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Gold Co. Sees No Limit To Drilling Targets in Nevada

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Western Exploration Inc. takes stock of 2023 and looks forward to plans for 2024 at its Aura gold and silver project in Nevada, which one analyst called "one of the most attractive mining jurisdictions in the world."

In its annual update to shareholders, Western Exploration Inc. (WEX:TSX.V;WEXPF:OTC) noted that in 2023 it made "significant strides" towards goals of completing a preliminary feasibility study (PFS) at the Doby George deposit and increasing the size of the Wood Gulch/Gravel Creek resources at its Aura gold and silver project in Nevada.

"Although it was a particularly challenging year from a market valuation perspective, I feel that we have made significant strides as a company," Chief Executive Officer Darcy Marud wrote. "Both of these goals should lead us to a revaluation of our share price as Doby George is further de-risked and the scale and size of Gravel Creek and the additional upside there becomes apparent."

For 2024, the company wants to advance a preliminary economic assessment (PEA)/PFS at Doby George and complete drilling in the new hanging wall zone of Gravel Creek to connect it to the main resource.

Western Exploration hopes to complete ten to 12 diamond drill holes in the zone of the hanging wall vein.

"Past drilling has already outlined very high Au and Ag grades, and this should allow us to connect the dots and expand the current Gravel Creek resource," Marud wrote.

The Catalyst: Excellent 'Resource Expansion Potential'

Two holes drilled in 2023 evaluated the resource expansion potential in mineralized vein and breccia trends northeast of the Gravel Creek resource.

Hole WG457 reported assays of up to 257 grams per tonne gold (g/t Au) and 1,655 g/t silver (Ag), including 0.7 meters of 143.56 g/t gold equivalent (Au Eq) and 1 meter of 67.49 g/t Au Eq. Hole WG456 reported 2,800 g/t Ag.

Further drilling is planned on Gravel Creek and Doby George in the third quarter of 2024, and the PFS for Dolby George is expected in the last quarter of 2024. 

The 2023 core data and previous surface mapping confirmed a series of northwest- and northeast-trending structures with high-grade epithermal gold and silver mineralization over a 550-meter- by 350-meter area immediately adjacent to the current Gravel Creek resource, the company said.

"The size and grade of mineralization at Gravel Creek is impressive and offers excellent continued resource expansion potential," Marud wrote.

According to an updated mineral resource estimate (MRE), Gravel Creek has a resource of 245,571 Au Eq ounces at 5.81 g/t Au Eq in the Indicated category and 442,814 Au Eq ounces at 5.02 g/t AuEq in the Inferred category.

No Limit to Targets, Potential

Western Exploration said Aura had five areas that offer "excellent continued resource expansion potential," including the Wood Gulch extensions at depth and along strike (this appears to be a sub-parallel deposit to Gravel Creek), the Gap Zone, the high-grade Hanging Wall vein zone, the northwest extension of Gravel Creek (it remains open with no drilling), and the northeast extension toward North Badger that shares similar characteristics with Gravel Creek.

However, Marud wrote, "We are not limited by targets or potential!"

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.

Rajeev has rated the stock a Buy with a fair value of CA$3.48 per share.

Aura is 100% owned by Western Exploration and is about 32 kilometers north of the Jerritt Canyon Mine in an under-explored area of Nevada, which produces more gold than any other U.S. state.

Further drilling is planned on Gravel Creek and Doby George in the third quarter of 2024, and the PFS for Dolby George is expected in the last quarter of 2024. 

"The de-risking of Doby George will point to a high-quality advanced project that should garner a market value higher than our current market cap," Marud noted. "In addition, Induced Polarization geophysics completed across Doby George this past year indicates that the main Doby George deposits are open to depth and along strike; additional drilling may define additional mineralization in the sulfide zones below the oxide deposits."

'One of the Most Attractive' Mining Areas in the World

Fundamental Research Corp. analyst Sid Rajeev called Aura "one of the most attractive mining jurisdictions in the world."

Rajeev has rated the stock a Buy with 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.

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

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Western Exploration Inc. (WEX:TSX.V;WEXPF:OTC)

*Share Structure as of 1/19/2024

"Doby George's resource (40% of total resources) is amenable to heap leach processing, indicating the potential for relatively low OPEX/CAPEX," according to Rajeev. "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)."

Ownership and Share Structure

According to Reuters, about 74% 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$27.56 million and has 34.45 million shares outstanding. It trades in a 52-week range of CA$2.20 and CA$0.455.

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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. 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 Corp.
  3. Steve Sobek wrote this article for Streetwise Reports LLC and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee.
  4. This article does not constitute investment advice and is not a solicitation for any 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. Each reader is encouraged to consult with his or her personal financial adviser and perform their own comprehensive investment research. By opening this page, each reader accepts and agrees to Streetwise Reports' terms of use and full legal disclaimer. Streetwise Reports does not endorse or recommend the business, products, services or securities of any company. 

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