Green bananas, mining risks, and time – by Curt Freeman (North of 60 Mining News – August 5, 2022)

Noted Alaskan prospector Rudy Vetter once told me, “At my age, I don’t even buy green bananas anymore.” I heard this sage remark during a mineral property lease negotiation after I offered Mr. Vetter a production royalty, rather than the cold, hard cash he wanted.

Mr. Vetter was in his 80s at the time and clearly knew his own investment risk timeline. He also clearly knew that Alaskan mines require a number of years to move from discovery to production. So not surprisingly, as far as Rudy was concerned, the production royalty idea was D.O.A.

But I have never forgotten the often dramatic effect the passage of time can have on a mineral deposit and those who explore, develop and mine them. In thinking about the role time plays in the mining industry, I realized that we initially think of mining as a three-dimensional process, where surface and subsurface parameters influence discovery, development and operation of an open pit or underground ore deposit.

We seldom consciously consider the fourth dimension – time. But how often have you heard statements like this (you can fill in the blank): “An ore deposit’s ___________ varies over time.”

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