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Drilling for High-Grade Gold off a Highway in British Columbia

Featured Submission, Featured Submission
1 Comment| October 7, 2021

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Westhaven Gold is 100% committed to completing the 40,000 meter drill program and targeting the next major gold discovery off a major highway. Tune into the interview with Matthew Gordon and Westhaven Gold’s President and CEO Gareth Thomas in this latest discussion about exploring British Columbia’s newest gold belt. In the current market, Westhaven is swimming against the current but Mr. Thomas is confident that drill results from the Shovelnose property in BC, Canada are producing both the broad widths and the high-grade intercepts to deliver a maiden resource estimate worth investing in. Drilling at Shovelnose has resulted in some of the best drill results since the initial discovery so investors may want to watch this interview to learn more about the present value and potential for a new discovery before the upcoming catalyst.


What's the Maiden Resource Number Going to be?


Gareth Thomas:
I'm Gareth Thomas. I'm the President, CEO, and Director of Westhaven Gold Corp. We are focused solely in Southwestern British Columbia on what's known as the Spences Bridge Gold Belt. I'll be talking mostly today about our flagship Shovelnose gold property.

Matthew Gordon:
Hey. Good to see you. How you been? I haven't seen you since April.

Gareth Thomas:
It's been a while. Yeah. As good as can be, yourself?

Matthew Gordon:
Well, I haven't had wildfires to contend with so by comparison, very well, thank you. Look, I just wanted to reach out to you because I'm seeing a lot of drill results, some really quite interesting numbers actually, but I'm also looking at your share chart and you seem to be doing what every other gold company is doing at the moment, which is moving south. Have you any thoughts on what's happening in the market?

Gareth Thomas:
Yeah. I mean, as we were chatting there briefly before, it's a bit of an odd time, I think. There's so many things you can try and put your finger on the pulse of many things out there on the macro level. And you hear some industry veterans, really successful people talking about this real odd time in 40 years. Some of these careers, they're going, I've never seen something like this where even mentioning the nickel, the copper, the lithium, the ones with the EV movement, the stocks are still going down.

So with gold, it's a tough, interesting time, but maybe there's light at the end of the tunnel and this is time where people start to realize that maybe these things are good valuation. When will that be? I'm no expert on this as we discussed before, but it's an interesting time for sure, Matt, as you well know.

Matthew Gordon:
Yeah. I think we were both sort of scratching our heads there just before we switched the cameras on trying to work out what's going on. But look, I think all the companies, like you, can do is get on with the business of doing your business, and the market will do its thing, we'll work out who's standing at the end of it.

Like I said, the thing that interested me were some of the numbers that were coming out of the drilling are quite interesting. You're getting big, long intercepts. The grades are good. The grades are good. For anyone who hasn't heard this story before, go and take a look at some of the previous conversations we've had, we go through business strategy, exploration plan strategy, the team, what you're doing broadly, and what you're hoping to do. But I think today I wanted to just kind of dive down into the drilling and the drill plan for the rest of this season. You said you might whip up a few diagrams and a few charts.

Gareth Thomas:
Yeah. While I'm doing that there, Matt, as mentioned there. We've drilled... Our goal this year, our budget was budgeted for 40,000 meters. We're up to about 32,000 meters now so well on plan schedule for the end of the year. Just while I'm grabbing up these here. We're very much on schedule for that. That's a look of our long section from the south zone of went up to Franz. This is a long section.

This year, we're doing a resource, as you know. I think in April, I think we did announce that we were going to be doing that. I think our first interview, we were kind of on the fence, but we were going ahead with this. So the majority of drilling the resource will be coming from this area pretty much in here. We have four holes that are outstanding that are in the lab that are due back soon that are looking quite interesting that might be adding some flavor to this. We're hoping to get those sort of holes into the resource, but this is where it's 600 by 200 meters will be where our resource is coming from for this year.

Matthew Gordon:
Is that still on schedule, by the way? Can you talk about year end to me?

Gareth Thomas:
Yes. We are still planning for end of year. The only reason why that may be early Q1 is just the fact that we were halted, which we can touch on a little bit. We were halted for four weeks due to being evacuated because of the wildfire situation up on Shovelnose. About half the property got fairly well burnt, so we were sort of down for about a month there.

And of course, the assay labs now as we usually see it coming in September, October, they start to gum up really towards the end of the year. So we want get everything into the resource as we can. That would be the only reason that we would be delayed for any reason. But so far, we think we'll be out for Q4 sort of end of November is what we're aiming for. Hopefully, we can do that.

Matthew Gordon:
I'm sorry to interrupt. With the fires, I mean, has that sort of revealed anything? Because obviously, a lot of the cover is going to have gone, presumably.

Gareth Thomas:
Yeah. We have teams, geologists on boots on ground right now. That particular area, I mean, I could talk for hours about how it actually started and how these fires converged, but I'll spare you.

Matthew Gordon:
What was it, just so I understand? They were heavily reported, but what was the cause?

Gareth Thomas:
There was apparently a couple, maybe had a few too many wobbly pops, and he had a lit barbecue. They got into a fight, this couple, like I said, they were drunk and he chucked it in the back of his pickup and was driving along the road and his truck lit on fire. It's really sad. I mean, you can't make that story up, but sad what happens to the devastation.

But as you mentioned, if there was anything positive about something like that is you can tend to see a little bit more rock or there's certainly less underbrush to look around there and prospect. We were focused more on the Eastern side of the property anyway, but it's certainly opened up areas. It's sad how they happen, human caused fires for sure. Not great, but I think that guy's in custody anyway and rightfully so. And actually, Matt, maybe what I'll do, just some of the viewers who haven't seen this, I'll just go out to another map there.

Matthew Gordon:
I was just on that. Sorry to interrupt the questions, but I was just sort fascinated by the way that you're going about it, because 40,000 meters, obviously that's a big drill program for anyone, quite frankly. I kind of wanted to get the rub of the matter in terms of the targets, how you have been focused on and prioritizing the targets because the numbers, like I said, have been quite good. We've been through information in the various press releases. It's better than we thought it was going to be, if I'm honest. I'm intrigued about the prioritization, if you can maybe help me with that.

Gareth Thomas:
Yeah. Excellent question. For this year, as we decided we're going to do a resource, I won't sort of chuck a number out there, but I think a lot of people have done their own back of the envelope calculations. But we feel this is at a stage where we have the one south zone, which was a big, significant discovery in 2018. We've since added a lot of really good intercepts there as well. But now we're starting to see the 265 meters you mentioned there of 1/2 gram. That certainly adds to the more broad, low grade envelope. We're seeing a lot more of this as we move to the north and the northwest.

Not to make any sort of comparisons here though, but Artemis as the Blackwater deposit, which they just came out with their feasibility study there and quite a .2 cutoff, I believe. We've drilled a lot of 200 meters of 1/2 gram, 200 meters of four gram plus these high grade veins. Do we want to find more high grade veins? Certainly, but it also is not a bad thing to see really long, broad intercepts of low grade gold, too, that could potentially add to a mining scenario.

So yeah, we're seeing results like this that are quite encouraging. And I was mentioning there, since we spoke last in late May or early June, we announced 16 meters of nine grams up on FMN, which is another two and a half kilometers from the south zone. And that's really just scratching the surface there. I could pull up a figure here in a sec, but that's of interest because obviously, just how far away it is.

I'll share this one as I was going to say, Matt. Just to give you and some of the viewers that aren't familiar with this story, the south zone, I don't know if you can see my mouse, but is in and around this area here. FMN is at the end of this red line up here. This is where vein zone one is. It's actually being traced up to here now to where Franz is, which we discovered late last year, which is also 7.78 meters of 15 grams there, but really early days on this FMN.

So you asked where we're resource drilling is almost kind of finished here now, and we're going to be having two rigs move to this FMN. We have one there currently, and it's looking very, very interesting. The key there is to actually get where we need to get it at a more favorable angle to attack it. It was kind of what happened at south zone, where we were drilling down here at about a 60 degree azimuth. And we changed that to 110. And before you knew it, we were hitting 17 meters of 24 and a half grams.

We've seen 16 meters of nine grams up 2.5 kilometers from the south zone along this trend, which I'll just go back to this other one, if you bear with me. Here's a long section of that, where once again, the south zone, lots of drilling, resource coming. Very little drilling all along here. Up at Tower, we've gotten some really broad, thick, low grade intercepts up here as well. Not a ton of drilling between here. Then we're getting into FMN. Once again, not a lot of drilling here. This is an outstanding assay, which is due hopefully in the next couple weeks, and then nothing between here and FMN or sorry, with Franz.

So we're really keen to get back. As I mentioned, the one drill is here and we're looking to get the second drill up here as well, and drilling from the southwest towards the northeast, which once again, I'll just show as one more little share screen here of what I can put into what I mean by that. That 175 hole here, which we're going across here. We're looking to get across down now to the southwest and drill back this direction, which we haven't done yet. So we're quite keen to get back here and drill to the northeast where we think we'll be much more favorable at angle attack there.

That might have bored the viewers enough for those slides there. But that's sort of the gist for the more technical people who want to see kind of where the drills are.

We're excited, like I said. We've set out to do everything we said we were this year. Resource is coming. We're finding new zones and there's a lot more targets on the periphery and on the horizon, I should say as well. Really these things are drill intensive. You never like to say patience, but these things do take a lot of drilling. As you see by that long section, we think there's going to be multimillion ounces here. It's just a matter of getting there. Treasury is in good order right now as well. Hopefully, this market doesn't stay this way, but if it does, we're in good shape there as well.

Matthew Gordon:
Are you doing some sort of collaboration with Talisker?

Gareth Thomas:

No. I'd say we're close. We chat to them relatively regular, but the only sort of relationship we have is a two and a half percent NSR on about 70,000 hectares of their ground, but yeah, we certainly chat. We stay in touch with Terry and Matt and Andrew. There are some similar shareholders as well, but nothing formal besides.

Matthew Gordon:
Right. Nothing formal, no collaboration. Nothing financial either.

Gareth Thomas:
Yeah. No, they're focused primarily they're drilling something a bit further to the east right now. With the fire season up there, it's been pretty tough. Unless you're sort of already set up and working with the infrastructure, like we were, it was kind of a challenging year. Obviously, very challenging for the communities up there, some real devastating losses up there, which is horrible, but for working up there it was a bit of a unprecedented year. And hopefully it's in the past, I mean, in terms of these fires, but the market, who knows?

Matthew Gordon:
Yeah. Yeah. Who knows? We've talked a little bit about Shovelnose, FMN, and Franz. Skoonka, anything to say there?

Gareth Thomas:
Skoonka is one that is actually we're permitted to work there and we've been sort of making plans to drill there. Just this year, the village of Lytton burnt. That was June 30th, the whole town there or village where we've stayed in the past. We worked. We know people there. Really sad story there. That fire went right up towards Skoonka. In fact, we just had someone up there just checking it out the other day and it's just being scorched. We're being patient with Skoonka and that we want to make sure it's the right timing for that.

I mean, obviously we got our hands full with Shovelnose and our resources, so obviously there, we don't want to blow the share structure out of the water here yet. Maybe that's something if the gold market proves it's there, maybe we do put all hands on deck and get to Skoonka. But it's certainly something we're keen to get to. It's just a matter of timing here and where we put our resources, but the fire was pretty bad this year where we weren't going to get up there anytime this year.

Matthew Gordon:
Okay. We know where you're at, 32,000 meters, you've got money to finish the 40,000 meter drill program. And you obviously go along strike up FMN and also Franz. What are the plans with regards to this market? Is it just like, I am going to ignore what's going on the market because gold's at a reasonable price, actually, quite frankly. Equities, not so much across the board.

You've got the budget to do that. Do you slow down your budget allocation any, because you think, well, I don't know how long this thing's going to go on for? How do you play it? Because if you stick to the original plan, you know when the end date is, and you go, right, okay. Now we need to raise some money. Not very exciting share price. It's going to be a little bit more expensive. Or you say, let's just slow down a bit. Let's get down to 80% capacity instead of 100% and just ride this thing out a little bit, something with more certainty. What are you thinking?

Gareth Thomas:
Yeah. Excellent question. Where we're at, it's obviously chicken or the egg. Are you going to spend that money to try and find more exciting vein zones like the south zone? Or are you going to try preserve some of that capital and go, geez, this market isn't looking very good for the foreseeable future. It's a fine line in terms of where we're at.

At the moment, like I said, we're good on budget here for well into next year. We're good with treasury. We've done everything we said we were going to do this year. It hopefully a little bit more positivity from the market. We're excited about where things are going with us. We're happy.

Matthew Gordon:
Let me just ask you one more question, because this was really just about what are you doing about the drilling. And that was really that last question I wanted to get to about how you play this out, because a lot of people are in the same boat, where you're putting out nice numbers, market doesn't care, just doesn't care. Everyone's looking somewhere else, nervous about the economy, nervous about lots of things or seeing other opportunities, whatever's going on out there, but how do companies play it?

But I'm kind of intrigued by what are the things that you think you can control? You've got your drill program going on there. Is there anything that you feel you can say to the market that's going to get them interested? Or do you agree with the assessment that you're all in the same boat, you got to play it the same way?

Gareth Thomas:
Yeah. Sometimes that's exactly what you said, what can you control? And then sometimes that's a cop out to say, oh, we're like everybody else, the same boat. I mean, that is a fair assessment, a fair reason these days. But for us, like I said, we're excited about the resource. We know that's where we're located. It's exciting. Whatever the number is, we think it's where we're located. It's a great location.

Drilling here, we're hoping the FMN, we're seeing a lot of interesting things there as well. And we got hundreds of other targets as well that we got boots on the ground looking at now. These things are drill intensive. They take time, but it won't be long before we have another south zone intercept. We think there's going to be multimillion ounces on this project and we have three more of these on the belt. All as good as can be.

Matthew Gordon:
Okay. I've got one more question then, which is, you've got a catalyst moment. And like I said, I think the normal rules don't apply anymore. In normal circumstances, a catalyst moment would be a maiden resource where you put out a number, which you think the market's going to be happy with. And obviously, you're aiming for the end of the year, I appreciate the assays are a little bit hit and miss at the moment so maybe beginning of next year. Whatever, it won't matter. It's not a big deal.

But we've seen companies come out and put maiden resources out, just kind of get the ball rolling, saying, look, Hey, we got something here, half a million ounces. The market's gone, oh man, that's so disappointing. That is so disappointing. And they've been marked down as a consequence. And then we've seen companies drag this thing out till they can come to the market with 1.2, 1.5 million ounces. I mean, have you got a sense of where you think need to come to market within terms of the quantum? I know you won't give me a number, but do you know the range?

Gareth Thomas:
I think people will have a rough idea. I mean, anything over half a million ounces, we're going to be excited. And especially where it's at in terms of there's three scenarios. There's open pit, there's underground, there's a combination of the both, depending where we're at. We're not sure yet. We just got the ball rolling with the company that's doing the resource. They're a conservative group. That's what we want. We want real ounces here. We're not looking for a promo thing. This is a real legit. And we want the good companies. We've had a lot of them looking at us, and they're going to like what we come up with here. I like to say anything over half a million ounces, that's a start. It's a south zone. Look what we're discovering here. It's going to be a lot more of these. Like I said, I think there's going to be multimillion ounces here. And south zone will give us a real good understanding. We have a great new model coming out. I'm excited about what the resource will bring.

Matthew Gordon:
Chasing fundamentals and not hype. I'm not sure that will work.

Gareth Thomas:
I'll just say one thing, Matt. I'm not going to name the name, but we had a very well known industry PhD geo also runs a fund up at our site, and he goes, "It doesn't matter what you have in terms of ounces." He has no idea what our number's going to be either. But he said, "It doesn't matter where you're located. This is a tier one area." We're right off a highway. We're 30 minutes from Merritt. We're two and a half hours from Vancouver. It's a very good location. He's not concerned about whether it's a million or a million and a half. And he sees the potential add more ounces.

That's the whole idea here. And I think the people see that who really understand the story, it's drill intensive, it's just a start, it's a 500 meter strike length, and anything over a half a million ounces, I think we'll be doing very well.

FULL DISCLOSURE: Westhaven Gold is a client of Stockhouse Publishing.



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