The Business of Mineral Exploration:
Discovering the Next Generation of Economic Mineral Deposits
GeoTotal Group mineral exploration management consultants consultants can help you assess the prospectivity and explorability of your exploration project portfolio. We help you explore for economic mineral deposits in the right place, with the right people, and with the right technology.
THE BUSINESS OF EXPLORATION: DISCOVERING THE NEXT GENERATION OF ECONOMIC URANIUM DEPOSITS (IAEA-TECDOC -861)
Jim Marlatt, GeoTotal Group Ltd.
Uranium exploration is a complex high-risk high-reward business activity at the front end of the nuclear fuel cycle. The uranium exploration process involves the effective use of geoscientific knowledge and exploration technologies for the discovery of economic uranium deposits.
On a global basis, historical uranium exploration has led to the discovery of uranium deposits. However, there is significant uncertainty associated with the economic potential illustrated in the global inventory of uranium resources.
The exploration process is relatively inefficient and the conversion rate of significant discoveries to producing mining operations is estimated to be approximately fifty percent, due to technical, economic, social and environmental factors.
The business drivers of exploration include factors related to uranium supply and demand and attitudes toward investment. The technical drivers of exploration include the optimal selection of geographical areas for exploration based upon an assessment of prospectivity and explorability.
The optimization of human, organization and technology factors for discovery is another factor. The quantitative and qualitative estimation of economic mineral potential is an important area of focus for understanding the investment worth of uranium exploration.
The key stakeholders in the exploration process are governments, geological survey organizations, consultants, researchers, exploration service providers, and exploration company managers and workers.
Geological survey organizations play an important role in attracting investment. They support the establishment of a favourable business environment, provide easy access to pre-competitive geoscientific information, and initiate economic mineral potential assessments, among other activities. Geological survey organizations contribute to significant long-term economic development within their jurisdictions by attracting investment from the uranium exploration and mining sector.
Exploration frontiers can be classified as geographical, technological, depth-related, and data-related in nature. Next-generation undiscovered economic deposits are predicted to exist within under explored frontier localities that have received limited historical exploration expenditure.
However, a technology leap is indicated as a requirement for these new economic discoveries. This leap could come in the form of innovations associated with geological, geochemical, geophysical, drilling, and mining methods or deposit models, and their deployment in terrains identified through quantitative and qualitative economic mineral potential assessments.
Rapid and cost effective innovative evidence-based approaches to assessing the investment worth of uranium exploration in frontier project areas with limited data provide an alternative to more conventional approaches.
Innovative approaches rely on the development of collaborations with company and organizational experts, consultants and applied academic researchers, with a focus on the exchange of knowledge for better exploration decision-making and the development of technological innovations.
GeoTotal Group Ltd. Mineral Exploration Consultants +1.613.484.1890
James Marlatt, PhD, MBA, P.Eng.