Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:20 PM


GODOY, Marcio L.S., MASOTTI, Fabio S. and ARAÚJO, Ivan M.C. P., Exploration and Mineral Projects, Vale, Av. Getulio Vargas, 671, Belo Horizonte, 30112-020, Brazil,

Major companies play an important role in the global mining industry, being responsible for producing and trading a large proportion of the minerals that society consumes. These companies can manage large exploration and project development investments; work in an integrated way with different knowledge areas; maintain their own exploration and technology development teams and have access to large capital pools required to develop world-class deposits. Major companies however face specific challenges when compared to junior companies, including greater social and governmental pressures. Nevertheless, during the last decade, the mining industry returned significant production results. Is this trend sustainable?

New discoveries are scarcer and new exploration technologies will be required to increase discovery rates. In some of the world’s major mining districts the majority of near surface ore deposits have been already discovered. This is a major cause for the decline in the exploration success rate. New deposits near surface will come from remote regions or regions with higher risks, presenting new challenges for development. Discoveries in more mature districts will require advances in technology for exploration. Likewise, technology might unlock existing uneconomic resources, with new ore processing and beneficiation techniques, as well as more efficient mining methods with lower costs and greater mineral resource recovery.

The mining industry is subjected to the cyclic nature of economic, social, environmental and regulatory trends. It is challenging to maintain long term, consistent investment levels during these cycles. These challenges must be surpassed to make future resource supply sustainable. A more stable legislative environment will be required in order to stimulate capital intensive investments in mining and logistics. Training and retaining skilled workforce will represent an important matter, since most exploration and operations occur in remote areas. Mining companies have the key role of developing projects which promote sustainable development for all stakeholders. Government, society and mining companies must work together to clarify the importance and necessity of each other in resourcing future generations.