White Gold Corp’s (V.WGO) exploration and geological team led by legendary Yukon prospector, Shawn Ryan, and quarterbacked by VP Exploration, Jodie Gibson, is already in the field and as CEO David D’Onofrio said in a recent interview with MotherlodeTV: “This season is our most exciting yet and we are well underway.”
On June 10, 2019 White Gold put out a press release updating their flagship Golden Saddle & Arc deposits’ Mineral Resource Estimate based on their 2018 exploration results. Representing a roughly 25% increase from the prior year’s resource estimate, bringing the deposits to 1,039,600 Indicated and 508,700 Inferred oz Au at very good grades. In this release, D’Onofrio commented, “This expansion of the mineral resource estimate further demonstrates the continued success of our systematic data-driven exploration methodologies, and the value we are generating across our unique portfolio of assets. We are very pleased with the significant increase in the Golden Saddle & Arc in 2018 with the relatively limited amount of drilling performed. The growth in the Golden Saddle was primarily driven by the 2018 GS West Zone discovery and continued drilling of the GS Main Zone. The newly discovered GS West in 2018 is part of the same mineralized system as the Golden Saddle, all of which we believe can be expanded with additional drilling.”
The increase in the Mineral Resource Estimate was gratifying and continues to be a part of the company’s agenda for this season’s exploration program. “We will continue to add ounces at Golden Saddle,” said D’Onofrio. “However, last year we made multiple new discoveries: Golden Saddle West, Ryan’s Surprise and super high-grade Vertigo on the JP Ross property. Vertigo is now a beast on its own.”
“This year we will be doing the first diamond drilling at Vertigo,” said D’Onofrio. “We also have a number of Vertigo look-a-likes which we are lining up for Rotary Air Blast (RAB) and Reverse Circulation (RC) drilling. We will be looking more closely at the new targets we identified last season and so far have at least 30 of these opportunities to explore.” (See Press Release here)
“We have a very specific, data-driven, exploration process which starts with soil samples,” said D’Onofrio. “This season alone we are doing over 27,500 soil samples.”
27,500 soil samples may sound like a lot, but with over one million acres in their land package located in the prolific White Gold District, Yukon, it is just one step of their data-driven 2019 exploration program. “Our strategy has always been to be an exploration company, not a mine development company. Our partners, Agnico Eagle and Kinross want us to do what we do best, which is explore,” said D’Onofrio. “We don’t want to do definition drilling. We want to do enough drilling to prove up an asset and then spin it off. Let the majors do the definition drilling.”
“We have learned from the Underworld story; where the entire company was sold after making a single discovery, leaving a lot of value on the table. We don’t want to do that as there is so much opportunity in our portfolio,” said D’Onofrio. “Agnico Eagle and Kinross are happy for us to do continue our exploration work and grow our assets. Golden Saddle is getting close, and we believe Vertigo is a beast all on its own. Our goal is to get each of our discoveries up to the point where the majors come in and take it from there.”
D’Onofrio is seasoned in the capital markets, so I wanted his opinion on their current state. “Right now, the market is tough for juniors raising capital. However we were fortunate enough to raise 15 million dollars last year in a bought deal financing further strengthening our balance sheet, and our majors participated to retain each of their roughly 20% ownership respectively. We have a job to do and we have the money to do it,” said D’Onofrio. “It’s absolutely an enviable position for many juniors today.”
In their June 10, 2019 press release, D’Onofrio states: “Continuing to grow the Golden Saddle & Arc resource will be one element of our fully funded $13 million 2019 exploration program which also includes plans to expand the historic 230,000 ounce Inferred Resource on the recently acquired VG Zone, diamond drilling on the high-grade 2018 Vertigo discovery, and the generation of additional grass root discoveries across our 1 million acre land package in Yukon’s prolific White Gold District.”
“Last year the market rewarded our success,” said D’Onofrio. “This season we continue our exploration on a number of high-priority targets, and are optimistic we will continue the strong performance. Going into White Gold’s third season, with the depth of data we continue to grow, we are feeling pretty positive.”
“We have built a unique company,” said D’Onofrio. “We have a huge amount of prospective ground, money in the bank, two majors, Agnico and Kinross, supporting our efforts and the most experienced and successful team in the district.”
Overall, White Gold’s model of proving up deposits across a wide expanse of prospective land and then handing them off to majors for development gives the company the potential to create significant shareholder value over and over. With Golden Saddle & Arc deposit’s 1,039,600 oz Au Indicated and 508,700 oz Au Inferred, alongside their newly acquired VG deposit’s 230,000 oz Au, going into the 2019 drilling and exploration season White Gold is well positioned. The Golden Saddle deposit is very close to “ripe” to be taken over by a major, and the Vertigo target is showing all the signs of being the next up.
The 2019 season, if all goes well, could be the season which produces the first spin-out project, and a market re-rating of White Gold’s shares. Exploration companies often talk about a “project pipeline”, White Gold has that pipeline, and it is very full.