Jason is an exploration geologist with 20 years’ experience in a wide variety of commodities and deposit types with a specialization in gold and copper. He has an extensive track record of successfully managing exploration teams working with a wide variety of cultures in challenging terrains and remote locations around the globe including the South Pacific Rim, the Middle East, South and Central America, SE Asia and the Arctic.

Jason is Exploration Manager for the Cascabel Project as well as SolGold’s Ecuadorean Country Manager and President of the Cascabel Project holding company, Exploraciones Novomining S.A. (ENSA), which is 85% owned by SolGold.

Jason has worked for SolGold since its inception, playing a leading role in the exploration of the Company’s founding projects in the Solomon Islands.  He has developed, over the last 20 years, outstanding skills in landholder relations, local labour force development and project and exploration management and is applying these skills at Cascabel to the great benefit of SolGold.


Dr Steve Garwin has over 28 years of experience as an exploration geologist and is one of the leading authorities on porphyry, epithermal and Carlin‐style mineralization in the circum‐Pacific region and applies methods of structural geology and geochemistry towards gold and base‐metals exploration. 

He has previously worked with Newmont Mining for ten years, including two years as Chief Geologist in Nevada, USA.  He has been involved with several exploration and mining projects including the Batu Hijau copper-gold porphyry deposit (where he completed his PhD), the Indo Muro, Way Linggo and Tembang epithermal gold‐silver vein systems, and the Mesel sediment‐hosted gold deposit in Indonesia; mines of the Carlin Trend and Battle Mountain district in Nevada; the Whistler gold-copper porphyry deposit in Alaska; and the Santa Barbara gold‐porphyry deposit in south-eastern Ecuador.

Dr Garwin has been an adjunct research fellow at the Centre for Exploration Targeting at the University of Western Australia since 2001 and was appointed a visiting fellow at the Research School of Earth Sciences, Australian National University in 2014.

Steve has been instrumental to date in the recognition of the mineralisation systems at Alpala, and the implementation of state‐of‐the‐art detailed mapping and logging strategies on site.  These processes are leading to accurate drill hole targeting and rapid progression to resource definition.


Benn is a geologist with 19 years’ experience across multiple commodities in challenging exploration and mine environments in Australia, PNG, New Caledonia, Fiji, Solomon Islands and Ecuador.  He brings a diverse range of skills from all stages of the exploration to development cycle for epithermal gold and porphyry style copper and gold deposits.

Benn is Technical Services Manager at the Cascabel project and has been working with Solgold since 2007.   He brings experienced and enthusiastic management to the geology department, and field operations, and provides technical authority in the management of drilling programs and the design and management of complex three dimensional geological models.

Benn lead teams responsible for significant discoveries and resource extensions at the world class Emperor Gold Mine in Vatukoula, Fiji, and was a part of the discovery team at the George Fisher Lead-Zinc Deposit, near Mount Isa, Australia.

Santiago Vaca, Chief Geologist, Ecuador

Santiago is an Ecuadorian geologist with over 13 years of experience in mineral exploration and research, who has worked in Cu-porphyry, epithermal, IOCG and SEDEX deposit types. Santiago has a Masters Degree from The Mineral Deposit Research Unit at the University of British Columbia in Canada, where he studied the proliferous Cu-Au porphyry belt hosted in the Nicola/Takla group.  This included the Copper Mountain, Mount Polley and Mount Milligan mines and the Woodjam deposit. 

During his career, Santiago has worked for major, intermediate and junior mining companies, with his experience ranging from grassroots regional exploration, to project generation and resource infill drilling. He has been involved with mines and different projects in Ecuador, Western Canada, Western Australia, South Africa, Mexico, USA and Peru.

Santiago joined SolGold in 2014 as Chief Geologist for the Cascabel project and his responsibilites include mapping, drill planning, core-logging, data interpretation and operation support with attention to budget and cost control.  He generates technical reports and presentations for management, JV partners, investors, regulatory bodies and communities. Santiago holds a Professional Geoscientist Certification (P.Geo) granted by the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA) in Canada.

Chris Connell, Regional Exploration Manager

Chris is a geologist with over 20 years' experience focusing on gold and copper exploration across a range of deposit styles.  Along with managing exploration in Australia, Chris has spent many years managing international teams in culturally and environmentally diverse regions throughout West Africa, Central Africa, Papua New Guinea and Ecuador.  He brings extensive experience in managing large scale exploration in remote and inaccessible terrains.

Chris is SolGold’s Regional Exploration Manager overseeing all exploration activities conducted by SolGold’s four Ecuadorian subsidiary companies, Carnegie Ridge Resources S.A, Cruz del Sol S.A., Green Rock Resources S.A. and Valle Rico Resources S.A.  Chris coordinates a large number of technical and community relations teams that are successfully operating throughout SolGold’s vast exploration portfolio in Ecuador.