Special Report: Golden State exploration manager Geoff Willetts credits his background as a tradie with the company’s no-nonsense approach to exploration at its projects such as Yule.

Willetts told Stockhead that while his work life started in the trades, it wasn’t long before he decided that working on construction  projects and ‘swinging the paintbrushes’ was not for him.

He promptly went on to complete his undergraduate studies as a mature student at Kingston University.

He graduated in 1999 with a BSc. (hons) In Applied Geology.

Willetts proceeded to complete a master’s degree at the Camborne School of Mines and graduated in 2000.

After a few contract roles he worked for Barrick Gold at the Plutonic gold mine for a couple of years before moving to the company’s North American operations for a short time.

But then the junior exploration company bug bit. Since 2006, Willetts has been working at the smaller end of the market and it’s eventually led to him joining Golden State Mining (ASX:GSM) in 2018 following a chance meeting with managing director Mike Moore.

“Mike then contacted me and said they were looking for a geologist for a startup company. I was working with Blackham Resources – now Wiluna Mines – at the time, so I was certainly interested in a more autonomous role,” he explained.

“I’ve worked for several junior exploration companies, but have previously been engaged well after their start up, whereas this was a really good opportunity to be in at the beginning and see the whole process through, hopefully from start to finish.”

He added that the beauty of working for junior explorers is the exposure to every aspect of the exploration process.

“Good and bad, corporate through to field. It’s not without its challenges, but hopefully it won’t be without its rewards either.

“It will be so satisfying if we get onto something significant at Yule and will justify all the hard work and sacrifices that’s gone into it so far.”


Yule gold and base metal

It is not just the challenge of getting in with the company from the early days that has Willetts excited.

Golden State’s Yule project in Western Australia’s red-hot Mallina gold province in the Pilbara region also plays a very active role.

“The Yule project is just an amazing opportunity.

Even without the Hemi discovery it was a really good chunk of Archean basement within the Mallina Basin that had hardly been touched with really limited exploration drilling,” he explained.

“This is a seriously neglected area purely because it wasn’t previously seen as a prospective gold region until we’ve had this recent attention from the conglomerate-hosted gold story pursued by Novo and then De Grey’s more recent Hemi discovery.

“Now all of a sudden, this ground is red hot.”

He noted that the Sholl Shear Zone at Yule North is a very similar structure to the Mallina Shear Zone that the Hemi discovery is hosted in and has not really been tested from an intrusive point of view.

Additionally, Yule South has granite greenstone contacts that are always the focus for gold exploration.

“If this ground had been sitting anywhere in the eastern goldfields, it would have been peppered with drilling by now but it was sitting up here untouched,” Willetts explained.

“We’ve essentially got a blank canvas and we’ve got over 700sqkm to play with and we’re only at the beginning.”

Golden State has been one of the most active explorers in the Mallina Basin with over 13,000m of drilling completed during the first phase and about half the drilling completed for the second phase.

More recently, it has identified four gold targets at a new tenement that adds to the strategic tenure at Yule.

Golden state mining new tenement
E47/4343 plan showing open file aeromagnetic data. Pic: Supplied


Future plans

Willetts noted that the new ground will give the company another two or three phases of exploration to test targets that it will generate in those areas.

“We are going to be doing follow-up RC drilling of the results that we’ve got from phase one,” he added.

“We’re going to be busy throughout, you know 2021 probably into 2022 in terms of follow up drilling and continuation of exploration drilling up at the Yule Project.

“At the Cue Project we’re hoping to generate revenue from reprocessing of gold tailings that will be used to fund continuing exploration at Yule and also the remainder of the Murchison tenement package.”

He added that while the company will focus on the Yule project, it will also be looking for opportunities for further drilling at the Four Mile Well.





This article was developed in collaboration with Golden State Mining, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.