announced positive results from its 2023 metallurgical testing, seeking to establish the composition of samples. According to a press release, the company conducted a detailed heap leach testing program on drill composites representing goal-bearing oxide and mixed materials that had been collected from the Doby George deposit in 2022.has
Agitated cyanidation bottle roll tests were also conducted on 46 drill core composites. Based on results from the bottle roll testing, seven master composites were prepared for column leach testing.
The company has since released highlights from the column leach testing. Work conducted by McClelland Laboratories, Inc. of Reno, Nevada, returned average leach recoveries of 65%, ranging between 56.1% and 77.8%, for -50mm feed size and average recoveries of 72%, ranging from 64% to 81.8% for -12.7mm feed size.
The results revealed that cyanide consumption was low and expected to be below 0.4 kilogram NaCN/metric ton of ore for 12.7mm crush size and hydrated lime consumption of between 0.7 to 2 kilogram/metric ton or ore during commercial leaching.
Additional load permeability tests on residual leached 12.7mm material indicated adequate permeability for commercial heap leach stack heights of up to 91 meters without requiring any pretreatment agglomeration.
According to its website, the company is "focused on gold and silver discoveries in Northern Nevada. As well as the Doby George Deposit, Western Exploration is undertaking exploration work at its Gravel Creek Deposit project. The company's website states that the Doby George Deposit "can be fast-tracked to a development decision within [the] next 18 months" and says of Gravel Creek: "Fast track resource expansion within [the] next 24 months."
Streetwise recently reported on January 10 that Western Exploration had announced promising final assay results.
The Catalyst: Promising Results Pave The Way
Testing found that all five oxide composites were amenable to simulated heap leach cyanidation treatment at both feed sizes evaluated, which included composites from the West Ridge and Daylight areas.
As part of the news release, Western Exploration CEO Darcy Marud said, "Western Exploration is pleased that the Doby George metallurgical results report high leach recovery rates that are consistent with past metallurgical work. The completed test work is a key milestone identified in the 2021 technical report and a key component needed to advance the Doby George deposits towards a pre-feasibility study."
Doby George is "one of the highest-grade, undeveloped open pit heap leach resources in Nevada and one of three mineral deposits on Western Exploration's 100% owned Aura gold-silver project located in Nevada (the "Aura Project")."
Originally discovered by Homestake Mining Company in the mid-1980s, the deposit has since had 836 drill holes completed, totaling 116,355 meters of drilling; Western Exploration LLC drilled 83 holes, totaling 23,760 meters, between 1998 and 2022.
Referring to the U.S. as "shooting itself in the foot again" with regard to the dollar-based monetary system, Egon von Greyerz of Gold Switzerland recently warned: "If you have never been a goldbug, this is the time to become one." He explained that he has never called himself a goldbug, "just someone who wanted to protect assets against the risk of the destruction of the financial system including all currencies."
Angel Investment Research has also recently called 2024 "the year of gold" and has asserted: "With mined gold output about to fall off a cliff, we're staring at the biggest event in over 300 years."
As well as an established mineral resource estimate, Western Exploration's Aura Project also benefits from well-established infrastructure, including year-round accessibility by highway and county-maintained roads. It also has local access to water and electricity.
The company has "exploration, development, and mining rights on 930 hectares of privately owned land through a mineral lease agreement with the local landowner and may purchase those fee lands at any time for the development of Doby George."
Streetwise Ownership Overview*
Looking ahead, the company plans to undertake more drilling on Gravel Creek and Doby George in Q3 of 2024, with a preliminary feasibility study expected in Q4.
Technical Analyst Clive Maund rated Western Exploration "a Speculative Buy" in July 2023 and said it "looks like a Buy here for a reversal into a recovery."
Fundamental Research Corp. analyst Sid Rajeev referred to the Aura Project in Nevada as "one of the most attractive mining jurisdictions in the world."
Ownership and Share Structure
Western Exploration Inc. is headquartered in Reno, Nevada. It has a market cap of CA$28.93 million and 34.45 million shares outstanding.
According to Reuters, roughly 74% of the company is owned by strategic investors. Management and directors own about 7%, and other institutions own approximately 12%.
The rest is retail.
The company trades in a 52-week range of CA$2.28 and CA$0.455.
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