A fickle exploration ranking [Fraser Institute Mining Survey] – by Kip Keen (Mineweb.com – March 2, 2015)


The oddities that come in ranking the world’s best places to explore. Strange things happen when you ask exploration company management a hypothetical question about the juiciest regions for discovery.

Every year the Fraser Institute sends out a questionnaire to mining types. Most of them are exploration management (as self-reported.) This year it sent out a little over 4,000 questionnaires and it got back responses from just over 10% of that score.

One of the topics the Fraser Institute addresses, among many, is a question of fantasy. To paraphrase: Based on what you’re familiar with, what areas hold awesome potential for discovery assuming there are no impediments to exploration, like nasty dictators, pushy anti-miners and prohibitive regulation.

The idea, the Fraser Institute says, is to poll what its respondents think are the best regions in terms of raw exploration potential.

It gets weird in two ways. It seems the potential of the world’s rocks, to the survey’s respondents, changes very rapidly, as year to year the best of rankings bounce erratically. And each year the ranking makes for odd juxtaposition.

Let’s take this year’s survey. It doesn’t start out too controversially. Yukon tops it. Alaska comes next. Nevada thereafter.

Now I have no qualms with these places for exploration. They have great rocks. People should explore them. They will yield more discovery.

But then you scan down the list and start seeing more untapped or just simply vaster places to explore – often blindingly so.

So Russia, all of it, comes in 40th. Or Nova Scotia. It comes in at 92, one spot ahead of Turkey and two spots ahead of Kyrgyztan. Hmm.

For all its real potential, Nova Scotia simply lacks the prospectivity on the scale of either Turkey or Kyrgyztan, which are proven to host numerous large or world class base or precious metals deposits (e.g. Kumtor in Kyrgyztan or Kisladag in Turkey, among others, with major discoveries ongoing especially in Turkey, which is fairly permissive for exploration.)

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