Westhaven Ventures Inc.(TSX.V:WHN) CEO Grenville Thomas discusses the company’s projects in British Columbia, and his very illustrious career in mining that has spanned fifty years, and included some of the most valuable discoveries in Canada, including diamonds, rare earths, gold, uranium, nickel, and much more.
James West: So Grenville, could you please elaborate for me on the merits of the investment in Westhaven for investors.
Grenville Thomas: Well, it’s a relatively new company with not a lot of stock out. We essentially do grassroots exploration which not many companies do these days. The idea being of course that we look at a number of projects, one of which we are hopeful will achieve greatness one day. So my philosophy is to work on numerous things. At the moment, we’re working on three things, one gold project and two nickel projects. They are also essentially grassroots here. Both have been drilled but at a very preliminary fashion.
The gold project and the nickel project are both in BC. Well, one of each is in BC. One is in the NWT, which is the Yellowknife. The virtue of these properties is that they’re all very well located in regard to infrastructure. We chose them for that reason, because the costs of exploration are high enough — without having to transport stuff huge distances. So we essentially try to locate these things as close as we can.
The most advanced one is the property called the “Shovelnose Project” which is between Vancouver and Kelowna just off the Coquihalla Highway and it’s called “Shovelnose”. It is a gold property that’s part of the Spences Bridge Belt, which started seeing some exploration about 10 years ago. There have been number of gold discoveries made in that belt which Shovelnose is the most recent one.
They had projects further north of there — you know 20 meters of 12 grams or 12 meters of 20 grams – that sort of thing. So we know that the potential exists in the belt to find these high-grade epithermal properties. The one that we are working on Shovelnose, our best intersection is 50 meters of half a gram which is not a mine. However, it’s a very good indication that we can get some widths, and we can get some grades from those widths. We’ve drilled this in the past on a certain premise, the idea that the structures are running north south. Now, we are starting to believe that maybe this is not quite correct and we’re planning to go back in there in July and drill it in another fashion and hope we can quickly improve the property.
The second one that we’ll be drilling this summer was originally a gold property, it’s up near Williams Lake. It’s near a series of logging roads not far from infrastructure. It’s only about 30 miles from Williams Lake. It’s very easy terrain, good access. It’s been drilled for gold last year.
In process of doing that, we discovered that we had a very interesting nickel prospect in addition to the gold prospect on our hands there. This was entirely fortuitous. We were drilling an IP anomaly under the supposition that we could have a sulphidic gold deposit there of some kind. Of course, we ended up drilling one IP anomaly and then instead of finding gold, we found nickel which is not unusual in exploration but it’s — isn’t common for that to happen.
In this intersection, in fact, we’ve got 70 to 80 meters intersection of 0.31 nickel which is a fairly nice intersection. So our attention now has been focused on that property on looking for nickel. And to that end, we’ve commissioned an airborne magnetic survey which has been recently completed. We’re seeing some fairly interesting looking magnetics that confirm the deposit being magnetic. It gives us some sort of idea the length and the shape that it looks to be a good size.
So the follow up work now will be comprised of going in there to do further IP survey and mapping, sampling, prospecting, and drilling probably sometime in August or September.
Our third property – we only have three properties because the company is relatively young. We’ve have taken an option on a property near Yellowknife which is also a nickel property, which has got some very interesting geophysics and a large ultramafic sill. And we plan to drill that whenever we can get a contractor to do that.
So we’ll be fairly active in the next few months on three different projects. Of course, were always casting around for other projects, but our main trust would be the drilling of the Shovelnose property off the Coquihalla and the nickel property at Williams Lake, which is called the “BEN” by the way.
James West: Okay. So how much money will you spend this year on exploration?
Grenville Thomas: Well, we expect to spend a minimum of about half a million and probably a maximum about a million, because a million bucks these days will go quite a long way.
Now, if we were to get some particularly exciting follow up results to either of these properties, of course, we would plan to do a lot more drilling. We’re at the stage now where we can further these properties without huge amounts of drilling, but if this turn out to be successful which of course it will be, then we would do a lot more drilling.
So I would say between now and year end, we’re likely to spend at least a half million or maybe a million.
James West: Okay.
Grenville Thomas: If we are successful in this early work, I don’t foresee any difficulty raising the funds to do it.
James West: Right. Okay. So these properties, they’re all in British Columbia, they’re all fairly close to infrastructure. You’ve got half million dollars in exploration going, that sounds great. So then, which of these properties excites you the most?
Grenville Thomas: Well, the most recent discovery the nickel thing is very, very interesting from geological point of view, because it was very unexpected, the setting is unusual and it’s a big intersection. I’m fairly positive when we drill this, again, we’re going to get see better results than we already have.
And I think it’s pretty straightforward what we have to do there. We need to prospect and do the geology. Though, there’s not a hell lot of outcrop, it’s flat country with not — not a great deal of of outcrop but it’s very accessible and the overburden is not that thick. That I would say is one that excites me most of the two. Although, I like them — well, of the two of them, this one is the one that intrigues me more.
We’ve been working on the Shovelnose for about three or four years. We’re slowly learning more and more about it and developing ideas. The Shovelnose is very exciting, a new type of deposit for BC really, on flat area. Judging what we see on the airborne now I think we’ve got some really good geophysics here.
James West: Sure. Okay. So Grenville, why don’t you elaborate a bit on your past so that the audience can understand why you’re the right man to be guiding this exploration project?
Grenville Thomas: Well, I have a background in mining going back to 1957, and I’ve been in the mining business since then, that was in U.K. And then I came to Canada in 1964 and I worked in nickel mines in Sudbury. I worked in gold mines in the Yellowknife and then I got into exploration. Largely, in Northern Canada and Greenland, I was involved in a quite number of interesting discoveries. The first most important one I think was the Rare Earth discovery which is now being brought in production by Avalon, at a place called “Thor Lake”.
It contains all sort of things, niobium, beryllium, all the heavy railroads, light railroads uranium, thorium, it has everything in that deposit. That was a discovery that I was involved with back in the mid ‘70s and we spent a lot of money on it.
I ran that project for about 10 years but now it’s at the stage where they’ve done a feasibility [study] and they’re planning to be in production. They’re getting financing organized right now.
And then I was involved with other discoveries – again in the north – in the Sunrise base metal deposits where we found quite rich silver-lead-zinc deposits, but they’re not in production yet because the location is a bit remote. We found a lot of lithium deposits in the north and I was responsible for finding a number of gold deposits in the Lupin area and also in the Russell Lake area. But the thing I was most best-known for was the — I was a president of a company called “Aber Resources” which made the diamond discoveries in the Lac de Gras area – A154. I ran that company for 25 years.
James West: Wow!
Grenville Thomas: But my thing is exploration, right? So as soon as we’ve got ito the production stage I stepped aside and let somebody else do it. I like doing grassroots stuff, right?
James West: Right. Okay, so you’ve got a history of putting shareholder value behind your exploration theories.
Grenville Thomas: Well, Aber, we did our first financing with 60 cents. It had a low about 30 or 40 cents but the highest is 51 bucks.
James West: Wow!
Grenville Thomas: And still trading at $13 or $14.
James West: So you see that potential possibility for Westhaven?
Grenville Thomas: Absolutely! I mean, all these things have potential I guess, but Aber was particularly unusual. But there are stocks out there that do that sort of thing and of course they start from a little base these days too. We’re not doing financing anymore at a dollar or 60 cents, you know doing about 10 cents, right?
James West: Right.
Grenville Thomas: So you only have to get up to 10 bucks these days not 50.
James West: Right.
Grenville Thomas: Now, I can definitely see that. When you start to get 70 meter intersections of interesting looking nickel values, you’ve got to get interested. The best comparable deposit — it looks to us as if geology it’s similar to a thing that is called “Royal Nickel” which I think is in Québec.
James West: Right.
Grenville Thomas: You should look up that because although we’ve only got one intersection of this thing, the mineralogy and the setting is very similar. And it’s extremely early days, so the potential is wide open here.
James West: So, Royal Nickels got the Dumont Nickel project.
Grenville Thomas: That’s right, yeah.
James West: So you’re saying that the — your nickel project is similar in geological composition?
Grenville Thomas: Yeah. It’s a similar setting and we have an intersection of centimeters of similar grade to what they have and we’ve only got one hole into it.
James West: Right.
Grenville Thomas: What I’m saying is we didn’t drill this — this hole was drilled by mistake essentially, right? There is no outcrop. We drilled an IP anomaly that we thought would be gold and we hit this nickel intersection.
Now, we were putting in IP lines every few kilometers, and this was happening a few kilometres away from the closest IP line, which was like two or three kilometers away. We put it there because we had a gold-in-soil anomaly, and we thought, “Okay, let’s run a line across that and see what we can see.” Right? So when we came to drill it of course we hit this nickel. It went through overburden, into bedrock and directly into the nickel. So we don’t know how — wide it is actually. You know what I mean?
James West: That is interesting. Okay Grenville, well let’s leave it there for now, we’ll come back and check on your progress in three months time or so. I’d like to thank you for joining us today.
Grenville Thomas: Yeah. Okay James, thanks so much.
James West: Thank you Grenville, bye for now.
Grenville Thomas: Goodbye.
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