Greenfields Research

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The business of greenfields exploration

- By: John P Sykes
Posted in: Blog, Conferences, Exploration, Management, Mineral Economics, PhD, Publications, Strategy


Earlier in the year, I was asked to present at the TARGET Conference (focused on exploration geoscience) in Perth, Australia on the subject of the ‘business of greenfields exploration’ – one of my favourite subjects. A brief abstract and the presentation can be found below, whilst the extended abstract can be found on Researchgate:

Business of greenfields exploration – Sykes & Trench – Apr 2017 – Centre for Exploration Targeting from John P. Sykes

“The minerals exploration sector is under strain. Junior explorers have struggled to raise funds, whilst explorers within larger companies have found budgets cut, or their roles eliminated entirely. Greenfields exploration, which is perceived to be higher risk, has been particularly badly affected. In part, this is a response to negative external market factors. However, the exploration sector has also often provided unattractive returns, struggling with falling discovery rates, falling discovery quality and increased discovery costs. In addition, the exploration sector has faced newer challenges relating to environmentalism, native title, sustainable development and ‘social licence to operate’. As such, explorers have found that the opportunities of globalisation have been more limited than expected. It is, therefore, worth outlining the traditional business case for exploration, in particular, greenfields exploration, before considering a renewed business case for exploration that is better able to take on the challenges of the ‘social licence to operate’. The aim of this review is to help the exploration sector outline to investors and corporate parents why they should fund greenfields minerals exploration and related research activities.”

Finally, I would just like to pass on my thanks to the organisers of the TARGET Conference, both for the invite to speak and for running a great conference.