The team has extensive experience in the structuring, financing and operation of precious metals and base metals mining companies, as well as oil and gas companies. Our Board is experienced in the asset development process, from grassroots discovery, into project development and then mine production.

Their knowledge and expertise has lead them to develop and contribute to the success of larger, successful mining companies including: Homestake Mining (Barrick), Newmont Mining, Meridian Gold, Yamana and Argonaut Gold.

Darcy Marud, Chief Executive Officer & President


Darcy Marud is the CEO of Western Exploration Inc, a Nevada-based precious metals exploration company. Prior to Western, he served as the Senior VP of Exploration at Yamana Gold and Executive Vice President – Enterprise Strategy. He was with Yamana for 10 years.

With more than 30 years of precious metals experience in the Americas, Marud held previous senior exploration roles with Homestake Mining Company, FMC Gold Company, and Meridian Gold Inc. He has been involved in the discovery and development of significant precious metals deposits including El Penon in Chile; Mercedes in Mexico; and Pilar and Corpo Sul (Chapada) in Brazil.

Marud is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan with an honors bachelor of science degree in geology. He is an active member of the Association of Professional Geoscientists of Ontario.

Curtis Turner, Chief Financial Officer


Chief Financial Officer of Rawhide Mining LLC
Former CEO of Candeleria Mining Corp
Former Vice President of Business Development at Argonaut Gold Inc.
Former Controller at El Peñon and the Meridian Gold Inc Corporate Office

+20 years experience

Mark Hawksworth, Aura Project General Manager


Mark Hawksworth has extensive experience in the exploration and development of precious metals deposits, having worked in various exploration positions for several companies over the years. He has been involved in the exploration and development of significant deposits such as the Beartrack Mine in Idaho and Mercedes Mine in Mexico.

Hawksworth is a graduate of Colorado State University with a Bachelor's degree in Geology and has a Master's degree in Economic Geology from Washington State University. He is a registered Professional Geologist and an active member of the Society of Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration.

As the General Manager of the Aura Project for Western Exploration Inc, Hawksworth is responsible for managing and overseeing the exploration activities of the project, which is focused on exploring and developing precious metals deposits in Nevada. With his wealth of experience in the industry, Hawksworth is well-positioned to lead the Aura Project to success.

John Cleary, Senior Consulting Geologist


John Cleary is the Senior Consulting Geologist for the Aura project in Elko, NV. He has more than 27 years on site with the project, having been with the project since 1997. He was also part of the discovery of the Gravel Creek resource in addition to the development of Doby George. He has extensive knowledge and comprehension of the project geology and development. John has also consulted for 37 mining and exploration companies over his 50 year career in the natural resource sector.

Cleary is a graduate of Dartmouth College with a Bachelor's degree in Geology and has a Master's degree in Economic Geology from the University of Montana. In addition to his experience as a Professional Geologist, John is a Graduate Gemologist from the Gemological Institute of America.

As the Senior Consulting Geologist for Western Exploration’s Aura Project, Cleary provides long term insight into the current geological interpretation and future areas for potential expansion. Cleary’s long term involvement with the project is an important asset for the project and Western Exploration.

Nichole Cowles, Head of Investor Relations


Nichole Cowles is a seasoned professional with over a decade of experience in the mining industry. Specializing in gold and silver, she began her career at Meridian Gold. Later, as the Director of Investor Relations for Argonaut Gold, she capitalized on building strong connections with investors and stakeholders.

Nichole is focused on identifying opportunities to create value for the company and shareholders.