US GoldMining (NASDAQ: USGO) CEO Tim Smith on Commencement of Phase-1 Drilling at Flagship Whistler Gold-Copper Project, Alaska


Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of US GoldMining — Mr. Tim Smith. Tim, how are you today, sir? It's great to have you back on.

Tim Smith: I'm excellent. Thank you very much, Gerardo, for having me back on the show again and delighted to have the opportunity to be able to provide an update to your viewers.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, let's get right into it. You just announced the commencement of the company's 2023 Phase-1 drilling program at the 100%-owned Whistler gold-copper project — two metals that I am very, very bullish on. 

I wanted to touch on the gold price action because I think that we've gotten so accustomed to gold flirting with US$2,000/oz — but not quite being able to break through — that a lot of speculators, and even the most ardent gold bugs, fail to recognize that, with the dollar index near 104, it's really impressive to me that gold is holding that US$1,900/oz level. 

I suspect that Q4 is going to be very, very kind to the gold price. And I think 2024 is going to be an excellent, excellent year as far as the price action goes, which bodes well for this announcement that you just started this 10,000 meter drill program, which is what the objective is overall at Whistler. 

Can we speak to the program? And I'd love your thoughts on the gold space if you have some.

Tim Smith: Yeah, absolutely. So just on the program, as we spoke about last time, just after we completed our highly successful IPO, we noted that that was great timing because gold was doing really well. We were sitting at around US$2,000/oz then. Now, we have drifted off a little bit… but I think, longer-term, the fundamentals are still extremely strong for gold as a safe haven and as a store of value. 

We see across resources and reserves amongst the majors depleting… so that supply side is starting to dry up. We see the demand coming in with buying from the central banks. So there are some really key fundamentals there that we think are going to support, in the medium to longer-term, a very strong gold price.

And to speak about what we've been doing since the IPO, we've been very busy, essentially, getting our field teams and our contractors mobilized into the field at Whistler, which is located just a hundred miles northwest of Anchorage. It's the nearest large undeveloped gold-copper deposit to the main city of Anchorage in Alaska. 

And since the start of the summer field season that we kicked off around the end of May, we've been dusting off our existing camp at Whistler, basically renovating and preparing that camp as a base for exploration programs over the coming years so that we can operate out of there in all seasons, not just summer, but through the fall and winter as well.

And as you touched on, our big news this week is that we've now started drilling at Whistler… so we're very excited about that. This is the first drilling that Whistler, the Whistler project, or the Whistler deposit itself has seen since 2011 on the property. 

And we're utilizing some new knowledge, some new interpretations, and the experience of a new technical team. And so we're aiming to advance and improve the geologic model, which we think is going to lead to a more robust and higher confidence mineral resource estimate in the months to come.

We're also endeavoring to expand the existing resources. We're probing at the edges of the mineral system where we think it's open along strike and also down to depth. In other words, testing for extensions of the known mineral systems and to ensure that we know what the geological controls are, especially on the high-grade mineralization.

We see a core of high-grade mineralization in the middle of each of the deposits that make up the Whistler project. The Whistler deposit, the Raintree deposit, and the Island Mountain deposit — they all have this core of high-grade, and that's typical of porphyry deposits. We want to grow that high-grade core. 

We're talking about, at Whistler itself, for example, there are 2 million gold equivalent ounces at a gram [per tonne] within the core of Whistler in the Indicated alone and another 1.4 million ounces at 0.84 grams per tonne. That's just the Whistler deposit alone. 

When you combine that with Raintree and Island Mountain, you get a total of 2.2 million ounces at a gram [per tonne] Indicated and another 3.8 million gold equivalent ounces at 0.93 grams per tonne in the Inferred. In addition to the lower grade, we really want to understand what the geologic controls on the high-grade are and how we can better delineate that and expand that within our existing mineral resources.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, there's already, as you mentioned, a substantial resource there. I love that you're testing exploration targets for potentially additional gold-copper porphyry mineral deposits. 

We talked about gold but I am as bullish in the mid-term on copper, as I am, on almost any metal out in the space. And so I think it's going to be a fun couple of cycles as it relates to copper and price appreciation on that front. 

Tim, anything else to add to that? I know that the initial program is 5,000 meters. You're fully-funded for a 10,000 meter drill program. And the way that I understand it, you're supposed to complete that in Q4 of this year. Is that correct?

Tim Smith: Yeah, we're going to complete Phase-1 this year, and then, we'll make a determination whether we proceed directly to Phase-2 or whether we defer until next year to do that. That really will depend on the production rates and what we're seeing coming out of the ground. 

And what I did want to add is that, in addition to testing the existing mineral resources and really probing how big and how high-quality and how high confidence we can make those, we're also really excited about testing the potential for brand new discoveries. 

We see the Whistler-Raintree mineral system and, again, the Island Mountain system, as being two large porphyry clusters. And there are already some additional known porphyry intrusions in close proximity to the existing mineralization. If we can identify copper and gold mineralization associated with those intrusions and then define resources at those targets, well, we're talking about new discoveries.

New discoveries in the porphyry space tend to be big. That's in addition to advancing the quality of the existing resource assets that we have in the ground. Potentially, if we can make some new discoveries — and we want to put around 50% of our overall effort and budget and meters in the drilling to testing some of those new discoveries — so we're excited about the possibility of perhaps announcing some new discoveries later this year or perhaps next year. We’ll see how we go! 

We've got a great model, as I mentioned earlier, some new ideas, some new methodologies and techniques, and modeling the geophysics that are really helping us visualize these exciting targets. 

It's just a matter of systematically prioritizing and working our way through drill testing some of those targets. So, very exciting times for us; brand new company and our maiden or inaugural drilling program at Whistler underway now.

Gerardo Del Real: I know you and the company will be at the Beaver Creek Precious Metals Summit, as will we. Looking forward to catching up in person. Tim, always a pleasure, sir. Thank you for your time.

Tim Smith: Wonderful. I’ll look forward to that. Thank you, Gerardo.

Gerardo Del Real: Cheers.

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