Authors: Michael W. Ressel and David A. Davis
Series: Exploration Survey ES-2016
Version: previously issued as “Nevada Exploration Survey” by Nevada Division of Minerals; second issue of the new NBMG series
Format: 16 pages, color
The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) carried out an online survey of companies exploring for new metal, industrial mineral, and geothermal resources in Nevada. The Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources and the Nevada Division of Minerals commissioned and provided partial support for the survey. The impact of mineral and energy production from existing resources on the Nevada economy is well known. However, the impact of exploration activities, which focus on discovering new resources, is poorly understood due to limited data. Exploration activities are burdened with high risk as substantial investments are not guaranteed to result in mineable resources. Indeed, only rarely do exploration programs result in successful resource extraction, and then only after many years of capital investment and development activities. Despite this, exploration success is imperative for the continued well-being and sustainability of natural resource industries in Nevada.
A goal of this survey was to gather data to better assess the impact of exploration on Nevada’s economy. The survey’s focus was to collect data on company expenditures in Nevada and the number of employees involved in exploration in 2015 and 2016. Expenditures were subdivided by various categories and participants were asked to rate the relative importance of external factors on their exploration programs. The survey requested participation from 296 companies presumed to explore for mineral and geothermal resources in the state. Of these, responses from 86 companies were obtained, another 23 responded that they no longer explored in Nevada, and 54 non-responding companies were researched using public domain sources for their 2015 and 2016 Nevada expenditures.
The results verify that Nevada exploration activities were substantially curtailed as a result of the continued global decline in commodity prices since peak activity during 2011–2012, when the last survey was undertaken. Major findings are included in this publication.