West Red Lake Gold Mines (TSX-V: WRLG)(OTC: WRLGF) CEO Shane Williams on Advancing the Flagship High-Grade Madsen Mine Project in Northwestern Ontario’s Red Lake Gold District


Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president & CEO of West Red Lake Gold Mines — Mr. Shane Williams. Shane, it's great to have you on. How are you today, sir?

Shane Williams: I'm in good form and it’s great to be on.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, let's get right to it. This is a story that is new to our audience. However, you have a team and an asset that, I believe, most gold investors are very familiar with. And so I'm excited to help tell the story. 

I think your timing with US$2,300/oz gold is excellent. I think the portfolio of assets is going to be received extremely well in this market. And I want to touch on all of that. But before we do, I want to ask you a bit about your background because I think that's worth noting.

Shane Williams: Sure, and I think a lot of your viewers might be familiar with the history of the project. So a little bit on the background and our approach. My background is that I'm a mine builder and I'm an engineer. 

I've spent the last 20 years of my career building and operating mines — both underground and open pit — for various companies around the world. So very technically focused. I've had a lot of success in starting mines, getting mines going, and moving from early-stage into production.

Prior to this, and maybe your readers will recognize, I was with a company called Skeena Resources. I spent four years with Skeena from the early days when they were a very small junior company all the way up to doing the deals with Barrick and getting the project, running the project, and setting up the project. I was the chief operating officer. 

And prior to that, I was with another company called Eldorado Gold, which your listeners are probably familiar with. It's a large mining company based in Vancouver, Canada, with assets in Turkey, Greece, and Quebec. I was the senior vice president of operations. I started building their mines. I was in Turkey. Then, I built their mines in Greece. And I built the Lamaque project in Val-d'Or, Quebec.

So, lots of success building and operating mines… and this story was perfect for me once it came across my desk.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, the story is perfect for you and your skillset and the team's skillset. And I think the way you're positioned to take advantage of this gold bull market is equally important because a lot of companies will look at a gold bull market and they’ll start exploring and make a discovery. But by the time it's time to permit and finance and get it into production — that bull cycle has passed. 

It’s a very cyclical business we're in. So I want to talk about the Madsen Mine project, and I want to talk about why you're positioned perfectly to take advantage of the sweet-spot of this gold bull cycle.

Shane Williams: Sure, and a lot of your listeners will be familiar with Frank Giustra who’s been very successful over the last 20 to 30 years in building resource mining companies. And Frank gets timing very well. The last time Frank saw this setup of gold macros, a company called Gold Corp. was built. So he gets timing right. 

About a year ago, he saw the set up for a good gold run. And his view is… the best way to play that gold price and that gold appreciation is to build and scale a gold mining company very quickly so that you’re getting not only the leverage to the gold price but you're also getting the scale and growing the company in parallel. 

And you can get fantastic leverage as a lot of companies have done. Kirkland Lake, some of your viewers will remember, did the same. Gold Corp. did the same. And that was the concept way back.

But of course, we needed an asset that, as you said, was poised for that process. And so it needs to have permits and it needs to have all of its infrastructure in place. You can't wait in these gold bull markets, as your listeners will know. 

You can't wait three years to get your permits, to do your drilling, to do your studies, and then finance it, build it, and get infrastructure. It can take five years. So you need to find an asset that's ready to go and that has everything ready and can be restarted during a rising gold market. So that's sort of the leverage, and that's how the concept came about. 

Obviously, Frank has been in the business for a long time. He has built lots of companies over the years with lots of different people such as Neil Woodyer and Ian Telfer. But he needed a new team, a young team, and a team that’s going to work for the next five years and dedicate their heart to building a lot of value. And so that's how I got involved. 

I brought a team down to the Madsen Mine project, which was with Pure Gold at the time, as some of your listeners may know. Pure Gold had fallen on hard times and had gone into the bankruptcy process. 

So I went down with a team. We looked at the project. And I saw the opportunity. I went back to Frank and said, ‘Hey Frank, this is a great model for us to start with.’ And that's how we ended up doing the deal and owning the asset. 

Gerardo Del Real: For those who maybe aren’t familiar with the asset, can you talk about the existing resource and, obviously, the upside exploration potential that you're working on unlocking?

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Shane Williams: Sure, as I mentioned, this asset was in a company called Pure Gold who had spent C$350 million on the project. Hence, it already has all of the infrastructure you'd need for a mine. 

It has underground development, it has underground equipment, it has a brand new mill, and it has all of the permits it needs. It's spectacular! I would definitely encourage your listeners to visit our West Red Lake Gold website

There are a couple of videos there, along with our corporate presentation, where you can see the quality of the infrastructure that's there. So all of that is being done and built… and it's ready to go. 

It’s high grade, and it’s located in the Red Lake region of Ontario, which is famous for its high-grade ore bodies. And we have an ore body already defined. We have over 2 million ounces of high-grade, 6-plus gram per tonne Au material already defined in a resource on the project.

So it's a near-term development story… and this is where it really gets really interesting. There is a lot of exploration potential that the previous company was just beginning to uncover before Covid really hit them. They were just getting going and, obviously, Covid hit. And that was really one of the key things that forced them down the bankruptcy path. 

They were just beginning to uncover these ore bodies at Red Lake. And these ore bodies tend to go very deep… and the deeper you go, the higher grade they get. They had tapped into some ore bodies down there. One is called the 8 Zone

The 8 Zone is a very high-grade ore body that's deep down into the system. It’s equivalent, I believe, to the high-grade zone at the Red Lake Mine, which really made Gold Corp. So we're very excited about this as it offers transformational potential for the company. 

And as we go deeper, there's a lot of new stuff we're uncovering. The previous operator never got a chance to really drill it out. And now, we are down there drilling, and we're really understanding the ore body and the potential.

Gerardo Del Real: Well, listen, you have a fully-diluted market cap of roughly C$226 million. Again, that's fully-diluted. You mentioned the C$350 million that's already been spent on Madsen. You have the mill… you have the permits… and you have the exploration upside on the drilling. 

I don't think it's a coincidence that the shareholder base includes Sprott, which, last time I looked, owns over 23%, and Mr. Giustra who, last time I looked, owns just shy of 12%. VanEck is in there for just under 7%. Management and consultants own just under 5%. 

I could go on… but the shareholder base is impressive. Clearly, everyone is positioned for this cycle. Can you quickly walk me through what the rest of 2024 looks like?

Shane Williams: Yes, and before I do that, I’d like to hop back into something we touched upon earlier, which is the quality of our team. For a lot of your listeners, it's very important to have a team of people who believe in the project. We have this concept of getting into production quickly in a rising gold market. Yet, we also wanted to bring in an A-team so that people will be confident in the company. 

And so we have Hugh Agro, whom, obviously, we both know well. Hugh has a long history with a lot of big mining companies. We also have Tony Makuch, who built Kirkland Lake Gold, on the board. Kirkland Lake became a monster of a company. We have Duncan Middlemiss, who technically built Wesdome Gold Mines. These are guys with pedigree who have built and operated big companies. 

I believe — with the backers with Frank Giustra and his vision of what we want to do, a great board who has done it all before, and a young experienced team — we have a winning combination that's very rare in today's market, particularly given the size of the company. 

So I just wanted to highlight that because, as you know, people are very important in these kinds of projects.

Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely. I couldn't agree more. You have the team, you have the infrastructure, you have the grade, you have the exploration upside, a resource base, a mill, and permits. Again, I think you're positioned perfectly. 

It's been an absolute pleasure. I'm looking forward to having you back on as exploration continues and as you keep hitting those high-grade numbers you've been publishing here consistently. Shane, anything else you'd like to add?

Shane Williams: Very happy to come back on and to have the opportunity to keep your listeners up to date. I see it as a bit of a journey getting your listeners around the story and following us on that path. 

It's going to be a fantastic journey as we grow given what Frank has done historically. And so that's a journey your listeners can come along on. And I'm happy to keep you and your viewers updated over the next number of months. So really excited.

Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much, Shane. An absolute pleasure… and looking forward to having you back on.

Shane Williams: Excellent. Thank you very much.

Gerardo Del Real: Alright, chat soon. Cheers.