Markets reacted on Tuesday, Jan. 17, to a fresh bonanza find in one of Canada’s newest gold districts. Canadian exploration firm Westhaven Gold Corp. (TSXV:WHN) started the year strong with the release of assay results from their 2022 drill program at the 100%-owned Shovelnose Gold Property. Shovelnose is one of four Westhaven properties located along the historic Spence’s Bridge Gold Belt (SBGB) on the southern border of British Columbia.

The latest results include intercepts of 3.70m of 39.27g/t Gold and 12.00m of 39.42g/t Gold (including 6.20m of 73.51g/t Gold) beneath the property’s Franz Zone. A notable aspect of the find is the shallow depth, with both intercepts occurring above 40m.

Tuesday’s announcement comes one year after Westhaven’s initial mineral resource estimate (MRE) at Shovelnose in January 2022. The MRE established an initial resource of 1.1Moz Gold in the property’s South Zone, with 75% of the resource in the indicated category. However, the considerable South Zone MRE (located 2.3km southeast of Franz) covers just a small fraction of the 17,000-ha Shovelnose Project.

The Franz Zone intercepts serve as a fitting continuation of Westhaven’s success in 2022. The zone has been on the radar of Westhaven’s exploration team since 2020 after a drill analysis of a prominent surface outcrop. Franz’s exposed bedrock is now deemed to be the result of a cross-fault intersection with Shovelnose’s lucrative Vein Zone 1. Vein Zone 1 was a primary source of the South Zone MRE and has grown in strike length from 400m to 4km on a northwesterly trend since 2018.

The strike lengths and high-grade trends along the Shovelnose Property speak to the scale of potential in this underexplored region. With this in mind, Westhaven CEO Gareth Thomas maintained a big-picture approach when discussing the Franz Zone find with Resource Stock Digest’s Gerardo Del Real.

“We’re going to be at least digging a few more holes to the northwest of Franz,” said Thomas, “It’s going to be a busy year for Westhaven… as we have a lot more targets to look at as well.”

Thomas told investors to expect more details regarding Westhaven’s 2023 drill program in the coming weeks. Westhaven is sure to follow the Vein Zone 1 trend southeast from South Zone to the relatively unexplored Alpine and Tower Zones. Thomas also divulged that Westhaven’s improved geo-modelling is being used to identify other cross-faults to determine future drill targets.

Westhaven also has another gold property that recently completed its inaugural drill program. The Skoonka gold property is located 50 km northwest of the Shovelnose. This program resulted in a number of significant high-grade gold intersections and broad medium-grade gold zones. The epithermal gold system at Skoonka now extends 1.6km in strike length and remains open to both the northeast and southwest.

Westhaven’s shares rose 13.5% upon the release of the latest results. The share price boost comes on the back of a US$7.5M cash injection from industry heavyweight Franco-Nevada, who purchased a 2% net smelter royalty (NSR) on all four of Westhaven’s SBGB properties in September 2022. Westhaven now finds itself in a strong cash position for continued exploration. Thomas forecasts that the Franco-Nevada investment will fund exploration activities across all its properties this year.

The fact that the Franz Zone’s intercept is at surface adds yet another cost-saving factor to the economic viability of the Shovelnose Project. The property is easily navigable through a 400km network of previously built logging roads. Furthermore, it borders the Coquihalla Highway, has access to necessary infrastructure and is a mere 2.5-hour drive to the port city of Vancouver. Westhaven expects easy access to these resources to strengthen the argument for potential cost savings for the future development of Shovelnose into Canada’s next high-grade gold project. That being said, Westhaven Gold remains very much a high-grade gold exploration story with the objective of building its gold inventory through discovery on all its properties this year.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This is a paid article by The Market Herald.

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