TNM Data Miner: Annual trends in global drilling activity

A core sample extracted from Cascabel gold-copper project. Credit: SolGold.A core sample extracted from Cascabel gold-copper project. Credit: SolGold.

The Northern Miner has tapped the powerful Intelligence Mine database to explore trends in global mineral drilling activity over the past year. The data set covers nearly 60,000 diamond and reverse-circulation mineralized intercepts totaling over 700,000 metres. In other words, the data considers how much gold, copper, silver, etc. was cut last year in total meterage.

The parametres were limited to companies with public filings on London and North American stock exchanges. The activity involves 318 reporting companies working on nearly 400 distinct properties worldwide. Data runs from January 1, 2016, through April 27, 2017.

The analysis has been framed within three data boards that chart the relationships between location, commodity and raw drill volume. The graphics include filters that allow the user to sort the data according to a variety of variables to identify specific trends of interest (e.g. metres allocated to gold exploration in British Columbia).

Please note, these statistics are not exhaustive, but instead represent a material sample size to capture activity trends. If a single drill intercept contains multiple mineral classifications (e.g. copper and gold), it was treated as two distinct intervals for purposes of the study to allow for the isolation of commodities. The research did not consider mineral grades.

Figure 1 involves a geographical analysis of the metre volumes by state/province/district. The size of the circles denotes the raw volume of drilling per jurisdiction, while the colours denote country grouping.

Most Active Jursidictions
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Figure 2 will take a closer look at commodity distributions for drill activity, as well as the ratio of diamond to reverse-circulation reporting.

Activity was dominated by copper and gold, which jointly accounted for nearly 460,000 metres, or 65% of reported drill intercepts. The most active project status was “Advanced Exploration” with 292,000 metres, which denotes the project has an established mineral discovery. Earlier stage, or greenfield, projects were far less active with a total of 55,000 metres. Companies working on preliminary economic assessments (PEA) were also busy with 108,000 metres.

Canada was the busiest jurisdiction for “Exploration” projects with 19,000 metres of diamond drilling.

Figure 3 is a Sankey diagram that visually captures the interplay between commodity, raw drill volume and geographic place. The lines denote drill meterage flowing from commodities to countries. By limiting the variables with the filters, users can visualize the metres at the drill bit and where they are located.


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