RSD at Beaver Creek Interview Series: Westhaven Ventures' (TSX-V: WHN) Shaun Pollard and Sean Thompson
Gerardo Del Real: This is Gerardo Del Real with Resource Stock Digest. Joining me today from Westhaven Ventures (TSX-V: WHN)(OTC: WTHVF) is Shaun Pollard and Sean Thompson. Gentlemen, how are you?
Sean Thompson: Fantastic. Thanks for having us, Gerardo.
Gerardo Del Real: Heck of a scene here at the 2019 Beaver Creek Precious Metals Summit. Sean Thompson, let's start with you. You've been involved in just a little bit over $1.3 billion in buyout action between Kaminak and Atlantic Gold.
Sean Thompson: Yeah.
Gerardo Del Real: It's a heck of a track record. We chatted a few months ago and here you are now with Westhaven Ventures. Tell me a little bit about why no time off and right back at it.
Sean Thompson: Well, I've been very fortunate, as you know, to have worked with good people.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely.
Sean Thompson: Good gold assets in politically safe jurisdictions, being Canada. Kaminak was Eira Thomas. That was a $500-million takeover by Goldcorp. Atlantic Gold was with Steven Dean and Maryse Belanger. That was about an $800-million takeover transaction with St. Barbara, recently.
Westhaven – I've been following for years – they recently made a major gold discovery, high-grade gold, brand new discovery on a brand new gold belt in British Columbia, Canada. Excellent people, and they're moving fast and I need to be involved. I'm going to help and we're onto something that I think is potentially very significant.
Gerardo Del Real: I love it. Shaun, you and I met at New Orleans, I think about a year ago.
Shaun Pollard: Actually 2016.
Gerardo Del Real: Was it that?
Shaun Pollard: It was that long ago.
Gerardo Del Real: It was three years ago.
Shaun Pollard: That's right, I had a lot more hair then.
Gerardo Del Real: Different asset last time we chatted and in my mind it was a year ago. But let's go back three years. It was a different asset than the discovery that you're onto now. Frankly, I missed Westhaven Ventures, the run up. Convince me and tell me why there's still a lot of runway there.
Shaun Pollard: Because we're just getting started. This time last year, chances are nobody had heard of us. But since then we've gone on to discover, not one, not two, but three high-grade veins in less than a year. It's discovery that drives, obviously, share price appreciation. We're just getting started.
The more we drill, the better we understand this mineralization. I'm not going to say it becomes easier, but it does kind of become easier. This area that we're in so far, it's only a few hundred meters in length, about 700 meters in length, but we have potential kilometers of strike lenghts in just one zone, and there could be potentially multiple zones like this across the property.
Now, when I say high-grade veins, I mean high-grade veins.
Gerardo Del Real: That was my next question. Give me some context there.
Shaun Pollard: October 17, 2018 we announced a discovery hole, which was 17.7 meters of 24.5 grams.
That's a huge hit. Two weeks later we followed it up with Hole 1815, a hundred meters away, that was 46 meters plus of nearly 9 grams per tonne. But within that, you had a 20-meter vein that ran 10 grams per tonne.
You don't get 20-meter veins that run 10 grams per tonne, unless you're dealing with a significant gold endowment. Since then we've gone on to drill better holes and discover multiple veins and reverse engineer this. We don't want to put this into production ourselves.
So what does a potential acquirer want to see? And having met with many potential acquires here thus far, they want to see at least 3 million ounces if not 5 million ounces.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely.
Shaun Pollard: Now there's two ways that you can build ounces, one of which is to find multiple vein zones. And the second of course is to extend this along strike. Well, we just announced at the end of August, we have discovered a third high-grade vein zone.
And also we continue to drill along strike and we continue to hit mineralization in veining as well. So we're actually doing both. We're adding veins, which adds breadth from the east-west perspective. And we're also adding strike length.
So we believe that we could possibly be one of these rare elephants that the majors are looking for, 5-plus million ounces of high grade. And what's important to note here is that we are literally off one of British Columbia's largest highways. It cuts the western portion of our claims. We have hydro just to the north of our claims as well.
We're near the city of Merritt. So we don't need to build housing, we don't need to use helicopters. We're not having to punch roads. Three of the largest components of CAPEX are already basically taken care of. And the city of Merritt, they'd cartwheel down the street if we could add another few hundred people there because of a mine.
We're in a very mining friendly jurisdiction too, just north of us is Highland Valley, which is Canada's largest open-pit copper mine. To the south of us, you have Copper Mountain. To say it's mining friendly would be an understatement.
Sean Thompson: And another thing to add, and Shaun can elaborate on this, is that discovery hole, the 18 meters at 25 grams, kicked off the largest staking rush in B.C. history.
Gerardo Del Real: Right.
Sean Thompson: A group called Talisker came in and staked a large portion of the belt, and Shaun can tell you who's behind that group.
Shaun Pollard: Right, so we'd been having a certain group of well-known explorationists come to the property since 2015. They always thought we were onto something, but it wasn't until 2018 that we really started to demonstrate that there was high-grade gold potential there.
Because we had a confidential agreement in place – the confidential agreement had an area of interest at 10 kilometers – hat basically meant, because we have four properties along this belt, that they wouldn't have much to stake if we didn't do a deal on the area of interest.
Gerardo Del Real: Sure.
Shaun Pollard: So what we did was, we agreed to collapse the area of interest to nothing, they undertook the largest staking exercise in B.C. history, 189,000 hectors. They basically staked the entire belt that wasn't already staked. And now everything that they staked within 5 kilometers of our four properties across the belt, we have a 2.5% NSR on, and everything outside of that have a right of first refusal, which is effectively a backend clause.
So chances are, anything found across the belt we win and they don't have an interest in any of our projects. But the reason we wanted this group in the belt is because this group here, the chairman is Tom Obradovich. Tom was the chairman of Aurelian. Aurelian discovered the Fruta del Norte, which is arguably the best gold discovery in the last 20 years. 13-million-plus ounces down in Ecuador.
When Tom announced that they had undertaken the staking initiative, he said that he believes that this belt here has the potential to host multiple Fruta del Nortes. And so when a guy like that who's says something like that, it's a good stamp of approval and confidence that this belt has the potential.
It's a new district and we control the district because we'd been there since 2011 by ourselves and we also believe that we already have the four best properties. That's why we didn't stake the belt ourselves. But yeah looking forward, this belt's going to see huge amount of of exploration.
In fact, as soon as the snow melted this year, they had 22-plus geologists. Again, these guys don't mess around. They undertook what I believe is the largest stream sediment collecting initiative in B.C. history, 4,500 streams, and they're doing a fantastic job.
They're finding a lot of interesting looking rock. They're not drilling just yet, but we wish them nothing but luck. We're rooting for them too.
Gerardo Del Real: I'm pretty sure you have more confidentiality agreements signed now.
Shaun Pollard: We have, yes. It's a blessing and a curse having the property. It's a two and a half hour drive from Vancouver. You can be on the drill pad.
Gerardo Del Real: Yeah.
Shaun Pollard: It's a blessing and a curse because everyone comes into town and then all of a sudden we'll do five or six site tours in a week sometimes, just driving up and down.
Sean Thompson: Another key point, and this is another reason I was attracted to Westhaven, is management insiders own 38% of the shares. That means as a shareholder, they are aligned with you.
Gerardo Del Real: Absolutely.
Sean Thompson: That's a key point. You ask any company how much they own in their company, other than Rob McEwen I don't think anyone's got that type of insider ownership.
Gerardo Del Real: You mentioned management and you talked about you were attracted to Westhaven because of the people. Let's talk about the team in place at Westhaven.
Sean Thompson: I'll let Shaun answer that.
Shaun Pollard: Gren Thomas is the Chairman. So Gren Thomas, Vic Tanaka, Gareth Thomas and myself founded this company in 2010 and went public in 2011. Between Gren and Vic, there's a hundred of years of successful exploration experience. Gren is a Canadian Mining Hall of Fame Prospector of the Year award winner, he discovered Diavik, which is one of the world's richest diamond pipes, diamond mines, discovered Snap Lake, another diamond mine, discovered Thor Lake, a rare earths deposit.
10% of the explorers make 90% of the discoveries and we're quite fortunate to have that 10%. Also, recently in 2016, this might've been what changed in 2016 is, we had Peter Fischl join us. Peter is arguably one of the world's foremost epithermal experts. He came to us having spent the last 12-plus years at Kupol. Again, another high-grade multi-million ounce deposit in Russia. He was there from discovery through to production and it was really his expertise that helped us make this discovery. And what that means for our other properties, as well as we're going to be back at the Prospect Valley. We're going to be back at the Skoonka and the Skoonka North.
We have four properties, all of which could be equal to or better than the Shovelnose. All of which have the capability of potentially hosting multi-million ounce, high-grade gold deposits. All with road accessible, near major cities and in a safe jurisdiction.
In fact, the Aussies are coming into B.C. Newcrest just paid, I believe it was $900 million for Imperial and a lot of other major companies are investing in B.C. that weren't already invested there before.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. Sean, tell me about the share structure. We talked about the runway. What's that look like?
Sean Thompson: 89 million shares out, about just under 98 million or around there fully diluted. It's something that I think if we do get another $5 or $10 million in the treasury, we go drill, we keep hitting, we get out there, we tell the story. I think we can add a lot of value there and like Shaun said, we don't plan to be around to mine this. We like to find gold and eventually the plan would be to to sell it at a premium.
Gerardo Del Real: Excellent. The website, gentlemen, where can people find the story?
Shaun Pollard: www.westhavenventures.com.
Gerardo Del Real: Sean, anything you'd like to add?
Sean Thompson: I hope to be three for three here, Gerardo, and hopefully you and your subscribers are onboard.
Gerardo Del Real: We're looking forward to it. Thank you, sir. I appreciate it, Shaun and Sean, thank you guys. Cheers.