Assessing Long Term Exploration and discovery Performance for Key Minerals In Australia

Presentation at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC), Melbourne, November 2020


My IMARC presentation complements a similar talk I gave in September at the XPLOR 2020 Conference.  In detail, the EXPLOR presentation focused on Canada’s exploration and discovery performance, whereas this presentation is focused on Australia’s performance.

Key observations were:

  • Over the last decade (2010-19) Australia accounted for 12% of global exploration spend and 15% of all discoveries. 
  • During this time 168 significant discoveries were made in Australia.  Three of these were Tier-1, with a further ten being Tier-2. 
  • The majority of these discoveries were in Western Australia.  This not surprising given that WA is the largest State by size (34% of total land area) and also has the largest expenditures (accounting for 58% of total spend in Australia over the last decade)
  • Australia accounted for 17% of the total exploration value created in the World – giving a “Bang-per-Buck” of 72 cents per Dollar spent on exploration.   This is higher than the global average of 49 cents, but less than that achieved in Africa (with 102 cents).
    • It should be noted though that these numbers are likely to improve over time – as the analysis ignores the value unreported discoveries and the potential for known deposits to grow in-size (and value) with further drilling.
  • In the first six months of 2020 average expenditure per Australian junior exploration company fell by 40%, but rebounded by 20% in Q3.  Cash reserves are now rising – suggesting a positive outlook in the short term.
  • Based on the latest commodity price forecasts from Consensus Economics MinEx estimates that exploration expenditures in Australia are likely to remain flat at 2019-levels (of US$1.9 billion) for the rest of the decade.