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Pershing Gold Is Laser-Focused on Restarting Relief Canyon

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Pershing Gold has been going full speed ahead to advance the Relief Canyon mine in Nevada, leading some analysts to speculate that production could begin by the end of the year.

Pershing Gold Corp. (PGLC:NASDAQ; PGLC:TSX) has been working swiftly to advance the Relief Canyon project in Pershing County, Nevada. The company announced that its focus is on the Prefeasibility Study (PFS) and restart of the mine. Stephen D. Alfers, Pershing's president, CEO and executive chairman, stated, "Early this year the Company plans to publish a third-party Pre-Feasibility Study on Relief Canyon. This study is expected to continue to bolster the confidence in the Relief Canyon project."

According to the company, "the PFS is a key step to allow the Company to define reserves at Relief Canyon under Canadian NI 43-101 and is expected to provide a higher degree of confidence in the Relief Canyon project."

Some of the key components of the PFS are economic analyses, including a "detailed capital and operating cost comparison of contract versus self-mining" and a "detailed capital and operating cost comparison of truck stacking versus conveyor stacking of crushed and agglomerated ore on the leach pad." CEO Alfers said that the company's main focus for 2017 "will be re-starting the Relief Canyon mine."

Analyst Heiko Ihle of Rodman & Renshaw noted in a Jan. 10 research report that Pershing continues to "aggressively advance the Relief Canyon Project, which we feel should enter production during 4Q17. We continue to expect the firm to release a Pre-Feasibility Study (PFS) on the project during 1Q17, and think the economic analysis should pave the way towards a positive production decision shortly thereafter."

Ihle added that "we do not foresee a prolonged construction period and continue to believe the project could enter production in later this year. . .the odds of a positive production decision are likely at this stage, and we feel the release of a positive PFS should serve as a near-term de-risking event for the firm."

Pershing is moving ahead with permitting. The Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP) "issued the Reclamation Permit for Phase I expansion of the Relief Canyon Mine. With the receipt of this permit, along with the Bureau of Land Management ("BLM") approval of the Relief Canyon Mine Expansion announced in August of 2016, Pershing Gold has received the principal permits to initiate the restart and expansion of the Relief Canyon Mine."

Bhakti Pavani, analyst with Euro Pacific Capital, noted in her Jan. 10 company update that "this is one of the key permits as it allows the Company to restart production and expansion of the Relief Canyon mine."

The company is awaiting water pollution control and air quality permits. The company stated that on Dec. 21, 2016, "NDEP issued a public notice stating that they had made the tentative decision to approve Pershing Gold's application to modify and renew the current Water Pollution Control Permit," and that it expects that the "NDEP will issue the air quality permits in the first quarter of 2017."

Pavani noted that Pershing completed on Dec. 8 "an underwritten equity offering raising gross proceeds of $7.5MM (~$7MM net proceeds)." In addition, Pershing "entered into a $20 million non-binding credit facility with Sprott Resource Lending. . .the equity financing and an availability of a credit facility have not only improved PGLC's liquidity but also allow a seamless transition of an exploration project into production."

The elements seem to be falling into place for moving quickly into production. Ihle concluded that "we think Relief Canyon is primed for production and expect the project to be one of, if not the next project to enter production in Nevada."

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1) Patrice Fusillo compiled this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee. She owns, or members of her immediate household or family own, shares of the following companies mentioned in this article: None. She is, or members of her immediate household or family are, paid by the following companies mentioned in this article: None.
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