It’s not often that you see a junior mining company release a general corporate update, with no new drill results, that sparks a 45% rally in the stock with a dramatic and sustained increase in daily volume. Especially over the last two weeks, which hasn’t exactly been a “risk-on” type of market. Naturally, I was inclined to have a look and see what all the fuss was about.
It may come as no surprise that I had no idea what most of the somewhat technical press release was trying to convey. My commerce degree and business experience have not blessed me with the ability to interpret geologic concepts. I can grasp oz/tonne, true width, depth, inferred resource, etc. but that’s all just math (which my degree and business experience did equip me to comprehend). But when it comes to hyperspectral imaging, induced polarization survey, or the role of compressional structures on stratigraphy, you might as well be speaking another language, specifically one I don’t understand. However, the market has spoken and the market is always right, so even though I may not understand it, it appears that it is pretty good news.
The company that has generated this recent buzz is Westward Gold Inc. (CSE: WG | OTCQB: WGLIF), a mineral exploration company focused on developing the Toiyabe, Turquoise Canyon, and East Saddle Projects located in the Cortez Hills area of Nevada. They’ve assembled a 3,830 hectare land package in the heart of Nevada’s Battle Mountain-Eureka Gold Trend, one of the most prospective mining districts in the world, approximately 10 kilometers southwest of Barrick Gold Corp.’s Cortez Hills mine and adjacent to Barrick’s past producing Toiyabe-Saddle Mine.
The press release that caught the market’s attention was a seemingly run-of-the-mill corporate update, but I guess the devil is in the details. I’ve already stated that a lot of the technical information was over my head but I’ll try and interpret what made this particular update a little more special. It was a very thorough summary of the last year’s activity, but there wasn’t a lot of news that hadn’t already been disclosed. As near as I can tell, only the IP Survey, possibly reinterpretation of legacy geophysical data, and the combination of this data, with previously disclosed information, to come up with new stratigraphic findings are new to the public domain. So the excitement must lie somewhere within there.
Highlights from the 17 line-kilometer IP Survey point to the main host rock at the Historical Resource at Toiyabe (~173 koz at 1.2 g Au/t) being interpreted to also be present at Turquoise Canyon, under only 150-250 meters of cover. The chargeability model confirms two near-term step-out targets at Toiyabe and further informs priority targets at Turquoise Canyon. Reinterpretation of legacy geophysical data confirmed the IP findings related to the presence of favorable Lower Plate carbonates below the Upper Plate cover at Turquoise Canyon and further understanding of the geometry of the carbonate window and associated structures at Toiyabe. Certainly, positive news but even a layman like myself is struggling to find anything market-moving here.
That suggests it’s all down to the new stratigraphic findings (or I’ve completely missed the boat on this one, which is entirely possible). Cross-section analysis provided for a new understanding of the role of compressional structures on stratigraphy, the dip of mineralization, and a potential link between mineralization at surface in the Toiyabe-Saddle open pits and at depth at Toiyabe. Repetition of favorable lithologies (stratigraphic duplex) appears to occur beneath the Historical Resource. The Company believes this confirms that gold mineralization is hosted in the Horse Canyon and Wenban Formations, which are documented gold hosts at the nearby Pipeline, Cortez Hills, Goldrush, and Fourmile deposits.
If that is the good news, I will always be late to the dance because I look for something more understandable (to me), like drill results, to get me excited. To that end, the Company is proceeding with a 12-15 hole, 4,000 meter drilling campaign scheduled to begin in June, focusing on several of the targets noted above. This initial drilling program is budgeted to be roughly US$1 million, which leaves ample funds for Phase 2 drilling later in the year following the Company’s recent C$2.5 million financing, which closed in February.
At the end of the day, the market has spoken and people a lot more knowledgeable than me are suggesting Westward Gold might be on to something in Nevada. With a market cap of only C$10 million, this is another example of an almost free option on a company with an interesting next couple of months ahead of it.