22 November 2023
Despite being in the midst of a commodities supercycle, global minerals exploration seems to be in a state of scarcity and inefficiency driven disarray. The fate of net zero ambitions now lies with the industry experts who have developed next generation, AI-driven discovery techniques – and Mine Discovery Fund (MDF) is at the forefront of this endeavour.
Despite being in the midst of a commodities supercycle, global minerals exploration seems to be in a state of scarcity and inefficiency driven disarray. The fate of net zero ambitions now lies with the industry experts who have developed next generation, AI-driven discovery techniques – and Mine Discovery Fund Pty Ltd (MDF) is at the forefront of this endeavour.
After peaking in 2012 at over US$20 billion, global nonferrous exploration budgets experienced a rapid decline to just US$7 billion in 2016. While this has since recovered to over US$11 billion in 2021, only US$2.9 billion on this is going into earlier stage exploration – the rest is being spent on extending mine lives at producing projects and building out development ready deposits.
Gold is by far the most targeted commodity, taking up 55% of exploration budgets. Copper comes in second at 21%, silver with 6%, nickel with 4% and lead & zinc also with 4%. The annual indexed metals price also peaked in 2012 of 3.83, up from 1 in 1996, before declining up until 2016. It has since reached a new high in 2021 of 3.87 – but exploration budgets are only 50% of their 2012 high, indicating a significant underinvestment in resources discovery.
Despite the increase in copper exploration budgets over the past several years, there has not been a meaningful increase in the number of recent major discoveries. Copper exploration has become extremely inefficient from a dollars to tons perspective. In 1990, US$528.9 million was spent on copper exploration, which resulted in the discovery of 70.2 million tons of the metal, at an average implied discovery cost of US$7.5/ton. In 2012, which recorded the highest ever annual copper exploration expenditure at US$4.7 billion, a mere 0.8 million tons was discovered at an average implied discovery cost of US$5,596/ton.
Global refined copper consumption per capita has been growing steadily for almost 30 years, rising from 2 tons per thousand people in 1994 to over 3 tons in 2022. This is expected to rapidly rise to almost 5 tons per thousand people by 2030.
Mine Discovery Fund Pty Ltd (MDF) is a company at the forefront of discovering Tier 1 metals deposits. MDF’s expert geological advisory board is responsible for some of the biggest discoveries in the world. The team uses AI-driven proprietary algorithms that incorporate machine learning for big data processing to identify high priority targets.
MDF’s unique incubator model criteria rigorously analyses the size of the ultimate prize, weight of evidence for potential discovery and the cost of definitive testing. They then match the prospect with world-leading discovery geologists who have the most relevant real-life experience, and give them access to all of MDF’s proprietary big data and AI/machine learning technologies.
The group is led by Joseph Webb, who has over 20 years of executive management experience in the resources and manufacturing industries both in Australia and overseas. He previously held commercial roles at mining giants Rio Tinto and Mineralogy Pty Ltd.
Their expert advisory board consists of the likes of John Main, a geologist with 45+ years of global experience in mineral exploration and evaluation. He has led teams that have discovered eight deposits that have become mines, with a value of actual and planned production from these deposits exceeding $100B.
There is also Professor Ross Large, a distinguished professor of geology who is internationally recognised for studies on sediment and volcanic-hosted deposits of Zn-Pb, Cu and gold. He led the premier ore deposit research centre globally for 25 years, and was involved in many major mineral discoveries. He is most interested in testing and adopting new technologies for discovery.
Another MDF advisor, Andy Browne, is a geologist with 48+ years of global experience in minerals exploration and evaluation. He was a team leader in major discoveries of gold, mineral sands & uranium, including NexGen’s giant US$3.8 billion NPV Arrow uranium deposit discovery in Canada.
Some of the deposits discovered by the MDF team throughout their careers had exploration success quite early in the process, a repeated occurrence that is attributed to their refined and comprehensive systems.
Notable examples include the 1.5Bt @ 1.5% Cu, 0.04% Mo (+Au, Ag) Resolution Deposit in Arizona USA. The first hole returned over 400m at above 1% copper, and the project is currently a US$64 billion project that will run over 60 years as a joint venture between Rio Tinto and BHP. There is also the 118Mt @ 10.2% Zn, 1.5% Pb, 32g/t Ag Century Deposit in Queensland – which produced over US$15 billion of commodities during its 16 year mine life. The third hole hit ore. A particularly high grade example includes the 5.2Mt @ 2.93% Ni, 2.49% Cu (+Co, Au, PGE) Eagle deposit in Michigan USA, which was developed and is currently in production. The third hole hit ore.
Join Joseph Webb, Chairman of Wiseman Metals and MD of the Mine Discovery Fund Pty Ltd (MDF), for a live investor briefing this Thursday, 27th July at 1pm (AEST), where he will discuss why MDF picked copper as the top metal to capitalise on the energy transition. Click here to book in or request the replay.
Reach Markets have been engaged by Wiseman Metals Pty Ltd and may receive fees for its services.
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