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Co. Looks to Ground To Grow High-Grade Gold Resource

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This company has started an induced polarization geophysics program at its project in Nevada, hoping to grow its high-grade gold and silver resource there.

Western Exploration Inc. (WEX:TSX.V;WEXPF:OTC) announced it has started its induced polarization (IP) geophysics program and a 2,000-meter diamond core drill campaign at its Aura gold and silver and project in Nevada.

IP uses chargeability in the soil to explore for mineralization. KLM Geophysics has started the 33-kilometer program to test the Doby George and Wood Gulch/Gravel Creek resource areas and new targets in the Maggie Summit area, the company said.

The drilling will target a northeast-trending structural corridor at the site, Western Exploration said.

"Data compilation and targeting . . .  over the past year has refined mineralization controls and identified multiple targets that may expand the current Aura Project resource base near Doby George and Wood Gulch/Gravel Creek, as well as hold potential for new generative discoveries in the Maggie Summit area," Western Exploration Chief Executive Officer Darcy Marud said. "Previous IP surveys were very successful in outlining the Gravel Creek deposit, and we are excited to see results as we extend the technique into other areas of the project."

After the company announced 69.3% gold extraction in metallurgical heap leach test results at Doby George in July, Technical Analyst Clive Maund wrote that the stock, which he rated a Speculative Buy, "looks like a Buy here for a reversal into a recovery."

The company wants to grow Aura — made up of the Doby George, Wood Gulch, and Gravel Creek deposits — from a more than 1-million-ounce (Moz) gold and 10-Moz silver resource.

It is also looking to complete a preliminary economic assessment (PEA) for Gravel Creek, where previous drilling found grades up to 40.05 grams per tonne gold (g/t Au) and 1,951 g/t silver (Ag).

After the company announced 69.3% gold extraction in metallurgical heap leach test results at Doby George in July, Technical Analyst Clive Maund wrote that the stock, which he rated a Speculative Buy, "looks like a buy here for a reversal into a recovery."

"Although it hasn't yet broken out of the downtrend, it looks like it is at a cyclical low, and the appearance of a couple of prominent bull hammers on the chart last week, doubtless due to the general improvement across the sector," Maund wrote.

"This shows that it is at least 'thinking about'" advancing, he wrote, "and despite the recent weak volume pattern and Accumulation line should do it soon, whereupon we will probably at last see the volume pattern and Accumulation improve and a breakout from this long and persistent downtrend is likely to cause an abrupt change in sentiment that leads to a significant advance."

The Catalyst: A World-Class Mining Jurisdiction

The IP geophysics program, which is expected to be complete by mid-August, will help the company better define drill targets to expand the project's gold and silver resources.

The company is also continuing its metallurgical work at Doby George. Results have shown the material there can be recovered with a heap leach process.

The data also will be used in preparation for a pre-feasibility study (PFS) for Doby George in 2024.

"We believe WEX's primary strengths are its high-grade Doby George project with near-term production potential, a strong management/board, and Agnico Eagle's backing,"  Fundamental Research Corp. analyst Sid Rajeev wrote.

"The Aura gold-silver project in Nevada (is) one of the most attractive mining jurisdictions in the world," wrote Fundamental Research Corp. analyst Sid Rajeev, who rated the stock a Buy and gave it a fair value of CA$3.48 per share.

"We believe WEX's primary strengths are its high-grade Doby George project with near-term production potential, a strong management/board, and Agnico Eagle's backing," he wrote.

Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. (AEM:TSX; AEM:NYSE) owns 16% of the company.

Gravel Creek and Wood Gulch account for 60% of the project's resources, Rajeev noted. Doby George accounts for the rest.

"Doby George’s resource (40% of total resources) is amenable to heap leach processing, indicating the potential for relatively low OPEX/CAPEX," Rajeev wrote. "WEX is planning a resource expansion/step-out drill program, followed by a Pre-Feasibility (study or PFS) in 2024. We believe this deposit can be advanced to production quickly at a low initial CAPEX (<US$50M). Based on its existing resource, we believe the project has the potential to operate for nine years (40-50 Koz/year) at a relatively low OPEX (US$800/oz)."

Exploration Reaches Back Decades

Precious metals mineralization was initially discovered at the project at Doby George in the 1960s, but it wasn't until the 1980s that Homestake Mining Co. discovered the Wood Gulch deposit.

The project is 100% owned by Western and is about 32 kilometers north of the Jerritt Canyon Mine in an under-explored area of Nevada. Nevada is the largest gold-producing state in the United States, accounting for 74% of the country's output in 2021, Rajeev pointed out. 

Nevada said mining helped establish it as a state 150 years and is still its largest export industry.

The Gravel Creek drilling program was set to begin on Tuesday. The company is also planning to conduct step-out drilling at Doby George in the second half of this year. 

"Management is aiming to advance Doby George to production first while expanding/developing Gravel Creek and Wood Gulch," Rajeev wrote.

Ownership and Share Structure

According to Reuters, about 72% of the company is owned by strategic investors.

This includes Golkonda LLC, a syndicate of dozens of high-net-worth investors, which owns about 58% of the company, and Agnico, which owns 16%.

Management and directors own about 7%, and other institutions own about 12%, the company said.

The rest is retail.

Western Exploration has a market cap of CA$35.57 million and has 34.4 million shares outstanding. It trades in a 52-week range of CA$2.40 and CA$0.96.

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Important Disclosures:

  1. Western Exploration Inc. is a billboard sponsor of Streetwise Reports and pays SWR a monthly sponsorship fee between US$4,000 and US$5,000. In addition, Western Exploration Inc. has a consulting relationship with an affiliate of Streetwise Reports, and pays a monthly consulting fee between US$8,000 and US$20,000.
  2. As of the date of this article, officers and/or employees of Streetwise Reports LLC (including members of their household) own securities of Western Exploration Inc. and Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.
  3. Steve Sobek wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee.
  4. The article does not constitute investment advice. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her individual financial professional. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports' terms of use and full legal disclaimer. This article is not a solicitation for investment. Streetwise Reports does not render general or specific investment advice and the information on Streetwise Reports should not be considered a recommendation to buy or sell any security. Streetwise Reports does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company mentioned on Streetwise Reports.

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