Its shares were up 3.5 cents to 28.5 cents as of near market close today.
In late November, the junior gold explorer commissioned Roscoe Postle Associates to start a preliminary economic assessment on the deposit.
The scope of the report, which is expected to be wrapped up by the first quarter, will include an updated pit-constrained resource, the evaluation of existing metallurgical work, engineering of mine layout and scheduling and process design.
The company said that design drawings will form the basis of construction and operating permit applications for the project. Pending the outcome of the report, permitting and additional studies, as well as a construction decision on the TUG project could happen in the second quarter of 2013, West Kirkland added.
The TUG deposit, which will be studied with a conventional open pit and heap leach design, is near the paved highway, and exposed at surface, with its features expected to provide for a potential short construction period.
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. As of November, it had spent around $3.4 million, securing a 51 per cent stake.
"Our exploration efforts in the Long Canyon trend quickly identified and delineated shallow oxide gold resources in TUG that we are moving forward as a base of operations while continuing to explore our district scale land position," VP of exploration for West Kirkland, Michael G. Allen, said late last year.
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 TUG property, which sits in Box Elder County, Utah, hosts a shallow oxidized gold resource that was extensively drilled by previous operators.
The first NI 43-101 compliant resource estimate on the property was released by West Kirkland in 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. *
**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 this news release.