Please start by giving readers some background to your major gold discovery and portfolio of exploration projects along the Spences Bridge Gold Belt in southern British Columbia.
Westhaven has four gold properties in the Spences Bridge Gold Belt in southwestern British Columbia (B.C.). This is a new gold belt for Canada and B.C. and potentially the source of the Fraser River Gold Rush back in the 1800s which drew thousands of prospectors to the area with dreams of striking it rich.
We own all of these gold properties 100% outright and that equates to about 37,000 hectares. Our flagship Shovelnose property, where the company made a high-grade gold discovery, is about 17,000 hectares and is where we’re currently drilling. The Shovelnose Gold Property initial discovery holes drilled 17.70m of 24.50 g/t gold and 107.92 g/t silver and 46.90m of 8.95 g/t gold and 65.47 g/t silver in late 2018. In early 2019 the company followed this up with 12.66m of 39.31 g/t gold and 133.11 g/t silver.
It’s a relatively new, 150-km-long cretaceous volcanic belt that was only really explored in the early 2000s. Over the last five years, the pace of exploration has picked up.
What is it about Spences Bridge Gold Belt that makes it so attractive for you as an explorer?
For one thing, it is location – just a two-and-a-half hours’ drive from the city of Vancouver. Our Shovelnose property is literally off the side of a six-lane highway, which is the main artery from Vancouver and the lower mainland up into the rest of B.C. It’s nice when you don’t have to take planes and helicopters as our exploration and drilling costs are in the lowest quartile compared with our peer group of explorers in B.C.
Another thing is the property hasn’t had much exploration done, as mentioned, so there’s district-scale potential. I mentioned the potential source of the Fraser River gold rush back in the 1800s: that gold came from somewhere and we believe this gold belt is that source. We have the dominant land position along this new and emerging gold belt with four large properties and the first major discovery at Shovelnose. There’s all sorts of gold, either in drill holes or silt anomalies. So there’s a lot of work to be done, and plenty of underexplored areas on this belt.
Recently you have had some really positive drill results coming from Shovelnose – particularly at the FMN Zone and the South Zone. Please give us a bit more background about what you’re finding there.
We announced our maiden resource on the South Zone in January this year, which is approximately 500m in strike and contains 1.1M oz of gold equivalent, including 75% in the indicated category and 25% in the inferred category. It’s a very nice start and a very nice maiden resource.
We’re continuing to find more gold as we speak, working away with two rigs turning. And we’ve just drilled our best drill hole to date (23.03m of 37.24 g/t gold and 209.52 g/t silver). This is probably one of the best gold drill holes in all of Canada this year as well.
The South Zone is a small portion of the property, but that 1.1M oz is an open pit scenario where cut off grades are 0.5 g/t of gold equivalent. Our average grade, there is about 2.47 grams per ton of gold, so seven times the cutoff grade is a very good number. So we’re happy about that, particularly as it’s a small portion of the area and we’re exploring a 4km-long trend where we just had our best drill result, which is about 2km from the heart of the South Zone.
Please tell us about some of the milestones you’ve had over the last year or two leading up to the maiden resource estimate.
Certainly the resource was a big milestone. We are happy to put that out. It’s a part of de-risking the programme, especially in exploration terms for prospecting and exploring. It is another stamp of approval for this area having a ton of potential. And of course the big high-grade gold intercept as mentioned earlier – that’s another milestone. Of course, you want to find more gold and when you hit high-grade gold, it’s great.
Volatile markets can be a challenge, but we’ll just stick to our job of finding more gold and silver. And I think that getting people aware of the Spences Bridge Gold Belt and making them realize that this isn’t just a one-off hole or a one-off couple of holes will be key. We firmly believe this will be a mine one day, and there’s going to be many more discoveries on this belt.
We firmly believe this will be a mine one day, and there’s going to be many more discoveries on this belt
From an investor’s point of view, what else makes the company attractive?
Crucially, our insiders own approximately 25% of our outstanding shares. So we’re always aligned with our shareholders. That gives people confidence as we’re heavily invested in this as well. And you should be these days.
You should certainly have, a good percentage of insiders owning what you ask others to invest in. We also have a lot of good shareholders, including funds and institutions.
The Shovelnose gold property already boasts a significant high-grade gold discovery with a maiden resource of just over 1M oz of gold. This is just the start. As previously mentioned, we have a drill turning right now on an exciting new zone called FMN where, in April, we drilled the highest-grade gold-silver intercept ever on the property and probably the entire gold belt. 23.03m of 37.24 g/t gold and 209.52 g/t silver including 1.12m of 294 g/t gold and 2,110 g/t silver at this FMN Zone. This was along strike and on trend the key structure from the South Zone Resource.
Our technical team also believe more ounces can be added around the South Zone resource area too. In fact, just recently, we drilled 3.13m of 45.23 g/t gold and 195.64 g/t silver within 8m of 20.22 g/t gold and 83.97 g/t silver at shovelnose. This high-grade gold and silver intercept is a new discovery in the Alpine Zone. So, you can see we are still very much an exploration story with several targets on this large and underexplored property.
We work very closely with the First Nations community in Merritt, (the town closest to the Shovelnose property), and more than half our staff in Merritt are from the First Nations community. We are forming strong relationships there as we want everybody to benefit from this project in the future.
Finally, what’s on the horizon for the rest of 2022?
We’ve currently got two rigs turning and we’re looking to add a third rig as well. And really even though we’ve done some really good de-risking things to de-risk our project here, we’re still an exploration story. So look out for lots more results to come.