GOLD Ridge project operator Gold Mountain Limited has appointed Douglas Smith to its Board as Exploration and In-Country Operations director.

Mr Smith has provided consulting services to Gold Mountain, and has been on site since May 2015 managing key exploration activities, including the extensive trenching and bulk sampling operations that have been ongoing at Crown Ridge.

He is a very experienced geologist with a 20+ year career working on major precious metals projects and exploration assets in Canada, Alaska, Australia, and more recently PNG where he has worked since 2011 on projects such as Ok Tedi and Highland Pacific’s Star Mountains exploration tenements. Here he was the only expatriate managing a team of over 100 national staff. He also worked on the giant Pebble Alaska 100M oz gold, 80B lbs copper project, managing over 200 contractors with one other colleague. Together, they designed the original geophysical survey (89 square miles), and designed and executed an extensive drilling program to bring the resource to the Indicated category and take the project to a pre-feasibility stage.

Mr Smith has experience across all key areas of exploration, project logistics, contract/contractor management, procurement, staff management, and community awareness and assistance. He is a qualified geologist and gained his degree from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. He has also completed a number of additional courses in structural geology and training in different geological technologies. He is a member of the AusIMM.

Gold Mountain’s Managing Director Tony Teng said Mr Smith has made a significant contribution to the vompany in less than 18 months, and his commitment to the progress and development of the Crown Ridge project has been outstanding.

“Doug’s in-country expertise, and the solid relationships he has established with the local communities,has greatly assisted us in advancing Crown Ridge much more rapidly than we first invisaged,” Mr Teng said.

“Doug is a true ‘on the ground’ operator and his near-constant presence on site has been one of the key reasons Crown Ridge has advanced so quickly and so much value has been unlocked. His experience in Alaska also demonstrates that he a track record of adding significant value to large-scale resources projects, which is what we believe we have at Crown Ridge.

“As we reach this critical stage in the project’s development with Phase 2 of the Bulk Sampling now commencing, and other exploration activities advancing, having a Director that is located largely at the project considerably stregnthens our Board and our operations.”

Mr Smith says he has never seen a project that has as much potential as Crown Ridge.

“The geology is simply outstanding and I am convinced it will be another of PNG’s major precious metals projects. I am also pleased to be expanding my involvement with Gold Mountain as a director of the company. We are entering a very exciting phase of development and I am intent on spending a considerable amount of time at the project ensuring we continue to unlock further value.”

Mr Smith’s appointment follows the decision by Matthew Morgan to step down from the Board and executive duties to pursue other opportunities in the Australian resources sector.