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Exploration Report 2023

What is the largest barrier to explorers delivering discoveries for the energy transition?


Permits and access to exploration ground will be the largest obstacles in front of making major discoveries over the next 12 months, according to the Mining Magazine Intelligence 2023 Exploration Report.

More than a third (37%) of respondents to Mining Magazine Intelligence’s survey said delays in permitting or access to site would be the single-greatest challenge or issue to affect discovery rates from a list of seven options.

Meanwhile, more than half (52%) said basic delays in the granting of legitimate permits or licences would hinder or exceptionally hinder activities.

Results from the survey suggested there was a disconnect between government policies that aim to facilitate delivery of the raw materials necessary for the energy transition and the administration of exploration activities required to find such raw materials.

The industry experienced an increase in exploration spending in 2021, which underpinned 4,101 reported sets of drill results and 68 initial resources published in 2022, according to research from industry information service, Opaxe.

However, the capital markets outlook for the next 12 months was for more volatility, at best. It could prove to deliver further declines in exploration spending based on available cash. Survey respondents were generally anxious about their prospects of raising finance. 

There was some reason for optimism with new technologies capable of transforming exploration making inroads into program planning. 

The focus of respondents this year in terms of key technologies was very much on AI or predictive targeting, with 29% of respondents suggesting these tools were mostly likely out of seven presented to improve their chances of discovery over the next 12 months. 

Other areas covered by the survey included regulation, skills shortages and budget allocations. The wider report carries dedicated chapters on exploration technology, initial resources, and best intercepts, and also reviews the processes behind five of the best discoveries in 2022.

Australia's Mining Monthly Premium Subscribers can read the full report online.

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