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Vol. 22, No. 46 Week of November 12, 2017
Providing coverage of Alaska and Northwest Canada's mineral industry

Mining Explorers 2017: Ryan re-assembles White Gold

Famed Yukon prospector puts 1 million-acre portfolio in White Gold Corp.

Shane Lasley

Mining News

With financial and technical backing from Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. and Kinross Gold Corp., legendary prospector Shawn Ryan has set out to finish what he started in Yukon’s White Gold District.

To accomplish this objective, Ryan has put roughly 1 million acres (390,000 hectares) of the White Gold District into White Gold Corp., a newly formed exploration company that owns claims covering roughly 40 percent of this promising gold region.

Of the dozens of White Gold prospects Ryan has identified over the past decade, Coffee Gold, which Goldcorp Inc. bought from Kaminak Gold Corp. for about C$520 million, is the only major discovery Ryan has not re-assembled into the White Gold Corp. portfolio.

Ryan, who prefers prospecting in Yukon Territory over sitting in a Vancouver corporate office, is serving as chief technical advisor for the new company.

“I’m helping them on the technical side; we got Rob Carpenter, who was leading the charge with Kaminak, on our board of directors,” Ryan explained.

Jody Gibson, which has a decade of exploration experience including extensive work in the White Gold District and Alaska, is the chief geologist for White Gold and rounds out the technical team.

White Gold President CEO Dave D’Onofrio, a certified public accountant, brings financing and business leadership to the company’s corporate office.

With a strong technical and executive team in place, White Gold is out to see how many gold deposits it can find in its namesake district.

“My game is royalty, because I’m the royalty holder on these, so let’s go out there and find some more gold,” Ryan told colleagues at the 2017 Precious Metals Summit in Colorado.

Enter Agnico, Kinross

Shortly after the late-2016 formation of White Gold Corp., Agnico Eagle invested C$15 million to own a 19.9 percent stake in the new Yukon-focused gold explorer.

Agnico does not want its investment spent on drilling one gold deposit. Instead, the gold miner wants to leverage White Gold’s grassroots exploration expertise and large land holdings in the district.

“They actually put it in the contract ‘no delineation drilling with this money.’” Ryan said during a Sept. 15 presentation in Colorado.

As enormous as the portfolio was, it was missing White Gold, Ryan’s original major discovery in the district.

To complete the collection, Ryan approached Kinross about selling the property.

By mid-2017, Kinross agreed to sell White Gold and its other properties in the district to Ryan’s company for US$7 million in cash, a 19.9 percent interest in White Gold Corp., and milestone payments upon completion of a preliminary economic assessment, feasibility study and construction decision for White Gold.

“Our ultimate goal in the Yukon is to leverage our team’s track record of successful exploration and discovering mineral resources in order to discover additional gold deposits and this acquisition greatly enhances our prospects,” said Ryan.

In addition to the property, White Gold Corp. gained the backing of yet another gold producing major.

“We look forward to working with Agnico Eagle and White Gold Corp. to support the pursuit of quality development opportunities in this highly prospective and largely underdeveloped district,” said Kinross President and CEO J. Paul Rollinson. “This investment will allow the three companies to pool their expertise together to strengthen their position in this excellent mining jurisdiction.”

Exploring White Gold (district)

With two gold-producing partners and a strong treasury, White Gold launched a roughly C$9 million exploration program in its namesake district this year.

About C$7 million of this program was invested in making new discoveries across the district, a task Ryan likens to “finding a needle in a haystack.”

First though, the haystacks have to be identified on the 1 million acres of claims held by White Gold.

Ryan, which has a database of more than 300,000 soil samples taken from prospects across the White Gold District, has already identified numerous haystacks to dig through.

White Gold is utilizing GroundTruth Exploration, an innovative exploration company run by Ryan’s wife Cathy Wood, to find the golden needles.

GroundTruth employs “Drones to Drills”, a systematic mineral exploration technology that allows for year-round exploration that is less expensive and easier on the environment than traditional exploration.

This system starts with using drones to collect ultra-high-resolution imagery and Ryan’s soil-sampling techniques GT Probe soil-bedrock interface sampling and rotary air blast drilling using GT RAB, a remotely controlled tracked drill.

Ryan said this system can prove the viability of a grassroots discovery in about a month, a feat that usually takes a couple of seasons.

“It is a double-edged sword though, because the probability of me killing a project in a month is extremely high,” he said.

With 1 million acres in an emerging district known for its gold potential, the explorer has plenty of prospects to kill or make the next big White Gold discovery.

With roughly C$15 million being invested in grassroots exploration, White Gold will be covering a big chunk of the district by the end of 2018.

Return to White Gold (property)

White Gold did not waste any time on advancing the five properties it acquired from Kinross.

One of the first things the company did was to take a closer look at JP Ross, a property about 10 miles (16 kilometers) northeast of the White Gold project.

Previous trenching on the Rebecca target at JP Ross showed significant gold on surface but drilling by Kinross did not return the same results at depth.

After doing its own evaluation of the structure, White Gold decided to test the target with 14 RAB holes.

Several of these holes cut nice gold grades, including 3.1 meters of 21.87 g/t gold, 9.1 meters of 1.77 g/t gold and 6.1 meters of 3.1 g/t gold.

White Gold plans to follow up on this discovery with further drilling next year.

In September, the junior began a robust drill program to upgrade and expand the Golden Saddle and Arc deposits on the White Gold property.

At Golden Saddle, the company focused on infilling the resource area and testing extensions of the deposit along strike.

The first two RC holes of the 2017 season extended Golden Saddle towards the surface.

Hole 17RC-001 cut 32 meters of 3.98 grams per metric ton gold from a depth of 19.8 meters; and 17RC-002 cut 25.9 meters of 2.24 g/t gold starting at 13.7 meters.

The company also completed infill drilling aimed at upgrading the resource at Arc, a deposit defined by wide-spaced drilling. This drilling also tested the potential for high-grade gold within a broader envelope of lower grade mineralization found there.

The results from Saddle and Arc will be included in an updated White Gold resource estimate slated for completion early in 2018.

White Gold Corp. also drilled three new targets identified on trend with the Golden Saddle deposit – Golden Saddle East, Ulli’s and Ryan’s.

“We are pleased to see the increased grade and continuity in these first holes and are very excited by the discovery and identification of multiple new targets right on trend with the Golden Saddle deposit, identified through the collaboration of our team’s specialized multi-discipline technical expertise,” said Ryan.

With the White Gold property and district back in Ryan’s hands, exploration is once again heating up in this emerging Yukon gold district.

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