Since Jurie Wessels took the reins as chief executive of Goldstone Resources (LON:GRL) in May 2009, the company has snapped up a collection of prospective gold projects in west and central Africa that have given its investors a reason to get excited. Together with exploration director Dr Hendrik Schloemann, Wessels has built a shimmering prospector’s portfolio that started in Ghana and now stretches west to Senegal and south to Gabon. The more advanced Homase project in Ghana has the potential to tempt GoldStone’s strategic partner Unity Mining (ASX: UML) to consider putting it into production once it has reached critical mass and all the other projects could be a company-maker in their own right.

GoldStone first listed on London’s Alternative Investment Market in 2004 when it raised £5.6m to fund exploration work in Guyana. Mixed results and a string of inconclusive new projects followed before Wessels got the chance to step up from FD to CEO and change the company’s strategy. In May 2010 the company raised £2,125,771 through a share placement to Unity Mining (at that time known as Bendigo Mining), which occurred shortly after GoldStone entered into a strategic alliance with the Australian group. As part of that deal, Unity acquired a 20% interest in GoldStone. In June the company went on to raise a further £2.06m in a share placing with investors, again including Unity.

Today, the amiable South African is relaxed on which of the company’s projects will take the lead in 2011. Drilling at its first and flagship project at Homase in Ghana is about to get under way and a positive result there would be a welcome boost. But it is the prospect of an asset deal in Gabon that gets Wessels most energised. As first in line with applications on significant licence areas in the country earlier this year, he believes GoldStone could be transformed if it gets its way. In the mean time, Schloemann’s eye for a project and Wessels’ nous for a deal have helped drive the GoldStone share price up from under a penny to 7p in 18 months without a single hole drilled. In an interview with Stockopedia, Wessels revealed the thinking behind the company’s strategy.

Jurie, you are a lawyer by training so how did that lead to you getting involved in running mining companies?

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