UPDATE 1-Pretium's stock slumps as gold sample consultant quits
(New throughout, adds CEO comments, closing stock price)
By Nicole Mordant
VANCOUVER Oct 9 (Reuters) - Shares in Pretium Resources Inc lost more than a quarter of their value on Wednesday after the resignation of the independent consultant conducting a gold sampling program on the company's flagship exploration project in Western Canada.
Pretium said Strathcona Mineral Services Ltd, which was conducting a 10,000 tonne bulk sample program at its Brucejack project in northern British Columbia, had quit.
Pretium's early morning press release gave no reason for the resignation, but the company's CEO later said it involved a difference of opinion between two consulting groups and that the other group offered a "better outcome" for Pretium.
Strathcona President Graham Farquharson declined to comment.
By late afternoon, Pretium's stock was down 28.7 percent, or C$2.01, at C$5 on the Toronto Stock Exchange in heavy trading of more than 3.1 million shares.
Although still at an early stage of development, the Brucejack project has garnered investor and industry attention due to its high gold grades and Pretium's well-known management team.
Pretium Chief Executive Robert Quartermain said there had been a "difference of opinion" between Strathcona and Snowden Mining Industry Consultants, on what method to use to estimate how much gold the project could contain. Continued...