McVey, who joined the company last November as manager of projects, has more than 30 years of experience in mine and construction management in Canada, the U.S., and Africa.
He will spearhead the development of West Kirkland's TUG project - a gold-silver asset in Utah - and has commissioned Roscoe Postle Associates to produce a preliminary economic assessment by May of this year.
The report will form the basis of construction and operating permit applications, with the company envisioning a conventional, shallow, open pit and heap leach operation. West Kirkland said it expects a low stripping ratio and minimal stripping in the first two years.
The TUG deposit is located four miles from paved highway, and is exposed at surface, with grid power and water both available.
The company says these features could lead to a shorter construction period, as well as lower risk and improved project economics. Pending the outcome of the preliminary economics report, and permitting, a construction decision could be made within the second quarter of this year.
"Sandy has already made significant inroads on the development of TUG and we're pleased to have his commitment to lead the project," said West Kirkland president and CEO, R. Michael Jones, in a statement.
Indeed, the company says it is "well advanced" in the collection of field data for the upcoming study and permitting. Geotechnical and hydrogeological investigations have been done, as has drilling of metallurgical samples.
The property is under option from Fronteer Development Inc., a subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corporation. Under the agreement, West Kirkland can earn a 60 per cent interest in the property by spending a total of $4.0 million. So far, it had spent around $3.4 million, securing a 51 per cent stake.
West Kirkland's focus is regional exploration on the Long Canyon trend, which is marked by the Long Canyon deposit in the southwest and the TUG deposit 65 kilometres to the northeast. The miner, which also has mineral rights in Kirkland Lake, Ontario, has the dominant land position between these two deposits.
The first NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate on TUG was released by West Kirkland last May, and showed an inferred resource of 679,000 gold equivalent ounces, contained in 27.1 million tonnes grading 0.49 g/t gold and 15.8 g/t silver using a cut-off 0.1 g/t gold (Caracle Creek, June 1, 2012) *.
* Michael G. Allen, Vice President of Exploration for West Kirkland and a qualified person as defined by NI 43-101, has reviewed and approved the technical information in this news release. He is the non-independent qualified person for the purpose of the news release referred to in this article.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.