(Kitco News) – During the 82nd Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada convention in Toronto last week, Exploration Insights founder Brent Cook rounded up some mining heavyweights to look into the possibility of having reached peak discovery in the mining industry.
Kitco News’ informal panel included Catherine McLeod-Seltzer, chairman of Bear Creek, Alex Davidson, director with Yamana Gold, Miles Thompson, CEO of Lara Exploration.
While the guests covered a range of topics linked to where the mining industry is at, and where it could be heading, the idea that the mining industry will be a low-grade driven sector moving forward triggered a discussion.
“There’s always a change going on in the mining industry,” Davidson said. “We get smarter about where we explore, we can look from further away, we can look in different countries, our risk tolerance is a gazillion times more than it was 20 or 30 years ago.
“So I think we are going to find more deposits, they may be deeper which would require higher grade, or we’ll refine the mining methods to get cheaper mining methods, but I think there’s as much potential, in certain areas, as there ever has been.”
McLeod-Seltzer pointed to her past experiences with new ways of looking at mining and expects it to be a matter of time before the next game changer presents itself.
“Something will come up that will revolutionize, in some way, what’s going to be found next,” she said. “Technology will change, we’ll be able to find deposits that are deeper, we’ll come up with ideas on how to do that.”
However, Cook went against the grain, arguing that days of major discoveries may have passed and present day shows it’s getting tougher and tougher to find good grade.
“I don’t see it,” said Cook. “We’ve reached a stage where the deposits are going to be deeper and we know that a four-gram deposit at surface is much different than a four-gram deposit at depth, yet distribution-wise, they’re an equal number.
“Now we have to find an eight-gram deposit at depth as opposed to a four (gram deposit) that would work at surface,” he added.
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