Special Report: A key figure in some of the largest Australian gold finds of the past two decades has been appointed as chief executive officer of Viking Mines.

Julian Woodcock has been appointed CEO of Viking Mines (ASX:VKA) effective immediately, and will lead the company’s work with CSA Global on the technical advancement of the vastly underexplored First Hit gold project picked up under a conditional acquisition agreement struck in November with Red Dirt Mining.

Woodcock is a geologist with 19 years of experience in all aspects of the extractive and mineral exploration industry, and is directly associated with a number of multi-million ounce gold discoveries.

His most recent role was as exploration manager for Gold Road Resources (ASX:GOR), where he led a large exploration team to discover new orebodies and define 300,000 ounces of indicated resources.

At the prolific Gruyere gold mine, his team also converted 1.3 million ounces of gold from inferred to indicated resources.

Woodcock was also previously exploration manager for Evolution Mining’s (ASX:EVN) Mungari operations and Gold Fields Australia’s St Ives gold mine – each significant projects in their own right.

He has also held international positions for both Gold Fields and Kinross Gold.

“I am delighted to join the team at Viking Mines and excited to lead the company through its exploration and development of the First Hit gold mine,” Woodcock said.

“High grade gold projects of this nature which haven’t seen a drill bit in almost 20 years are a rarity and present an excellent opportunity to rapidly test and advance the project for the benefit of the shareholders in this excellent gold climate.

“I look forward to getting on the ground and working with CSA, and commencing drilling of the project in the near future.”

Viking chairman Ray Whitten said the appointment was a significant coup for the company as it looks to progress at First Hit.

“We are very confident that Julian’s proven history of identifying new gold discoveries and advancement of both open pit and underground gold projects will successfully drive the project development and exploration plans for the high-grade First Hit gold mine and exploration upside, as part of the Red Dirt project package,” he said.

What are they working with?

The First Hit acquisition was the culmination of an extensive due diligence process which uncovered a potentially hidden gem in the lucrative Eastern Goldfields.

The historic gold project was first mined in 1930 and last mined by Barra Resources and Barminco in 2002, when it was closed due to gold price lows of US$325 per ounce.

Viking Mines
First Hit’s location within the broader geological region. Pic: Supplied.

At the time, First Hit was producing gold at cash costs of just US$345/oz. The project hasn’t been touched with a drill or shovel since.

The historic mine remains open above, below, and laterally adjacent to the historic resource, and drill results recorded by Barra in the early part of the century returned some remarkable assays outlined below.

Below the historic mineral resource:

  • 9m at 64.8 grams per tonne gold from 62.1m;
  • 7m at 22.2g/t gold from 64.3m;
  • 5m at 10g/t gold from 55.8m;
  • and 3m at 9.3g/t gold from 273m.

Laterally adjacent to the historic mineral resource:

  • 3m at 77.6g/t gold from 224m;
  • 1m at 66.7g/t gold from 164m;
  • and 1m at 15.4g/t gold from 255m.

Above the mined workings:

  • 4m at 26.1g/t gold from 58m in an un-stoped area;
  • 2m at 13.1g/t gold from 27m above the highest level mined;
  • 2m at 5.1g/t gold from 18m near surface splay;
  • and 4m at 2.3g/t gold from 38m near surface splay.

The project was only historically mined to around 220m.

The acquisition also spans five advanced exploration targets untested via modern methods.


This article was developed in collaboration with Viking Mines, 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.