Weekly Nugget

PDAC 2024 Recap

We're digging into our key takeaways from #PDAC2024, the latest industry news, and social trends.

🗨  PDAC 2024 Recap

Last week, the Prospector team attended PDAC 2024, along with almost 27,000 other attendees! This year's conference not only highlighted the unyielding optimism of the mining industry but also showcased the significant strides being made in the realms of technology and AI within mineral exploration. Despite the evident challenges—from the need for skilled AI practitioners to the complexity of integrating new technologies seamlessly—there was a palpable excitement about the potential for AI to revolutionize the way we explore and mine.

Critical minerals, unsurprisingly, remained at the forefront of discussion. Yet, amidst this technological forward march, the conference also reminded us of the sector's foundational issues, including the need for sustainable practices, better communication about our industry, and meaningful collaboration with Indigenous communities. As we reflect on PDAC 2024, it's clear that while the mining sector is on the cusp of a technological revolution, the journey ahead requires a balanced approach that honors both innovation and tradition.

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📰 In The News


PDAC 2024: Some Juniors Must Die So Others May Live, Panel Says

At the PDAC 2024, experts highlighted the decline of Canada's junior mining sector, attributing it to governmental policies affecting the middle class and acquisitions by multinationals. The sector's downfall, marked by the disappearance of large miners like Falconbridge and Inco by 2007, has been exacerbated by poor performance, high interest rates, and the vanishing of retail investors due to high taxes. The panel discussed the saturation of juniors competing for funding and the need for some to cease operations to allow promising companies to thrive. Retail investors' role has diminished, with a significant portion being over 80 years old, underscoring the challenge of securing financing for junior miners. The discussion also touched on diversifying funding sources beyond public markets, with successful companies often led by experienced teams and possessing high-quality deposits. Comparatively, Australia's mining sector remains robust, attributed to pension fund investments and more predictable permitting timelines, highlighting a stark contrast with Canada's approach to supporting its mining industry. 

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Ecuadorian Government Releases Controversial Prior Consultation Manual

Ecuador's Energy and Mines ministry has unveiled new regulations for Indigenous consultation on resource development, raising concerns among environmental and Indigenous groups. The procedures manual, released following President Daniel Noboa's visit to Canada, outlines the approval processes for natural resource projects near vulnerable and Indigenous communities, stating that consultations may modify projects but their outcomes are not binding on government decisions. This provision has sparked criticism from the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of the Ecuadorian Amazon, which argues the manual disregards rights protected by organic law, viewing it as a facilitation of the extractive industry's interests over democratic controls. The government defends the manual, citing its alignment with the Constitutional Court's statements and international labor standards, amidst divided Indigenous opinions on projects like Solaris Resources' Warintza.

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High Hopes, Or Hype, For Rare Earth Mining In Wyoming?

Wyoming is poised to become a significant player in the rare earth element mining industry, buoyed by one of North America's largest high-concentration deposits and growing demand for these materials essential for modern technologies. The Bear Lodge deposit near Sundance is highlighted as a prime candidate for commercial-scale production, with Rare Element Resources planning a processing plant backed by federal and state grants. Meanwhile, other companies like American Rare Earths and Ramaco Resources explore potential deposits in the state, with Ramaco announcing a significant rare earth oxide potential at its Brook coal mine. These developments signal a potential billion-dollar industry for Wyoming, offering a new direction for its traditional energy sector amidst challenges such as commercial viability and regulatory hurdles for mining and processing rare earth elements, which are crucial for high-tech and renewable energy applications.

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Pros & Cons Of AI At Agnico, Kinross, And Iamgold

At the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s annual convention, executives from Canada's leading gold mining companies discussed the transformative impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the industry, highlighting its potential to revolutionize mining operations through data analysis and autonomous technologies. Despite AI's ability to suggest optimal drill sites and improve haulage efficiency, challenges such as data validation, security, stock market compliance, and the need for skilled programmers persist. Furthermore, the implementation of AI technology could impact employment in mining-reliant communities. Companies like Agnico Eagle Mines and Kinross Gold are exploring AI's benefits for production and geochemical analysis, respectively, while addressing the skills shortage in the sector. The industry also faces broader issues, including labor shortages and the necessity of attracting new talent to mining through education and awareness efforts, underscoring the complex balance between technological advancement and workforce development in mining.

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Mining Has Long Way To Go On Addressing DEI Issue

As International Women's Day focuses attention on gender diversity, the mining industry faces scrutiny for its lack of opportunities and progression for women. McKinsey data reveals that a significant portion of women leave the industry due to insufficient growth opportunities, with women representing only 17.6% of mining boardrooms. The global mining workforce comprises just 12% women, a figure echoed by the fluctuating proportion of female mining engineering graduates in North America. The Pembina Institute's report, 'Canada's Energy-Fuelled Gender Gap,' highlights the mining sector as particularly inequitable, contributing significantly to the national wage gap, with women making up a mere 16% of the mining workforce. Despite these challenges, Danielle Martin of the International Council on Mining and Metals highlights efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion within the industry, pointing to a collective commitment by ICMM members to enhance workplace experiences.

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⚒️ Mining Data Digest Snapshot

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Ishkoday Gold Project

Company: Laurion Mineral Exploration Inc.

Geography: Canada

Minerals: Gold

Date: 02/15/2024

View On Prospector


The Ishkoday Property, managed by Laurion Mineral Exploration Inc., is positioned 220 km north-northeast of Thunder Bay, Ontario, within the Beardmore-Geraldton Gold Camp area. Historical operations, including the Sturgeon River and Brenbar Mines, have demonstrated the area's capacity for gold and silver production, with significant past yields recorded from narrow, high-grade quartz veins. Laurion has undertaken extensive exploration since 2008, employing modern techniques such as polarization and magnetic surveys, trenching, channel sampling, and diamond drilling, totaling over 44,000 meters to date. The exploration work has focused on delineating the polymetallic and orogenic gold systems present, with previous estimates indicating resources in the mine stockpile and tailings. The 2023 exploration activities and the potential 2024 program aim to further assess and expand upon these findings, with a projected budget of C$2.88 million for continued exploration efforts, including drilling and 3D modeling, to evaluate the property's mineral potential fully.

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