Westhaven Gold Corp (TSXV:WHN), a Vancouver-based gold-focussed explorer, under-promised and over-delivered Monday with the release of a substantial initial Mineral Resource Estimate (MRE) from one of Canada’s newest gold belts. The bombshell press release was met with a muted market response, but may mark the genesis of British Columbia’s next major gold project.
The MRE, initially based on open pit extraction potential (with an underground extraction scenario in the works), comes from the South Zone of the company’s wholly owned Shovelnose Gold Property. It includes indicated resources of 841,000 ounces at 2.47 g/t AuEq–seven times higher than the cut-off grade– while the inferred category contains 277,000 ounces at 0.94 g/t AuEq. The estimate also points to strong silver prospects with 3,894,000 ounces Ag indicated at an average of 11.43 g/t Ag.
“This is the first Mineral Resource Estimate on the Shovelnose Gold Property,” said Westhaven CEO Gareth Thomas in a release, “and we are pleased to report a starting inventory of over a million ounces of gold from the first of multiple mineralized zones.”
The Shovelnose Property is touted for its promising geologic content as well as its favourable location. It lies a mere 30km south of the population centre of Merritt, BC and is accessible from the Coquihalla Highway. The easy access granted by its centralized locale in combination with its proximity to existing large-scale mining operations presents a convenient cost advantage to the eventual development of the site for production.
Buoyed by the success of the South Zone exploration, Westhaven now sets its sights on the further development of the Shovelnose Property in the coming year. The 17,623ha property still contains a swath of underexplored potential along trend in its FMN, Franz and Alpine Zones. In the company’s press release, Thomas stated that “the 2022 expansion and exploration drill program will begin shortly, focusing on the FMN Zone [of the Shovelnose Property], where high-grade gold mineralization (15.97m of 9.15g/t Au) was intersected in drilling last year.”
Shovelnose is one of four properties owned by Westhaven, all of which are located in the Spences Bridge Gold Belt, a 110km stretch of volcanic deposits trending northwest from BC’s southern border. The company’s confidence in the long-term viability of the property is evident in its estimated $25M of exploration investment since acquiring ownership in 2011. Early explorations are well underway in Westhaven’s Prospect Valley, Skoonka Creek and Skoonka North properties, making the Shovelnose MRE a hopeful indicator of things to come.
While the MRE announcement did little to move Westhaven’s stock, the company currently sits atop a one month, 37% rally on the TSX-V. This confirmation of existing high-grade gold deposits is sure to drive the company’s momentum in the coming year, and perhaps usher in the next lucrative opportunity in Western Canada’s mining sector.
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Disclosure: Westhaven Gold is a sponsoring company. We have a long position. Please read the disclaimer here.