The mining industry has a long, storied history all over the world. A huge, integral part of the mining process is the mineral exploration process. Deposits of minerals are not usually just stumbled upon, there is a lot of research, statistical analysis, hypothesizing and sampling that takes place before an actual mine is setup and opened.
The biggest obstacle in mineral exploration is securing the funding to allow for proper processing of a potential site. This is especially difficult for Junior Explorers as opposed to Multinational Major Exploration groups. A Junior Explorer is a smaller, mostly independent company whereas Multinational Majors are much larger and sufficiently funded with more people controlling the vested interests and sometimes varying agendas. There are many different pluses and minuses that go along with being a Junior Explorer, but funding is one of the biggest obstacles that it faces.
The Obstacles Facing Junior Explorers
Life is generally uphill from the beginning for a Junior Explorer due to the concerns about securing adequate funding. As much as 80% of new Junior Explorers fail to due money issues stemming mostly from the inability to secure funds. As a result, these types of companies are always tighter with the budget and exploration projects have to be meticulously planned so costly mistakes can be avoided wherever possible. Multinational Majors have a larger cushion of funds to absorb the setbacks whenever they are encountered.
The impact that even the smallest failures and wasted resources can have on a Junior Explorer can be catastrophic. For this reason, these companies thrive on being streamlined and having the most efficient people possible filling the positions within the company. This leads to quicker decision making and a more unified understanding of what is to be accomplished. A major drawback of the Multinational Majors is the time it can take to come to a consensus decision and then move on it. Time is money when it comes to mineral exploration and taking too long to move on a decision can be very costly.
Taking Advantage of the Scraps
One of the major advantages for Junior Explorers is the ability to take on sites that have been abandoned by Multinational Majors. The Majors will leave behind smaller deposits if they don't promise enough of a return in the hopes of finding larger, more sustainable deposits. These smaller deposits can represent significant profits to these smaller companies, especially in the case of rare earth deposits. These rare earth deposits are extremely valuable, but tend to occur more frequently in scattered deposits.
The Junior Explorers tend to exist with more extreme peaks and valleys. Without the huge funding of their Multinational counterparts it can be a constant struggle just to stay in existence. Doing as much research as possible beforehand, using the resources as wisely as possible, a little luck and a scavenger's mentality all help to ensure long-term success in this industry.