Exploration companies have the aim of finding new mineral deposits. These firms are often privately owned and operated by venture capitalists or individual investors. They employ engineers, surveyors and cartographers to identify mining areas. The discovery of a major mineral deposit can result in the rapid expansion of an exploration business since they will have access to capital for future development projects.
Most exploration companies in the field are medium to small-sized companies, with under $10 million in yearly revenues. They are mostly privately owned and do not trade shares on an exchange. The information about them is therefore more difficult to access as compared to other kinds of corporations. However, there are a few publically traded exploration firms.
Since it only begins production when new projects are identified and launched, the mineral exploration industry is a niche in the economy. Therefore, unlike traditional service or manufacturing industries which produce their goods in a continuous manner minerals companies create their goods in spurts.
Due to the nature of the industry, the profits of exploration companies are extremely susceptible to price fluctuations for commodities. Due to factors such as Chinese economic growth, weather patterns that can affect yields of crops, and the requirement for petroleum products to transport, commodities prices can be volatile throughout the year.
Due to the wide range of fluctuations in commodity prices, revenue for exploration companies can vary considerably from year-to-year.
Exploration companies typically have a hard time raising capital during peak demand times for natural resources. They’re not only limited in their revenues but also have significant expenses. Venture capital is much more likely in these periods, which can aid in keeping exploration companies in business even as commodity prices increase.
Because of the nature of the industry the majority of exploration companies aren’t publicly traded.
Mineral Exploration is closely linked with other resource-based sectors like oil & gas production, mining coal, and metals mining. The majority of companies involved in mineral exploration also operate other resources.
Diversification of businesses can help them reduce their exposure to the fluctuation of commodity prices because they aren’t dependent on just one kind of resource. The distinction between minerals is usually made by speculative grade and inferred resources. This means there has not been any drilling.
A majority of companies need to perform additional exploration to convert speculative grade or inferred resources into measured and indicated reserves or resources and reserves, both of which are essential for mining operations. These types of work are typically done by junior exploration firms which specialize in early stage mineral exploration.
The extraction of mineral resources is a major capital expense upfront which are extremely uncertain for exploration companies as they cannot be sure to find valuable minerals. After an ore body has been identified an exploration company could spend large sums of money on pre-production expenses such as designing the mine, and buying longer-term resources for production.
The costs of early development have to be weighed against future earnings since it can take many years before the mineral resource can be developed into an operating mine. This cycle of investment has led to many companies conduct some or all of their exploration efforts in joint ventures , often with other firms that have the financial clout to carry costly projects through production. Junior exploration companies have the advantage of being focused on early-stage mineral exploration , and also partner with larger players that can finance development activities later on.
The success of mineral exploration firms typically depends on their ability to raise new capital or secure project financing from large mining companies and/or financial institutions. This source of capital is crucial for junior exploration companies because it could provide the money needed to take a project into the beginning stages of exploration and development.
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If an economically viable ore body is discovered , and production costs are able to be fully paid for, there is likely to be an initial public offering or sale of shares to raise capital for the development of an underground mine. If the company’s shares do not trade on stock exchanges, it could become bankrupt or bought by a firm who is more interested in exploration of mineral resources.
High-grade copper deposits are one of the most sought-after minerals in mining due to their ability to yield high returns from tiny amounts of ore. Copper is usually extracted from deposits of high-quality but low-grade with only 0.3 to 0.7 percent copper metal weight.
Mining companies may be classified as junior exploration companies or larger mining companies. They differ in the sense that the latter focus on capital-intensive, large projects with resources with proven and reliable reserves (e.g. production of bauxite as well as production of alumina), while those of the latter concentrate on exploration activities as well as high-risk resources (e.g. diamonds and gold).