Vancouver, Oct. 11, 2022 - Westward Gold Inc.
(CSE:WG), (OTC:WGLIF), (FSE:IM50) ("Westward" or the "Company") is pleased to announce that the Company has entered into a definitive claims acquisition agreement (the "Agreement") with Fremont Gold Ltd. and its Nevada-based subsidiary, Intermont Exploration Corp. (collectively, "Fremont") to acquire Fremont's 100% interest in the Coyote and Rossi Claim Blocks, located along the Carlin Trend in Elko County, Nevada (each, the "Coyote Claims" and "Rossi Claims"; collectively, the "Carlin Claims"). The Carlin Trend is one of the most significant gold mining districts in the world, having produced nearly 100 million ounces of gold since the opening of the original Carlin Mine in the 1960s(1).
The addition of the Carlin Claims to Westward's portfolio is consistent with the Company's goal of creating shareholder value through both the organic development of its existing properties, and opportunistic transactions. Westward's primary focus remains the advancement of its ~40 km2 contiguous land package along the Cortez Trend, which includes the Toiyabe Project ("Toiyabe"), Turquoise Canyon Project, and East Saddle Project in Lander County, Nevada. The Company recently completed its inaugural 13-hole, ~4,000-meter drill campaign at Toiyabe, and will be releasing results from the program shortly.
Figure 1: Location of Carlin Claims & Major Neighbouring Gold Deposits
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Colin Moore, CEO of Westward, commented: "The current capital markets environment for junior gold explorers is certainly challenging; however, despite these headwinds, opportunities may present themselves in this climate with the potential for significant returns over the longer term. We view this property as a strategic bolt-on asset to compliment our existing land package on the Cortez Trend, and a chance to gain a foothold in another one of the world's most prolific gold trends, along strike from Tier-1 producing mines. The Carlin Claims will be 100% owned by Westward with no future payments or spending commitments (other than those related to future production royalties), offering us the time and flexibility to explore subsequent transactions in an improved market."
He continued: "Our existing land package, headlined by Toiyabe, remains our priority and we will continue to dedicate the vast majority of our human and capital resources to its development. We experienced significant wait times for assays following completion of our drill campaign, and have just recently completed our QAQC process. Investors can expect a comprehensive update shortly, and we thank them for their patience."
Carlin Claims - Overview
The Carlin Claims consist of 111 unpatented mining claims (Coyote Claims - 99; Rossi Claims - 12) administered by the Bureau of Land Management ("BLM"), covering an area of ~9 km2 at the northern end of the prolific Carlin Trend. The Carlin Claims are located approximately 6 km north of Nevada Gold Mines' ("NGM") South Arturo Mine, and 12 km northwest of their Goldstrike Mine; the southern boundary of the Rossi Claims borders land currently owned by NGM. Westward's flagship property, Toiyabe, is also directly adjacent to a significant land package held by NGM.
The Carlin Trend is a ~90 km-long gold belt that has been continuously and successfully explored and mined over the last 60 years. Today, the area is dominated by NGM, the joint venture between top global gold producers Barrick Gold and Newmont Corporation. The Carlin Complex, made up of multiple open-pit and underground operations, is forecast to produce ~1.6 million ounces of gold in 2022 and has contained resources of ~24 million ounces of gold(2)(5). NGM's commitment to the continued growth of the Carlin Complex and surrounding areas has been evidenced by recent discoveries at North Leeville and Rita K, and the acquisition of the remaining 40% ownership stake in the South Arturo Mine (October 2021)(3).
Pursuant to the terms outlined in the Agreement, Fremont will be entitled to the following consideration:
US$19,647 payable in cash upon closing
600,000 common shares of Westward, with the following escrow provisions:
oo200,000 shares to be released on the four-month anniversary of closing
oo400,000 shares to be released on the eight-month anniversary of closing
A 2.0% net smelter return royalty on the Coyote Claims (the "Coyote NSR)
A 1.0% net smelter return royalty on the Rossi Claims (the "Rossi NSR")*
*There is an existing 2.0% net smelter return royalty on the 12 Rossi Claims, held by Nevada Select Royalty, Inc. ("NV Select"). As a condition precedent to closing, Westward will enter into a separate undertaking agreement whereby the Company will covenant to abide by the material terms of the royalty deed entered into by Fremont and NV Select on April 10, 2019.
The Agreement includes customary provisions, and certain representations, covenants and conditions which are typical for a transaction of this nature; closing is expected to occur prior to October 31, 2022.
Carlin Claims - Geological Considerations
The major mineralizing fault in the Carlin Trend - the Post-Genesis Fault ("PG Fault") - runs north-south, and indications suggest this structure may continue onto the Carlin Claims. The PG Fault is a significant ore control at major deposits immediately south of the Carlin Claims, including Lantern, Beast, Genesis, Blue Star, Deep Star, Goldstrike, Meikle and Ren(5). Regional-scale gravity surveys support the thesis of on-trend continuation of the PG Fault onto the Carlin Claims, however a more localized gravity survey would improve drill targeting; this is one of the relatively low-cost exploration activities Westward will undertake in the future to advance the property. Exploration on the Carlin Trend in recent years has targeted lower plater carbonate rocks below upper plate rocks. The suggested gravity survey at Westward Gold's new property will help identify these targets beneath the upper plate siliceous rocks present at the Carlin Claims, where the lower plate carbonate rocks have yet to be tested.
Traditional pathfinder elements for Carlin-type gold deposits are present in soil surveys conducted at the Carlin Claims, with anomalous values detected for arsenic, antimony, mercury, and thallium(4). These geochemical characteristics, along with surface exposures of silicified fault breccia (see Figure 2 below), indicate the potential for a Carlin-type gold system on the property.
Figure 2: Surface Exposures of Silicified Fault Breccia
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Following the acquisition of the Carlin Claims, the Company will conduct low-cost, systematic field programs to further advance the property and improve targeting. These include Anaconda-style geologic mapping (current maps are all regional-scale), sampling of altered outcrops, and hyperspectral imaging. The latter has been used extensively by Westward to advance the understanding of its existing land package, and the Company's VP Exploration Dave Browning is an expert in the technology.
(1) Source: "Nevada's Carlin Trend", Steve Voynick, EG Media Investments LLC, November 12, 2020
(2) Source: Barrick Gold Corp., 2021 Annual Report
(3) Source: Barrick Gold Corp. press release dated October 14, 2021
(4) Source: Fremont Gold Ltd.
(5) Readers are cautioned that the resource and reserve estimates relating to adjacent properties in the Carlin Trend do not extend to the Coyote Claims or Rossi Claims. The Company has not independently verified the information with respect to the other properties in the Carlin Complex and it is not necessarily indicative of the mineralization on the Coyote Claims or Rossi Claims
The technical information contained in this news release was reviewed and approved by Steven R. Koehler, Technical Advisor to the Company, who is a Qualified Person under National Instrument 43-101 - Standards of Disclosure for Mineral Projects. Mr. Koehler is a Certified Professional Geologist (CPG) through the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG).
About Westward Gold
Westward Gold is a mineral exploration company focused on developing the Toiyabe, Turquoise Canyon, and East Saddle Projects located in the Cortez Hills area of Lander County, Nevada. From time to time, the Company may also evaluate the acquisition of other mineral exploration assets and opportunities.
For further information contact:
President, CEO & Director
Westward Gold Inc.
The Canadian Securities Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the contents of this news release. The Canadian Securities Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this news release.
This news release contains or incorporates by reference "forward-looking statements" and "forward-looking information" as defined under applicable Canadian securities legislation. All statements, other than statements of historical fact, which address events, results, outcomes, or developments that the Company expects to occur are, or may be deemed, to be, forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are generally, but not always, identified by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "expect", "believe", "anticipate", "intend", "estimate", "potential", "on track", "forecast", "budget", "target", "outlook", "continue", "plan" or variations of such words and phrases and similar expressions or statements that certain actions, events or results "may", "could", "would", "might" or "will" be taken, occur or be achieved or the negative connotation of such terms.
Such statements include, but may not be limited to, information as to strategy, plans or future financial or operating performance, such as the Company's expansion plans, project timelines, expected drilling targets, and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future plans and performance.
Forward-looking statements or information are subject to a variety of known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual events or results to differ from those reflected in the forward-looking statements or information, including, without limitation, the need for additional capital by the Company through financings, and the risk that such funds may not be raised; the speculative nature of exploration and the stages of the Company's properties; the effect of changes in commodity prices; regulatory risks that development of the Company's material properties will not be acceptable for social, environmental or other reasons, availability of equipment (including drills) and personnel to carry out work programs, that each stage of work will be completed within expected time frames, that current geological models and interpretations prove correct, the results of ongoing work programs may lead to a change of exploration priorities, and the efforts and abilities of the senior management team. This list is not exhaustive of the factors that may affect any of the Company's forward-looking statements or information. These and other factors may cause the Company to change its exploration and work programs, not proceed with work programs, or change the timing or order of planned work programs. Additional risk factors and details with respect to risk factors that may affect the Company's ability to achieve the expectations set forth in the forward-looking statements contained in this news release are set out in the Company's latest management discussion and analysis under "Risks and Uncertainties", which is available under the Company's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. Although the Company has attempted to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause results not to be as anticipated, estimated, described or intended. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements or information. The Company's forward-looking statements and information are based on the assumptions, beliefs, expectations, and opinions of management as of the date of this press release, and other than as required by applicable securities laws, the Company does not assume any obligation to update forward-looking statements and information if circumstances or management's assumptions, beliefs, expectations or opinions should change, or changes in any other events affecting such statements or information.