TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Investment in the grassroots level of prospecting and early-stage exploration are critically needed in British Columbia to uncover new deposits that, in turn, would encourage more investment in advanced exploration and resource development, the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) president and CEO Gavin Dirom said.
He told Mining Weekly Online that despite the province attracting significant investment in advanced-stage exploration and resource development, there is a critical need for more investment in grassroots level prospecting to ensure that the province’s mining output remains on an upward growth trajectory.
MONEY MAKES THE DRILLS GO ROUND
Dirom said that British Columbia had succeeded in recent years in attracting more exploration investment. He said the province had managed to lift investor confidence in the past five years or so, attracting more investment than what it typically did in the past, which was a significant development.
In exploration alone, British Columbia last year attracted investment totalling about $476-million. Although it paled in comparison to the decade record set in 2012, when exploration investment topped $680-million, Dirom pointed out that it still represented about 22% – possibly growing to 24% – of all exploration expenditure across Canada.
During the 1990s and at the turn of the century, the province attracted a meagre 5% to 6% of the country’s total exploration spending.
According to Dirom, the most critical challenge the junior prospecting and exploration industry has to deal with at present, is the persistent lack of venture capital over the last two to three years.
“It is fundamental to everything really; the whole industry comes to a grinding halt without it,” he pointed out.
Despite the gloomy market environment of the recent past, Dirom pointed to signs that things have been improving over the last three to six months; whether it is in the collective venture market, hopes buoyed by specific projects, or because of certain takeover deals, signs are emerging.
“From an industry investment perspective, these are good indicators that the worst is behind us and that confidence is returning. We saw that at the Mineral Exploration Roundup 2014, at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s (PDAC’s) 2014 convention, and also at a recent smaller conference of the Kamloops Exploration Group Society, comprising about 500 British Columbia-based geological experts, where there was collective optimism,” he said.
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