VANCOUVER, BC / ACCESSWIRE / June 26, 2014 / Lest investors fail to recognize that the current economic environment is a carbon copy of the year 2000, when technology companies were flying high on flimsy and unprofitable business models, and mining companies were anathema, Westhaven Ventures (TSX.V:WHN) continues to plow forward with active exploration projects.
As some may have forgotten, that high flying era culminated with the legendary dot com collapse, and subsequent launch of the bull market in mining stocks that continued for over a decade. If that situation is indeed the blueprint for what's about to unfold in 2014 and 2015, these small mining companies quietly beavering away at discovery while others have thrown in the towel may exhibit excellent value.
And it's the companies with leadership with a track record of value creation through discovery that investors in the space need most concern themselves with. Certainly Westhaven Ventures' CEO Grenville Thomas is precisely just that kind of leader.
"I have a background in mining going back to 1957," he said in a recent interview. "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."
For those below a certain age, Aber Resources, in a joint venture with Kennecott Canada Exploration established in 1992, discovered 4 major kimberlite bearing pipes that are still producing diamonds to this day. By 2003, they had mined over a million carats of the valuable gems, and sales began. The mine was built in 2000 at a cost of over $1.3 billion, and has returned many times that value in diamonds since then.
But for Grenville Thomas, the thrill of junior mining is in exploration and discovery.
"My thing is exploration," he says. "As soon as we've got it to the production stage I stepped aside and let somebody else do it. I like doing grassroots stuff."
Grass roots? In this market?
Well if you consider the great discoveries of the last 20 years, they were all made, without exception, by junior mining companies run by career explorationists in bear markets.
Voisey's Bay, the giant nickel deposit on Canada's East Coast in Labrador, was discovered by Robert Friedland's Diamondfield Resources in 1993 by two prospectors who were drilling for kimberlite there.
Voisey's Bay was sold to Inco – now Vale SA in 1996 for $4.3 billion, and is expected to produce nickel, copper and cobalt until at least 2035. The deposit estimated to contain 141 million tonnes at 1.6% nickel.
And since acquiring it in 2007, the Dumont Project, owned by Canadian junior Royal Nickel Corp has been steadily advancing to production while growing in size through exploration. With 6.9 billion pounds of nickel in the 'proven and probable' category, Dumont is expected to be the world's fifth largest sulfide producer of nickel. That project has a Net Present Value (8%, pre-tax) of $2 billion.
And according to Grenville Thomas, one of Westhaven's projects is demonstrating similar geology to both Dumont and Voisey's Bay.
"We've only got one intersection of this thing, but the mineralogy and the setting is very similar," he said.
He is referring to the Ben Project, a 15,322 hectare land package situated in the Cariboo Mining District of British Columbia 50 km north of Williams Lake. The Cariboo Mining Districtis home to several large development and production stage properties including the Gibraltar Mine and Mount Polley Mine.
During the last drill campaign, Hole BN13-03 intersected 70.6 metres grading 0.31% Nickel and 0.012% Cobalt, which included 30 metres grading 0.38% Nickel and 0.013% Cobalt.
"It's in a similar setting [to Dumont] and we have an intersection of centimeters of similar grade to what they have and we've only got one hole into it," says Thomas enthusiastically. "And it's extremely early days, so the potential is wide open here."
The company has two other properties in British Columbia that are prospective for gold and silver.
The 18,412 ha Shovelnose property is located near the southern end of the Spences Bridge Gold Belt (SBGB), approximately 30 km south of Merritt, British Columbia. And the Mona property, located approximately 5 kilometres east of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories consists of two continuous mineral claims (~ 4,390 acres) located to the east of the Yellowknife Greenstone Belt and is prospective for gabbro-hosted nickel-copper and sediment-hosted gold deposits.
The company is conducting drilling and geophysical activities on all properties throughout the summer of 2014.
Westhaven Ventures Inc.
SOURCE: Westhaven Ventures Inc.