Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Michael Chender of SNL - Junior Exploration Down 40%

From the European Gold Forum reported at Mineweb
current exploration trends as suggesting a significant squeeze on potential future gold supply..............exploration activity by juniors – which historically have been the most significant finders of major new gold deposits, was down 40% last year as funding dried up. Indeed, many are struggling to stay alive, let alone spend more money on exploration...............What is also disturbing is that the proportion of spending on grassroots exploration as a proportion of the total spend has dropped from 40% to 30% as companies become more and more risk averse.  It is also notable that exploration activity is becoming more concentrated in countries considered to have safer jurisdictions with the biggest proportion in areas like North America, whereas activity in some parts of the world – which might actually be geologically more likely to host major discoveries like Africa and Indonesia has been diminishing over perceived political risk.............With discovery rates falling precipitously we could see ahead only around one-third of the number of new ounces found in the boom years of the 1990s by 2025. miners have been lowering the price at which reserves and resources are calculated.  This is, in effect, reduces mine lives and this, in conjunction with lower exploration diminishing exploration returns, will only add to the longer term pressure on gold output. It is also taking far longer to bring a new mine on stream from discovery to production.  Indeed, Chender said that in some cases this can be as long as 25 years given the huge economic and environmental hoops mining companies have to go through to get a new project off the ground.

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