White Gold (TSXV: WGO; US-OTC: WHGOF) has found near-surface gold mineralization on its Betty gold project in Yukon’s White Gold district after drilling shallow, rotary air-blast holes on the property during its mid-2018 exploration campaign. White Gold drilled more than 1,800 metres across 28 holes on six target areas at Betty in 2018. It also collected 916 soil samples, surveyed 103 sq. km with light detection and ranging, and mapped and prospected.
“In terms of a phase-one reconnaissance approach, it was successful,” White Gold CEO David D’Onofrio says in an interview with The Northern Miner.
“Once we find something prospective we bring in either an RC drill or a diamond drill,” he says.
Betty lies 145 km southwest of Dawson City. It sits on a 12 km trend of anomalous gold-in-soil grading up to 7.3 grams gold per tonne associated with both intrusion-related and structurally controlled gold targets. It’s one of 34 properties in the company’s White Gold district portfolio, which covers 4,230 sq. km, or 40% of the district.
The company found the mineralization along the eastern extension of the Coffee Creek fault. The fault hosts Goldcorp’s (TSX: G; NYSE: GG) Coffee gold deposit, which contains 36.9 million proven and probable tonnes grading 1.4 grams gold for 1.67 million oz. gold.
White Gold’s best intercept at Betty came from its Ford target, where it cut 1.08 grams gold per tonne over 50 metres from 5 metres downhole, including 2.24 grams gold over 9 metres from 20 metres downhole. The company has drilled 504 metres at Ford to depths of less than 100 metres across six holes covering a 220-by-160-metre area. The company designed the drill campaign to follow up on a series of west-trending structures in the area.
The 950-by-200-metre Ford target sits in the centre of the Betty property. Gold-in-soil samples collected by White Gold at Ford have graded as high as 2 grams gold.
At the project’s White target, White Gold cut gold mineralization in every hole, with results from trace to 3.61 grams gold. The company drilled 605 metres across seven holes to depths of less than 100 metres, along 670 metres of strike length, in the middle of the soil anomaly. The company has traced the gold mineralization to 90 metres below surface. It remains open along strike and at depth.
The White target sits 730 metres south of Ford, down a hill. It’s a 150 metre by 2 km northeast-trending zone where gold-in-soil samples taken by White Gold have graded as high as 1.3 grams gold.
The company is planning exploration for mid-2019. It will put together a proposal for its partners, Agnico Eagle Mines (TSX: AEM; NYSE: AEM) and Kinross Gold (TSX: K; NYSE: KGC), which each own 20% of White Gold, just like it did at the beginning of 2018.
White Gold was formed in 2016 when prospector Shawn Ryan brought his portfolio of White Gold district properties to PowerOne Capital Markets, a Toronto-based, boutique merchant bank.
He had begun prospecting the area more than 10 years before, staking claims and then optioning the district to several explorers. One became the Coffee deposit, developed by Kaminak Gold before Goldcorp bought it. Another, the White Gold property, went to Underworld Resources, which was bought in 2010 by Kinross in a $139-million, friendly takeover. It hosts the Golden Saddle deposit, which now has more than 960,000 oz. gold in the indicated category.
Most of the properties would eventually return to Ryan, however.
During the last downturn in the market, many of the smaller companies couldn’t make their option payments. As a result, their properties defaulted back to Ryan — along with the data from their own exploration.
“Shawn came to PowerOne and said he needed three years to do his preliminary exploration,” D’Onofrio says. “He said he thought he could cover the package of exploration for $15 million, and asked if we would be interested in backing him on that basis.
“We called a bunch of the majors who we were close with and selected Agnico to be our partner. They invested $15 million for 20% of the company.”
He says White Gold then started operating like a major. It didn’t need to rush to drill targets or drum up excitement to raise money. Instead, it did more geochemical and structural work.
In 2017, it reached out to Kinross, asking them to roll their White Gold project back into White Gold and become a 20% owner and equal partner with Agnico. Kinross agreed.
In 2018, it started step-out diamond drilling on the White Gold property, finding high-grade gold mineralization 2 km east along trend of Golden Saddle at a target called Ryan’s Showing. The discovery hole cut 20.64 grams gold over 6.1 metres from 84 metres downhole.
It also found gold mineralization at the Vertigo target on its JP Ross property. Following up on results from a GT Probe, the company cut 22.47 grams gold over 31 metres, including 59.3 grams gold over 3 metres from surface.
The company uses the GT Probe instead of trenching. It gives White Gold a sample of the first foot or so of bedrock, with minimal ground disturbances. It’s a technology developed by Ryan’s GroundTruth Exploration, where Ryan’s wife, Cathy Wood, is a director.
White Gold is waiting on more exploration results from its JP Ross and White Gold gold properties. It intends to keep growing Golden Saddle this year, while diamond drilling Vertigo and Betty. It will continue reconnaissance drilling, soil sampling and structural work across the district.
“Things really couldn’t be going better,” D’Onofrio says. “The government’s supportive, the First Nations who we work very close with have been fantastic, we’ve got two majors who are partners — and exploration wise, we made four discoveries in one season, which even exceeded our own expectations.”
Shares of White Gold are trading at $1.59 in a 52-week range of 54¢ to $2. The company has a $183-million market capitalization.