The mining sector in Canada has seen a significant amount of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity recently with notable deals including B2Gold’s (TSX:BTO, NYSE American: BTG) acquisition of Sabina Gold for C$1.1 billion, Kinross Gold’s (TSX:K, NYSE:KGC) acquisition of Great Bear Resources for C$1.8 billion and the C$13.5 billion merger between Agnico Eagle and Kirkland Lake Gold (TSX:AEM, NYSE:AEM).
As the gold price hovers near all-time highs, one of the focuses in the Canadian mining sector has been on exploration projects.
Gold investors want to get in on “the next big thing” in the Great White North before word gets out.
Westhaven Gold Corp. (TSXV:WHN) is a Canadian exploration company that could just fit that bill.
The Vancouver-based exploration group continues to unlock the vast potential of its projects in British Columbia. In this article, we will delve into key aspects that make this company an intriguing investment prospect.
Westhaven Gold has four gold projects spread along the Spences Bridge Gold Belt (SBGB) in southern British Columbia. In the 1860’s, the Fraser River gold rush attracted thousands of prospectors turning the tiny town of Yale into the largest city west of Boston.
It’s believed that the lode gold source for the Fraser River gold rush is likely located along the SBGB and possibly on one of Westhaven’s properties.
Westhaven has been working in the SBGB since its IPO in 2011 and, up until the company made a very high-grade gold discovery in late 2018, was largely alone on the belt.
Westhaven used this time to carefully grow its project portfolio to over 37,000 hectares of the most prospective claims along the SBGB.
In late 2018, Westhaven announced that it had drilled 17.7 metres of 24.50 g/t gold including nearly 7 metres of 50.76 g/t gold at its Shovelnose gold property and the rest is history. It wasn’t long after that the rest of the belt was staked.
Westhaven has expanded on that initial discovery and traced a single vein zone now over 4kms in length. The Company continues to drill big hits including 23.03 metres of 37.24 g/t Gold and 209.52 g/t silver, 12.66 m of 39.31 g/t gold and 133.11 g/t silver, and 12 metres of 39.42 g/t gold and 51.81 g/t silver. This is arguably one of the best gold discoveries in Canada in the past 10 to 15 years.
Westhaven’s president and CEO, Gareth Thomas, has said that “this large and underexplored Shovelnose Gold Property has a lot more discoveries to be made.” Just recently, in fact, the company drilled 17.61 grams per tonne (g/t) gold over 3.68 m, including 27.6 g/t gold over 1.65 m at the MIK zone, this is the highest-grade gold intercept off the Zone One Trend since the initial discovery back in late 2018.
He goes on to say, “Not only has this additional drilling improved our understanding of the MIK target area, but it has also opened up a highly prospective area that warrants further follow-up drilling in the near term.”
“Our technical team has been prospecting, mapping, and sampling underexplored areas on Shovelnose where new showings have been discovered. We look forward to further defining these new targets with the goal to drill test them in the new year.”
This past summer, the company released a robust preliminary economic assessment focusing on the Shovelnose’s South Zone, discovered in 2018. This assessment highlighted a high-margin and low-cost concept with a 9.5-year mine life with a production rate of 1,000 tonnes per day (tpd).
Boasting a pre-tax internal rate of return (IIR) of 41.4 per cent and an after-tax IRR of 32.3 per cent, the project boasts a low All-In Sustaining Cost (AISC) of C$989/ounce (oz) (US$752/oz) gold equivalent (AuEq).
“In addition to high grades, the South Zone benefits from wide, steeply dipping mineralized vein domains which contribute to a robust, low-cost, high-margin mining opportunity. Results from this PEA certainly underpin a significant property value with serious economic benefits and provide an excellent cornerstone from which to build upon,” Thomas said. “Westhaven’s continued focus is on exploration and expanding the gold-silver mineral inventory outside the South Zone. Multiple notable discoveries have been made on this large (176 square km), underexplored property since the initial South Zone discovery, all of which are outside the area assessed in the current PEA. With a fully funded drill program underway, management expects to be able to significantly increase the property’s mineral resource base as we drill off the newer discoveries and test additional outside targets.”
Exploration is a crucial aspect of every mining company’s growth strategy. With ongoing exploration activities at the Shovelnose Gold Project, Westhaven Gold continues to enhance its understanding of the geological potential of the region. As the company identifies new drill targets and expands its resource base, investors have an opportunity to benefit from potential share price appreciation resulting from positive exploration updates.
The location of the Shovelnose property is another advantage for Westhaven Gold. It is near the Coquihalla Highway in British Columbia, just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Vancouver. This proximity to infrastructure and a low-cost, safe jurisdiction makes it an attractive prospect for major mining companies. The property remains largely underexplored, presenting further potential for discovery.
Investing in a company operating in a stable and mining-friendly jurisdiction is paramount for mitigating risks. British Columbia is regarded as one of the world’s top mining jurisdictions, offering excellent infrastructure, a skilled workforce, and supportive regulatory frameworks.
Westhaven has an ongoing, fully funded exploration program at the Shovelnose property and will look to undertake exploration and/or drilling across its other three properties in 2024.
Westhaven Gold has been successful in attracting significant institutional support, which is an encouraging sign for potential investors. Institutional support not only provides access to capital but also validates the company’s potential and growth prospects. This support indicates confidence in Westhaven Gold’s ability to deliver results and adds credibility to its investment case.
Westhaven Gold completed a C$10 million financing package with the gold-focused royalty and streaming company Franco-Nevada Corp. (TSX:FNV) (NYSE:FNV) in 2022. It’s rare for a junior exploration company to attract interest from a C$30 billion gold company so this serves as a major “stamp of approval” for Westhaven.
One of the crucial factors to consider when investing in mining companies is the management team’s experience and expertise. Westhaven Gold possesses a competent leadership team with a proven track record in exploration and mine development. Led by President and CEO Gareth Thomas, the team brings extensive technical knowledge and a strong network within the mining industry.
Chairman Gren Thomas is its largest shareholder. He along with Management owns roughly 24 per cent of the shares outstanding which means Management are heavily aligned with investors. Many savvy resource investors have likely heard his name before. As an inductee to the Canadian Mining Hall of Fame, he’s been involved with some of the most significant discoveries in history, such as the Diavik Diamond Mine in Lac de Gras, Northwest Territories in 1994, which is now one of the world’s richest diamond mines. That discovery took the company he founded, Aber Resources from $0.50 a share to a peak of C$50.00. Could this happen again with Westhaven Gold?
Westhaven Gold Corp. presents investors with an opportunity to participate in the exploration of high-grade gold properties along this underexplored and emerging gold belt in southern British Columbia. Backed by a strong management team that’s heavily aligned with shareholders, the Company’s ongoing exploration activities, as with any investment, it is crucial to conduct thorough research and assess the risks involved before making any investment decisions.
As the leadership team at the helm works to advance new agreements with industry players, the company has already made a discovery on its flagship Shovelnose property, and with sufficient capital and a favorable gold market, it is positioned for growth in the coming months. Westhaven Gold presents an investment opportunity with the potential for significant returns.
Past performance is not an indicator of future returns. NIA is not an investment advisor and does not provide investment advice. Always do your own research and make your own investment decisions. This message is not a solicitation or recommendation to buy, sell, or hold securities. NIA has received compensation from WHN of US$50,000 cash for a six-month marketing contract. This message is meant for informational and educational purposes only and does not provide investment advice.