“There is not much greenfield exploration due to the market’s decreasing appetite for risk. We need to open up new frontiers, because investors have access to a wider range of opportunities, yet they are not taking advantage of the current market.”
What is the focus of the 2019 edition of ProExplo?
This year the event is focused on science and innovation. We will discuss mining exploration in a holistic manner, from the first steps to the economic evaluation of resources. Within this, we will put emphasis on how innovation is being applied to the exploration industry through new methodologies available such as hyperspectral core imaging. Additionally, we will discuss how Big Data and Machine Learning can be applied to the mining industry, and we have invited IBM to present their latest applications for mining. Then, as in previous editions, we will also have an overview of the main exploration projects in Peru and abroad, with speakers from Canada, the United States and other countries.
How are changing trends affecting the training needed by mining professionals?
New technologies require stronger education and a bigger innovation push, yet in Peru there are some limitations in these areas. We need to be aware of the latest trends in training and certifications for geologists. In Peru, we still have not incorporated relevant certifications, while Colombia and Chile already have their own systems. Peruvian geologists that want to be certified have to go abroad, for instance, to become ‘Qualified Persons’ following the Canadian standard. If Peru is going to establish its own standard, we need to define who will design it and implement it.
What is your view of the current exploration cycle?
Exploration is picking up, but this reactivation is different to what we have seen in previous years. Most of the budget is going to brownfield projects; there is not much greenfield exploration due to the market’s decreasing appetite for risk. We need to open up new frontiers, because investors have access to a wider range of opportunities, yet they are not taking advantage of the current market. Without exploration, none of the large mining deposits today in production would exist. This is a global problem: it is likely that we will reach a point of crisis when the industry realizes there are no new deposits due to the lack of exploration and that will trigger the start of a new cycle.
Will technologies improve exploration results?
Today there are sampling technologies that are much more accurate and efficient than before; instead of parts per million, we now talk of parts per billion. We can go much more into detail and find anomalies at larger scales. The more the industry uses advanced technologies, the better the results, and this will also attract the interest of investors.
How should community relations be handled at the exploration stage?
Geologists and other professionals should be sensitive to the on-the-ground reality of the different regions within Peru. When you establish a dialogue as equals characterized by respect and fairness you achieve the most successful relationships. On the other hand, providing only partial or ambiguous information about a project is the worst strategy. Successful projects are born out of trust, and there is no space for opportunistic people to generate conflicts. Indeed, in an honest relationship, the communities themselves will defend the projects that are instrumental for their own economic development.