Chatter about the re-emergence of a mining boom is all a bit premature. What is more certain is that exploration expenditure and activity is on the rise in response to the broad advance in most commodities and evidence of cohesive global economic growth.
And while the jury is out on a another mining boom, there is a body of thought that this time around, we are at least in for a golden era of exploration success, with or without the price and volume excesses of the last boom.
It is a theme that Stavely Minerals (SVY) boss Chris Cairns ran up the flag pole in a presentation to the Melbourne Mining Club’s Cutting Edge function this week.
Cairns, a seasoned geologist who sold the gold company Integra for $426m back in 2013 before starting up Stavely, and a member of the Joint Ore Reserve Committee, said he senses that the latest exploration upturn is different to the one that got going in 2005, only to be killed off by the global financial crisis.
Back in 2005, Cairns was concerned about the lack of sophistication in exploration. “Many explorers were simply doing the same thing previous explorers had done – RAB drilling in areas previously drilled,” he said.
“It was an application of the law of diminishing returns in an ever-decreasing search space.
“While there were some notable discoveries, it probably did not reflect the magnitude of funds deployed to the effort.’’ But he reckons there is a difference this time around. And it is all about the greater adoption of new technologies giving explorers a “much better tool kit to identify and vector in to better opportunities while being better able to identify those that have real potential of success at an earlier stage”.
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