All quiet on the gold front: time to buy — Westhaven
Year-to-date gold bullion is up 6%, the Gold Miners ETF is up 20% and the Junior Gold Miners ETF has increased 27%. Despite this, gold has faded from the front pages of the financial news.
"It is probably best to wade into gold when people aren't talking about it," stated Thomas Winmill, President of Midas Management Corp., in a recent interview with Kitco News.
As is evidenced by the performance of the Gold Miners and Junior Gold Miners ETF's, investors are starting to gravitate back towards this beleaguered sector. Depending on your risk tolerance, you have many options as to how you invest.
For those chasing big gains that can handle the associated high risk, exploration companies certainly fit the bill.
Exploration is a critical component in the mining industry because without it, new discoveries wouldn't be made and the producers would run out of ore to mine. The simple fact is, if producers don't replace their reserves, they'll go out of business.
Producers, historically, have preferred to acquire new discoveries rather than explore themselves. The problem producer's are facing though is that fewer world-class discoveries are being made. This is mainly attributed to the fact that exploration budgets have been slashed over the last several years and it's believed that the easier deposits to find already have been.
Many explorers are now going further afield into remote regions or into politically unstable locations to look for new deposits. Then again, some explorers believe there are big discoveries to be made right in their own backyards. Westhaven Ventures (TSX-V:WHN) is one of those explorers.
Headquartered in Vancouver, Westhaven is focused on its 3 projects in British Columbia. According to a recently published report by NRH Research, British Columbia is home to 7 of 50 of the world's largest undeveloped gold deposits that when combined contain roughly 147 million ounces of gold.
Westhaven Ventures Inc. is one of the more active junior exploration companies in B.C. this summer, as it embarks on its second drill campaign in two months. Last week the company, headed by Canadian Mining Hall of Fame inductee, Gren Thomas, completed 1,248 metres of drilling on its Ben property, located approximately 50 kilometres north of Williams Lake.
Earlier this year they announced that they had drilled approximately 70 metres of 0.31% nickel and 0.012% cobalt from their 2013 fall drill campaign at Ben. Gren Thomas, President & CEO of Westhaven stated, "Given the limited drilling to date, we're encouraged to have discovered this near surface nickel mineralization. From a gross metal value perspective, 0.31% nickel is the equivalent of 1.37 grams per ton gold."
"There is a reason that some teams are more successful than others," stated Westhaven CFO and Director Shaun Pollard in an exclusive interview with Financial Post, "Exploration is both a science and an art form. You need a certain mindset to see through the data and conceptualize in three dimensions. Gren Thomas has a long history of doing this. The prior exploration successes of Gren and our team ensure that Westhaven gets a lot of deal flow and has have access to capital."
While Westhaven awaits the results from the BEN drill program, the Company is turning its attention to its Shovelnose Gold Property, located approximately 30km south of Merritt. Located just off the Coquihalla highway, the Shovelnose property, like the BEN property, benefits from its close proximity to roads and infrastructure.
Exploration on the property has resulted in the discovery of float samples grading up to 119 grams per ton gold and 273 g/t silver, trenching up to 66 grams g/t gold and the identification of a large, low grade alteration zone. The Company has drilled approximately 2,400 metres across 20 holes as it attempts to locate the source of the bonanza gold found on surface.
The current drill program will consist of approximately 600 metres of diamond drilling with the goal to further expand and outline the extent of the newly recognized epithermal gold system present on the property. Drilling to date has expanded a highly anomalous silicified zone or cap when a sub horizontal near surface zone grading 0.54 g/t Au and 4.77 g/t Ag over 50.4 metres, which includes 13.7 metres grading 0.91 g/t Au and 6.65 g/t Ag, was intersected in 2012.
Gren Thomas, Westhaven's President & CEO, stated, "The discovery of a wide zone of auriferous silicification in the Spences Bridge Gold Belt, which contains numerous small, high grade epithermal showings, is very encouraging. Management feels that the zone tested is high in the system and that we are close to finding higher grade sections within the area. We look forward to a very active exploration season on this very well located project just off the Coquihalla Highway."
Westhaven's largest shareholders are its officers and directors as they own over 54% of the 27m shares outstanding. "Total salaries for the officers and directors are $100,000 per annum," stated Pollard. "This means money gets put into the ground and not into our pockets. We are focused on discovery and are heavily incentivized, along with our shareholders, to do so."
Thomas and his team are very specific in the criteria applied to property acquisition.
"First and foremost, the property has to have great geology," explains Pollard. "Political risk is another important factor. There is no point developing an asset to have it taken from you, or to have the royalty structure changed because of an election outcome. Political risk means risk to the investors' capital, so we minimize our exposure. A third criteria essential to our acquisition philosophy is infrastructure. All of Westhaven's properties are in close proximity to current or past producing mines. You can leave Vancouver by car and be on the Shovelnose property in 2.5 hours," stated Pollard.
With results pending from the completed drill program at the BEN property and a drill program underway at the Shovelnose gold property, there are multiple catalysts that could cause Westhaven's share price to move upwards in the near term.
WHN is currently trading at .09 with a market cap of $2.4 million.
Westhaven Ventures Inc. 604-681-5558 www.westhavenventures.com