Any time two gold companies in WA announce a billion-dollar merger it’s a pretty big deal. 

But the merging of Genesis Minerals and St Barbara – announced on December 12 – has particularly historical significance owing to the name of the merged entity: Hoover House. 

Hoover House is a beautifully restored, three-bedroom home dating back to 1898, which overlooks the Sons of Gwalia gold mine and which is available to tourists as a bread-and-breakfast. 

Hoover House – note the ‘H’ on the front path. Photo by Bahnfrend

It also happens to have been designed by the 31st President of the United States, Herbert Hoover, who was superintendent at the site for six months. Hoover, who trained as a geologist, came to WA aged 22 and spent the best part of two years here, later returning to the State intermittently as part of his role with Bewick Moreing and Company (an international mining and civil engineering consultancy service). 

Hoover was the third US Secretary of Commerce from 1921 to 1928, and then succeeded Calvin Coolidge as US President in 1929. His presidency coincided with the Great Depression and stock market collapse and he was defeated in the Presidential Election of 1932 by Franklin Roosevelt. 

Interestingly, with Roosevelt dying in office in 1945 and his own predecessors passing away during the 1920s and early 1930s, Hoover was the only living ex-president from 1933 to 1953. He died in 1964 at the age of 90, and Hoover Dam in Colorado and two minor planets (932 Hooveria and 1363 Herberta) are named in his honour. 

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The formation of the mining company Hoover House will stem from St Barbara acquiring 100 per cent of the shares in Genesis Minerals.  

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St Barbara – named for the patron saint of miners – operates the Gwalia underground gold mine (formerly Sons of Gwalia) near Leonora and earlier this year acquired Bardoc Gold and its Bardoc Gold Project in the Eastern Goldfields. 

Genesis Minerals, meanwhile, is an explorer that has previously stated its vision of consolidation of the historic Leonora mining district and which has been in the process of taking over Dacian Gold. Genesis has its own Leonora Gold Project and is headed by former Saracen boss Raleigh Finlayson, who will become managing director of the merged entity. 

The very comfortable verandah at Hoover House. Photo by Bahnfrend

The St Barbara-Genesis deal also includes the creation of a new company called Phoenician Metals that will incorporate the demerger of several assets, including Atlantic and Simberi (St Barbara operations in Nova Scotia and Papua New Guinea). 

The merger will need to be approved by shareholders of both St Barbara and Genesis. 

“This merger is a major step forward in the strategic journey Genesis embarked on less than 12 months ago,” Finlayson said. 

“By combining with St Barbara, we are creating Hoover House, the premium Australian gold company we envisaged, with sustainable, high-quality production”.  

“Consolidation of the world-class Leonora District is a natural fit for Genesis.”