General Precious Metals
Westhaven Gold (TSX-V: WHN)(OTC: WTHVF) CEO Gareth Thomas on Advancing Flagship Shovelnose Gold Project in British Columbia’s Underexplored Spences Bridge Gold Belt
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the CEO of Westhaven Gold — Mr. Gareth Thomas. Gareth, great to see you in person, sir.
Gareth Thomas: I know… it's been a while. Thank you very much for having me, Gerardo. It's nice to see you in person.
Gerardo Del Real: How have you been?
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, very well, thank you.
Gerardo Del Real: Finding more gold, I see…
Gareth Thomas: Yes, that's the name of the game. So yeah… we're continuing to do so.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's get right into it. We live in a time where the markets are demanding de-risked jurisdictions, de-risked projects, a team that knows what the geological model is and knows how to develop it, and a team that knows how to monetize the type of asset that it looks like you have on your hands.
And so when I look at Westhaven, when I look at the team, when I look at the capital markets expertise and the history of monetizing assets, and then I look at the exploration upside in some of the recent results — you check a lot of boxes.
Then, I dig a little deeper and I look at the jurisdiction… and then I dig into the infrastructure — and it does all the things: it's a growing asset; you have a phenomenal base. Can you provide a brief introduction of the company for those that may not be familiar?
Gareth Thomas: Sure, Westhaven Gold is solely focused on what's known as the Spences Bridge Gold Belt in southwestern British Columbia. And we have four main projects; four projects we own 100% outright covering over 37,000 hectares. Which our main project, our flagship, if you will, being the Shovelnose, which we've had most of our news the last few years coming out of Shovelnose.
That's a little over 17,000 hectares, and we've had some great success of late, as you know. But the big part of the Shovelnose is that a lot of it still remains very underexplored, as you mentioned there. As we start to figure out a bit more of where this gold is coming from, as we start to figure it out a little bit more, it helps us target where we want to look next. That's where we're at now… just working away.
Gerardo Del Real: Where's the resource base as it stands today, the official resource base?
Gareth Thomas: Yep, we announced the resource major milestone for Westhaven in January of 2022: 1.1 million ounces in both the Indicated and Inferred category with 75% of that being in the Indicated. We're looking to grow that. Then, we had success in April of this year; we announced our highest ever drill intercept: we had 23 meters of 37.5 grams per tonne gold.
Gerardo Del Real: Not in the resource, by the way…
Gareth Thomas: Not in the resource, yeah. That's about two kilometers to the northwest along strike along Vein Zone One. Then we also had, actually before that, we had success in what's known as the Alpine Zone, which is also just off of the resource where we had 8 meters of 20 grams, including three meters of 45 grams. That's our goal this year; we've drilled 30,000 meters to date this year, and we're looking to add more ounces. That's really our goal here.
Gerardo Del Real: Correct me if I'm wrong but I have to believe that you clearly see a path towards a multi-million ounce gold mine, right?
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, I mean, that would be our goal. Right now, just being in the area we're in location-wise… we're 5 km off a major highway there, the Coquihalla, two and a half hours from Vancouver, 30 minutes from the city of Merritt. So we like where we are right now but, certainly, we'd like to build to ultimately get more eyes on us where maybe a bigger company may say, ‘Hey, that looks right up our alley.’ So yeah, we certainly want to build that inventory.
Gerardo Del Real: So you have a path towards at least a couple million gold ounces where you're drilling now. You mentioned the multiple targets. This is a district-scale land package. I want you to provide a little bit of context for folks that are new to Westhaven about the potential because if there's a couple million ounces of gold in just this one area, and you have 17,000 hectares — how much of that is unexplored?
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, most of that is. We call it about an eighth that we have squared off… about an eighth of that 4 km from the South Zone up until the Franz. That'd be about an eighth of our project that we've sort of drill-tested, if you will. We've drill-tested little areas, but not a lot. Then, of course, the last couple years, we've had a lot of boots on the ground. We've unearthed all sorts of interesting little things, such as hydrothermal breccia on surface. We've done a lot of work with LiDAR; geophysics have provided some targets.
A lot of this project remains very much not drill-tested. So the fact that we hit this new hydrothermal breccia we announced last week where we only drilled six holes, three of them were almost in gold, one of them six meters. Nothing earth-shattering… but this is how the South Zone started as well, so that's important for people to know. These things don't always start with a crash and a bang — or a bang like the SN18-14 — so you’ve got to be a little bit patient. But we have lots of targets like these, so it's just figuring out where the focus is in these types of markets.
I think right now, our best shot at finding stuff right now in this type of market with our cash position is probably to stick along this trend… but I'd say hundreds of targets that we would like to drill here eventually. Skoonka is another one — our other project — which I think we should touch on as well.
Gerardo Del Real: Let's get into it. Tell me about Skoonka.
Gareth Thomas: Skoonka was actually the first project ever drilled on the Spences Bridge Gold Belt. That was drilled by a company called Strongbow, and Almaden had a joint venture back in 2005. They drilled; I think their 8th hole was 12.8 meters of 20 grams per tonne gold, and that initiated a very big staking rush on the Spences Bridge Gold Belt.
Gerardo Del Real: That'll do that!
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, for whatever reason, they didn't do much work after 2007. My hunch is that they felt… and many smart people working for those companies, by the way… it’s not to throw anything… they are very smart guys… I think they maybe thought that there wasn't economic gold potential. Maybe some of this, the gold potential, economic gold mineralization had been eroded away. I think we've proven that — at Shovelnose — that definitely isn't the case. So we're excited to get back to Skoonka.
We acquired that from Almaden and Strongbow in 2017. Since the success at Shovelnose, we haven't really flocked to Skoonka, but we feel it's the right time. It's been five years. The market wants to see it; we want to see it. So yeah, we're going to be following up on that 12.8 meters of 20 grams that hit and hopefully unearthing some more things there on Skoonka. And that's about 40 km as the crow flies up the Spences Bridge Belt to the northwest. We're excited to test that as well.
Gerardo Del Real: You have the team… you have the assets… you have the capital markets experience. You've done this before. You're drilling… there's assay spending. There's a resource update coming. You've only drilled one-eighth of your flagship property, and you've already uncovered over a million ounces in all categories. What's the market cap at?
Gareth Thomas: I think we're about C$50 million. Don't quote me. Today, I think, somewhere around C$50 million. So yeah, I won't sit here and stew about where we think our price should be… but we think it's a great opportunity for people who are in this type of space, and we've de-risked it in a good political jurisdiction. We think we're on the right trajectory here. Lots of good news to come out soon.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent! Gareth, always a pleasure.
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, thank you very much, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Thank you so much.