Red Pine says former CEO tampered with Wawa gold assays

Core shack at Wawa Gold project. Image from Red Pine Exploration.

Further investigation by Red Pine Exploration (TSXV: RPX) into the reporting inconsistencies on its Wawa gold project assays has led to the belief that its former CEO was the culprit of an “unauthorized manipulation” of certain results.

The conclusion was drawn after reviewing the chain of custody of assay results that were sent from Activation Laboratories of Ontario and those later used for public disclosure, which had shown inconsistencies.

During the investigation, the Canadian gold explorer found that while the correct drill core assays were sent via email by Actlabs from the spring of 2015 to January 30, 2024, they were only addressed to its former CEO, who the company believes tampered with some of the results and sent them to company staff.

The results were subsequently downloaded into Red Pine’s database and later used for a variety of purposes, including in-house resource modelling and the NI 43-101 technical report dated June 21, 2023 (with a resource effective date of May 31, 2019), the company claimed.

In total, 532 out of approximately 98,000 drill core assay results in the overall database appear to have been manipulated since Red Pine acquired the Wawa gold project in 2014.

The news release did not identify the former chief executive. However, Quentin Yarie held the CEO role from July 2015 until Feb. 21 this year.

Shares of Red Pine plunged again on the latest twist, dropping 26.1% to C$0.085 by 11:50 a.m. ET Friday, for a market capitalization of C$15.5 million ($11.3m). Earlier this month, the stock had recorded a 61% drop after the company withdrew the prior gold assay results.

The company divided its investigations over two distinct periods: 1) the assays received between 2014-2019 that resulted in the mineral resource set out in the technical report; and 2) the period from 2019 to the present, during which assay results were disclosed through press releases.

For the first period, Red Pine determined that the reporting inconsistencies resulted in certain reductions of the previously reported mineral resources for the Wawa gold project. The Surluga area would have an estimated loss of 39,500 to 54,000 oz. from the inferred part of the resource, while the Minto deposit would lose 8,000 to 12,000 oz. from the indicated part and 16,000 to 20,000 oz. from the inferred.

For the second period, the company said the investigations are continuing and hopes to provide an overview of the manipulation implications on the drilling results prior to market open on May 15, 2024.