BHP's Xplor program brings an accelerator to mining - providing funding, expertise and connections to exploration startups for ideas and new...
The Secret to Mineral Discovery? Working Together.
BHP Xplor found that embracing partnership and sharing data with industry competitors enabled significant advancement of mineral exploration projects.
In this episode of On the Rocks, we are joined by Libby Sharman, BHP Xplor Technical Lead, and Samuel Robb, Vice President of Bronzite Exploration Corp.! Dig into how the BHP Xplor program is transforming mineral exploration through its unique accelerator model, collaboration, and new approaches.
Bronzite Exploration was part of the inaugural cohort of the BHP Xplor program. Sam and Libby provide valuable insights into how the program helped advance exploration companies, and how this might signal positive changes underway in the sector.
Fostering Collaboration in the Exploration Industry
Historically, junior exploration companies have been wary of sharing too much information, both with other explorers and with major mining corporations, fearing their ideas or districts might be taken. However, the BHP Xplor program fostered openness and collaboration between the cohort companies.
Despite being competitors, the members of the cohort were willing to discuss challenges and exchange knowledge.
"There is this degree of openness that [BHP] Xplor fostered, which is not very common in the Juniors industry, but it's extremely helpful." Sam noted.
This helped dispel misconceptions about major miners always wanting to scoop up explorers. Libby explained that BHP aims to create partnerships, not conflict. The key is communicating early and recognizing everyone ultimately wants to see new discoveries being made.
Importance of ESG & Community Engagement
Another area where BHP Xplor had significant impact was emphasizing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors in exploration. The program framed ESG issues like community engagement as non-technical risks that can make or break projects regardless of geology.
Promoting community engagement and public education in the early stages of mineral exploration could drastically change the outcome of a project. Libby points out that building trust and understanding local priorities is crucial.
Changes Underway in the Exploration Industry
BHP Xplor exemplifies positive changes that are happening all around the mining industry, especially in mineral exploration. There is greater recognition that including diverse perspectives makes for better science and business. The old models of operating in secrecy and isolation are slowly transitioning!
"I hope we're changing the way people think about how to do exploration," Libby says. Judging by the success of the previous BHP Xplor cohort, it seems that change is already underway!
BHP Xplor sets an optimistic tone for the future of responsible and innovative mineral exploration. With industry leaders like these paving the way, the prospects look bright!
So How Can You Learn More or Apply?
If you have an exciting exploration opportunity and are ready to fast-track your path to discovery, BHP Xplor wants to hear from you! You can click here to learn more about the program, or click here to apply!
This episode of On the Rocks has been brought to you in partnership with BHP Xplor.