There is an old adage in the mining business that “the best place to find a gold mine is next to another gold mine.” A variation on that theme might be: “the best place to find a gold mine is to follow the Explorers’ League.”
A look at activity in the junior mining sector shows that top explorationists are converging on Argentina. This is not coincidence. To put it simply, Argentina is a gold mine waiting to happen; owing largely to unfavorable politics, the country has seen disproportionately little exploration over the past 60 years compared with nearby, and geologically-similar, nations like Chile and Peru. But in the 1990s, Argentinean mining code underwent a major reformation – unifying royalty structures and simplifying laws – significantly improving the country’s investment climate.
The result being that a large swath of mineral greenfields have become available for exploration, and several leading companies have moved quickly to capitalize on the opportunity. Just this month, Hidefield Gold, run by Explorers’ League honoree John Prochnau, announced that the company has signed an agreement to acquire interests in 16 exploration properties in southern Argentina’s Patagonia region. Hidefield notes that the region is “under-explored relative to other major gold regions of the world and consequently offers exceptional opportunity for an important new discovery.”
Also active in Argentina is Adolph Lundin, serially-successful minefinder and another Explorers’ League honoree. Through his Tenke Mining (T.TNK), Lundin has amassed over 1.1 million hectares of prospective gold and base metals properties throughout the country. Just this week, Tenke announced the acquisition of a controlling interest in the Paramillos Project in Mendoza Province, a package of properties that were extensively investigated by the United Nations in the 1960s, yielding promising results including an estimated average copper grade of 0.58 percent. Since the completion of this work, however, the property has been tied up in legal disputes, with the local government only recently granting ownership to an Argentinean company, Minera del Oeste. Seizing the opportunity, Adolph immediately approached the firm and purchased the lion’s share of this drill-ready prospect.
Nearby, another “X-Leaguer”, Ross Beaty, Chairman of Pan American Silver (T.PAA) and Lumina Copper (T.LCC) is also developing a big find. Beaty’s Lumina Copper has acquired the San Jorge property, a promising copper play, which carries a historical resource estimate of 361 million tonnes copper and gold ore. And just last week, the company exercised an option to purchase the Taca Taca porphyry copper-gold deposit in northwestern Argentina. In fact, Lumina is spinning out an entirely new company, Global Copper Corp., to handle the Argentinean properties.
With this region shaping up as one of the world’s most interesting new area plays, it’s no wonder that some of the industry’s most successful explorers are moving in, ahead of the crowd. Keep watching for more news from this exploration hotspot.
[Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the weekly dispatch from KitcoCasey’s Explorers’ League, a new membership organization dedicated to following the latest moves by the world’s serially-successful explorers and resource professionals. For a limited time, membership is free… don’t miss out.