The mining industry is full of some interesting people, but it definitely seems to be a drawcard for ex-sports stars.

Look who’s running Mali-focused gold producer Resolute Mining (ASX:RSG) – former Western Force and Wallabies player John Welborn.

And by all accounts, Mr Welborn has had his share of success in the mining game.

Now we have ex-Docker (that’s a WA footy team for those who don’t know) Matt Carr setting out to prove he can be just as successful with junior explorer Titan Minerals (ASX:TTM).

Titan has just struck what it hopes is a game changing deal to merge with Canadian miner Core Gold.

This merger will give Titan a large gold portfolio in Ecuador and Peru, including a 2.1-million-ounce resource and already producing assets.

“This really sort of elevates us to the next level,” Mr Carr told Stockhead in the Dockers home city of Fremantle against the backdrop of last week’s jam packed RIU Explorers Conference.

Mr Carr founded Urban Capital Group, which helped pull the former Minera Gold, now Titan, out of administration and breathe new life into it.

He now serves as chairman of Titan.

Core Gold was once a $480m company on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange, but it got itself into some financial difficulty by prematurely starting up the 2.5-million-ounce Zaruma underground mine.

After sinking $US40m into the decline and spending $US30m on the Portovello plant, the company ran into trouble with flooding deeper down at Zaruma and issues with the mine development that sunk the company and put the subsidiaries into liquidation.

Under the merger Titan has agreed to give every Core Gold shareholder 20 shares in Titan, ahead of a share consolidation, for every 1 Core Gold share held.

Core Gold shareholders that hold options and warrants will also get Titan options on comparable terms.

The deal values Core Gold at about $C72m.

“With the additional $20m of capital to be obtained prior to closing the merger, we can now undertake a significant exploration program at Dynasty goldfield, drill test the other highly prospective properties, as well as optimize production capacity and recoveries at the Portovelo plant, which has been underperforming due to Core Gold’s capital constraints,” Core Gold lead director Gregg Sedun said.

“While still retaining 48.5 per cent of the pro-forma entity, this transaction with Titan provides an attractive and immediate premium to Core Gold shareholders and allows them to participate as meaningful shareholders in a well-funded gold company listed in Australia.”

So what’s in it for Titan?

Mr Carr says the Dynasty goldfield looks like a “huge” gold system.

“They have drilled 200 holes down to around 100m of depth and have a [NI] 43-101 of 2.1 million ounces that sits in the oxide dirt and open pit,” he explained.

A National Instrument (NI) 43-101 is the Canadian standard for defining a resource – much like Australia’s JORC Code.

Mr Carr says 1 million ounces of that resource is in the highest confidence “measured” category.

Mineral resources are categorised in order of increasing geological confidence as inferred, indicated or measured.

Resources in the measured category can be converted to a “reserve”, which are discoveries that are commercially recoverable.

“We think there’s significant upside based on the visual gold basically at surface and the fact there’s 2.1 million ounces … in the top 100m,” non-executive director Nick Rowley told Stockhead.

“We’ve never gone deeper than that. By all accounts we’ve done probably six months of due diligence on this and the upside we think is around 5 to 7 million ounces just from Dynasty.”

Mr Rowley says Titan will have a market cap of around $150-$160m with $20-$30m in the bank on completion of the merger and capital raising.

“The plan is we’re just going to throw it all in the ground in exploration mostly around Dynasty and infilling to delineate that resource a bit better,” he said.

On top of that, Titan will already be producing from its Vista gold plant in Peru, which it has been commissioning for the past month.

“In operation we’ll have two producing plants,” Mr Rowley said.

“We think we can get around the 80,000 to 100,000-ounces-a-year mark and then obviously the exploration upside.”

The combined company will be led by new CEO and managing director Laurence Marsland.

The board will comprise three directors each from Core Gold and Titan, with most of the executive team coming from Titan.