Wesdome Gold Mines (TSX: WDO) has provided an updated mineral resource and reserve estimates for its two high-grade underground assets: the 100% owned Kiena mine complex in Val d'Or, Quebec, and the Eagle River mine near Wawa, Ontario.
As of December 31, 2022, the Toronto-based gold miner's combined proven and probable mineral reserves totalled 2.4 million tonnes grading 12.9 grams per tonne gold, for 1 million ounces of contained gold. This represents a 17% decrease in ounces from a year ago (2.9 million tonnes at 12.6 g/t gold).
Its combined measured and indicated mineral resources (exclusive of reserves) were 350,000 gold ounces (1.4 million tonnes grading 7.7 g/t gold), while the combined inferred mineral resources were 1.1 million ounces (6.4 million tonnes grading 5.2 g/t gold). Both resource categories were slightly higher than that of year-end 2021.
According to Wesdome, the reserves and resource estimates at both sites reflect higher cut-off grades, reduced exploration budget in the second half of 2022, a higher allocation towards definition and infill drilling (including 25,000 metres in the Falcon Zone at Eagle River). They also reflect a more stringent and robust approach to reconciliation, 3D modeling and resource classification at both properties.
In 2023, the company has budgeted 137,000 metres of drilling, with a primary focus on the expansion of mineral reserves and mineral resources, as well as delineating the new discoveries made in 2022.
At Kiena, which hosts a fully permitted former mine that was Wesdome restarted in 2021, the plan is to follow up on multiple initial discoveries made last year, including the south limb of the A Zone and several adjacent hanging wall zones which remain outside of mineral reserves. An exploration ramp is specifically budgeted to follow-up and expand on the near-surface Presqu’ile zone.
Since year-end, the ramp development at Kiena has continued to track slightly ahead of budget, with completion of the ramp to the 129 m-level scheduled by the end of this year. Completion of this ramp segment will provide access to the high grade Kiena Deep A zone, which Wesdome says is associated with areas with the highest ounces per vertical metre located within the zone.
To the west of Eagle River, where the company is currently producing gold at a rate of 92,000-105,000 ounces per year, Wesdome believes there is potential for the delineation of a parallel Falcon structure and further to the East down dip extension of the high-grade 300 zone that could meaningfully enhance future operational flexibility of the asset.
"With an existing large resource base, efforts in 2023 will focus on converting a portion of these resources to reserves. Additionally, we have a number of recently discovered zones and exploration targets at both projects," Wesdome stated in a news release.
Shares of Wesdome Gold Mines shot up by 8.2% to $6.85 by noon ET Monday. The company has a market capitalization of approximately $987 million.