White Gold: Yukon Promise

A new Klondike-type gold rush is starting to take shape in the Yukon, and a director of White Gold, which owns over 40% of the mineral claims in the eponymous district, told Mining Beacon why.

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The Mines and Money (M&M) Americas conference in Toronto on October 15-17 included a presentation on White Gold Corp. from one of its directors, Rob Carpenter, who was co-founder in 2005 of Vancouver-based Kaminak Gold Corp., which he led to discovery of a 3.0Moz inferred gold resource and which was acquired by Goldcorp in 2016 for C$520 million.

In his presentation Dr Carpenter outlined White Gold's 34 properties in the eponymous district of the Yukon made famous by the Klondike gold rush of 1896 (which has seen 20Moz of gold extracted historically from placer deposits). During the conference the company announced a C$15 million financing, with Agnico Eagle Mines and Kinross Gold Corp. each maintaining their 19.6% interests.

In his presentation at M&M Americas, Dr Carpenter concentrated on the White Gold mining district, some 95km south of Dawson City, where the company owns over 40% of all mineral claims. This immediate area, he noted, was not glaciated, so soil sampling is particularly effective as the soil geochemistry is indicative of the bedrock below.

Dr Carpenter described White Gold's strategy as being "well layered", with development of multiple prospects, including Golden Saddle, Ryan's Showing and Vertigo (the one "everyone is talking about", said Dr Carpenter).

Dr Carpenter observed that "not all ounces are created equal", and White Gold will have spent an estimated C$12 million this year on evaluating its assets. The ability to bring any discoveries into production is being helped by the Yukon Resource Gateway Project, in which the government is spending C$360 million to improve infrastructure in the region.

Mining Beacon (MB), which operates the M&M events, caught up with Dr Carpenter to ask him to elaborate.

MB: How do you considered the mining-investment landscape has changed over the past few years?

Rob Carpenter (RC): I'm probably a contrarian but I believe that the investment scenario has improved for companies such as White Gold. There has been an increased emphasis on higher quality assets and management since the financial crash, and 'easy money' has exited the mining scene (for cannabis amongst other 'light bulb' attractions). 'Smart money', however, is still around, and junior mining companies with good assets and proven management can still find financing, as we did recently.

MB: You have a doctorate in Canadian gold mineralisation, so you are well qualified to say on which of White Gold's assets should investors focus?

RC: I am involved with the company because it offers the best chance of discovery, and the company's value is in its well-layered set of projects. Although there are many more projects in the pipeline, the focus will undoubtedly be on Vertigo, which is new, high grade, at surface, only 1km from a road and is in Canada. As I said in the presentation, not all ounces are equal!

MB: What sets your company apart from others in the same investment space?

RC: It is not complicated - apart from the layers of projects, White Gold has access to capital, excellent managers and two major mining companies as strategic partners. This latter point is important as we benefit greatly from our partners technical expertise in addition to financial backing. Unlike Agnico Eagle and Kinross, White Gold is not a producer, therefore we can remain focused on maximising value by continuing to make new discoveries using our repeatable methods as we systematically explore our portfolio.

MB: Which of your developments over the past 12 months do you think has been the most important?

RC: The Vertigo discovery, probably, but Golden Saddle is also important for White Gold as it demonstrated the assets had become a regional play. We have demonstrated that the company is not a 'one-trick pony'.

MB: What opportunities do you expect to emerge over the next 12 months?

RC: Impossible to say with any certainty but we will be drilling to show the geometry of the existing discoveries and establish the total footprint. We will be receiving additional results from our ongoing work over the next several months.

MB: What do you see as the key risks or challenges facing your company?

RC: Risks are both external and internal. The former relates to global markets and the gold price, although as White Gold is not a producer this will affect share valuations rather than revenue. Internal risk will include the uncertainty involved in any exploration, but we are busy seeking clarity. I don't see any extraordinary risks.

MB: Did you get what you hoped for by presenting at the M&M Americas event?

RC: Yes, indeed, the delegates were influential,
and I talked with many high net worth individuals. Most importantly, I find the
Mines and Money conferences a chance to gauge where we are as a company, and
the one-on-one conversations are meaningful as they help me understand whether
the message is working.

Chris Hinde

Chief Commentator, Mining Beacon

Previously editorial director of Mining Journal, and more recently head of S&P Global Market Intelligence's metals and mining team, Chris is now Mining Beacon's editor-in-chief and lead commentator. He posts two blogs every week, one on Monday reviewing market conditions over the prior week, and a second on Thursday looking at issues on the global mining scene. There is also a quarterly blog on business opportunities in the sector.