From Mineral Discovery to Project Delivery

SEG Newsletter, No 105 April 2016, p1, 20-25, Society of Economic Geologists

Unfortunately, due to copyright reasons, a copy of the full article is not available for general distribution.

The following is a synopsis of the article:

While much discussion has centred on the discovery process and how to improve success, there appears to have been less focus on how to improve the mining industry’s ability to deliver a new mining project quickly. This step is often overlooked and undervalued—but is arguably where most value leakage occurs. The SEG Newsletter article discusses ways companies can foster more effective project delivery. This includes;

  • The need to build orebody knowledge quickly and thoroughly
  • Configuring the right delivery team—and making it yours
  • Investing in professional development
  • Turning project governance on its head – the current practice of companies oscillating between an advisory role and a command-and-control model is not optimal

The article contains an interesting figure (see Attached) which shows the general trend and relationship between in exploration expenditures, metres drilled and the number of discoveries made over the last 30 years. This is the first time I (or anyone else) has published statistics on the amount of drilling done in the Western World.

The article concludes with the observation that that success is not measured simply in terms of the number of deposits found, but rather the number of high-quality mines built, the resulting amount of revenue generated, and its timing. The science of discovery is a difficult one and few projects will ever reach the stage of a maiden resource, let alone conversion to a revenue stream. However, for those projects that result in discovery, there remains a raft of challenges to confront in order to successfully deliver. This appears to be an area that the industry has not focused on sufficiently, and the result is long delays and erosion of value.

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