," said the broker.

Huge milestone..

The group reached a huge milestone in June this year, when it issued a preliminary feasibility study for Relief Canyon that, significantly, showed a greater life of mine production amid slightly higher initial and sustaining capital expenditure.

The project was handed a pre-tax net present value (NPV), or in other words, an overall value,  of $144.6 million.

Initial capital spend was put at $23.6mln - up from $12.2mln in the preliminary economic assessment (PEA), while the all in sustaining costs (AISC) were stated as $802 per ounce ($804 per ounce in the PEA).

The life of mine is 5.6 years, down a tad from 5.8 years in the PEA, but average production over that time was put at 93,900 ounces, compared to 88,500 ounces in the earlier PEA.

Analyst Heiko F Ihle noted that  the "estimated cash costs and all-in sustaining costs per ounce of gold remained approximately the same from the 2016 Preliminary Economic Assessment (PEA)".

"Following the above changes, the after-tax NPV of the project increased from $121 million to $126 million.

Improved economics...

"We attribute the improved economics over the 2016 PEA to higher recoveries and production from additional metallurgical testing that was integrated into the PFS."

Ihle also highlighted that the positive  PFS recommended advancing the Relief project to a production decision.

A significant amount of resources have also now been converted into reserves, with proven and probable reserves now totalling 634,900 ounces of gold and 1.6 million ounces of silver, while M&I (measured and indicated) resources inclusive of reserves total 789,000 ounces of gold and 2.1 million ounces of silver.

"We believe that the high conversion percentage signifies both the quantity and success of work performed at the deposit in 2016."

In May, the firm also started drilling, as well as geological mapping,  at the highly prospective target area within Blackjack Hill area of the project.

"In our opinion, the Blackjack area could offer the potential for another satellite deposit within Pershing's substantial 25,000 acre land package," said Ihle.

The broker targets US$9.75 for the shares, which is a long way from where they stand now at US$2.92.

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