General Precious Metals
Westhaven Gold (TSX-V: WHN)(OTC: WTHVF) CEO Gareth Thomas on Chasing High Grade at Skoonka Creek Gold Property
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today is the president and CEO of Westhaven Gold, Mr. Gareth Thomas. Gareth, it is great to have you back on. It's been a bit. How are you, sir?
Gareth Thomas: I'm well, Gerardo. Thank you again for having me. I guess we haven't really spoken or seen one another since Beaver Creek.
Gerardo Del Real: It's been a bit. I thought a catch-up was warranted. You had some news. We all know that the focus of the company is on the high-grade discovery on the Shovelnose project, of course. But you just had some news where you are drilling another property, and I know it's one that you're excited about, so I wanted to get you on and see if we can get the details on it.
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, we started drilling on Skoonka, it's in the news release there, our Skoonka Creek property, which we acquired...well, way back now in 2017. And just a bit of background, we were looking to drill that back in 2017, but we were having much more success on Shovelnose at that point, starting to drill in the multi-meter scale quartz veins there. So just with the limited capital and resources at that time, we decided to push on with Shovelnose, and of course, not long after, made a discovery there.
So needless to say, Skoonka, Peter did a lot of work there back in 2017, and we had about 13 targets there, delineated from that work, and just past work done by our predecessors, Strongbow and Almaden, we had some really nice-looking targets there. And historically, they had drilled back in 2005, almost 13 meters, 12.8 meters at 20 grams/tonne gold. So we're following up on hits like that.
And also drilling quite a ways away, about 700 meters, what's known as the JJ West Zone there. So, yeah, it was just time, I think we'd been champing at the bit, pardon the pun here, to get drilling. So we bought Skoonka, and for various reasons we just hadn't really had the time or resources, but this year, we felt it was good timing, just where we're at, with a bit of money. So here we are, and, yeah, things are going well so far.
Gerardo Del Real: Correct me if I'm wrong, I'm definitely not a geologist, but this is an epithermal vein system that, the way that I understand it from reading the press release, you believe that the JJ Vein Zone may have been preserved at JJ West. Is that accurate? And there's a mag low that has high-level pathfinders, the mercury, the arsenic, that's leading you to believe that. How has that been helpful, doing that work and looking at that data, and vectoring into the target that you're trying to drill out here?
Gareth Thomas: Yeah. No, you're exactly right there; it's an epithermal... low-sulfidation epithermal system, and a little bit different host rock, but gold doesn't discriminate on that there. We see this tends to be more of an andesitic unit, but also seeing some rhyolite there as well. But up in Skoonka in particular, I think they drilled a total of about 7,000 meters in the few years they were working there, so not a ton of drilling, really. To put that in perspective, it took us about 50,000 meters to have our high-grade intercept or discovery on the Shovelnose.
So we felt, for whatever reason, we were able to acquire this, and maybe they thought there wasn't economic or preserved gold here. And we certainly think now, after what we know and having Peter and our team focusing on this, we certainly see that this thing will continue on, and certainly off to the west there in the JJ West target, as you mentioned, we did some magnetics back in 2017, and we got lots of good pathfinder elements in prospecting and geochemistry work as well.
So, yeah. Not only that, though; we're sitting back as we're looking here now, and as we're drilling, we're also seeing this as a property-wide...there's a lot of targets on this property, so we're already getting excited for what will be for next year there as well, along with what we're just starting to see in drill core here. But it's a property that warrants a lot of attention, and we're starting to see that now as we've unearthed a bit more data since we started here. So there's lots of gold and soil anomalies, and a lot of this we think is masked by a unit that could have, as we see in South Zone at Shovelnose, where we have a preserved vein underneath this overburden, and we think it could be something similar going on here at Skoonka Creek.
So really just cracking the nut here, just getting started here. But we think this property will definitely have some legs, and we see ourselves working here doing quite a program on here next year. So we'll hopefully have some results prior to year end, if not shortly out in the new year there, depending on lab times. But we're excited to see what is at Skoonka Creek.
Gerardo Del Real: When we spoke in Beaver Creek, you had just arranged a financing package with Franco Nevada. I can only imagine the kind of due diligence that goes into something like that, given how technical and competent obviously Franco Nevada is and how strict they are in allocating capital, especially to juniors. How are things coming along on the Shovelnose side of it, and then how's the treasury look, Gareth, given that that's closed and on the books?
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, no, once again, we're obviously very excited, and it's a great stamp of approval there with Franco, and Shovelnose, just to touch on that, we're continuing to see this vein zone one as we move, we've been focusing really on FMN there, northwesterly towards the Franz outcrop, which I guess might be a bit of a segue there, as an update there. Of course we have that high-grade outcrop there, and we've stripped some material off of there and are starting to look at that and map it, and see where we're going to go with that.
But just for some listeners that might not be overly familiar or just to remind them of the Franz outcrop there, that's high-grade gold up to 50 grams on surface there. And we did drill some holes in and around it, but the one hole that's almost eight meters of 15 grams, was on the end or the periphery of this outcrop. And then another hole was probably just on the outside of it. So we've actually never really tested the heart of this Franz outcrop, so we're thinking of things sitting on surface there.
We're looking at the best ways to get what's the best value, how can we extract value out of this thing sitting on surface right at us here. So we may be looking at poking a few holes right into that outcrop to see what we're looking at there. And we think there's certainly something valuable there, sitting on surface there, in terms of high-grade gold. So where we focused a little bit of attention on that, and of course drilling we're close to closing the gap now between the Franz and the FMN as well. And, like I said, we continue to chase that vein zone one.
So as we come another month or so left to drilling here before the end of the year for us anyway, and look to start up again there January, February. And of course lots of targets we've delineated on the periphery of Shovelnose, on the periphery of the south zone and that veins on one, I should say we've got lots off to the southwest. We'll be following up on that hydrothermal breccia, too. So really lots on the go here, but still very much exploration and seeing what we can piece together here.
Gerardo Del Real: Fully funded for all work programs, correct?
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, we'll be funded here for quite some time, well into the second half of next year at the pace we're on. Of course, that can change given what the market's up to and where we see where our best value add this point in this type of market. And like I said, the markets, we're used to these types of cycles. It's not always the most fun time, but we are fully funded, which is great, and keep our head down and find more gold is really what we're doing.
Gerardo Del Real: We know when it turns, it turns quick. It's a cyclical space. It sounds like a cheesy cliche, but it is what it is, right? It's called "buy low, sell high." That's how we make money in this space. You can't do one without doing the other. Gareth, I think the shares are at a very, very compelling price point. I think the valuation is conservative to say the least, but you're doing all the right things. You're finding gold, you're cashed up, you have multiple catalysts here on the horizon, and you're adding value every time the drill bit turns. Anything to add to that?
Gareth Thomas: Yeah, on that note there, that's a good point, Gerardo, about where we're at in terms of our share price. And I don't tend to go on about this sort of thing because most people think their companies are undervalued. But we did just get a report out from Raymond James there. I think he got an 83 cent price on there, or now, I should say, of 83. So lots upside here, just with that one million ounces. And of course we believe we're adding to this as well. So we do feel we're very undervalued, and it can change in a hurry. When that is, don't ask me, but we'll be ready to go when that time comes.
Gerardo Del Real: Good stuff as always, Gareth. Great chatting and catching up. Appreciate your time. Thank you very much.
Gareth Thomas: You as well. Thank you very much, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: All right. Chat soon.