After a few slow and stagnant years, exploration activity in the mining sector is heating up — and that’s good news for companies that support mining and exploration activity in Nevada.
The turn started in the second half of 2016 and has continued throughout 2017, said Jeff Olson, chief executive officer and president of drilling services contractor Boart Longyear. Exploration activity spiked on the strength of modest increases and stability in the price of copper and gold.
The yellow metal last week was hovering around $1,200 an ounce, while copper was at $2.66 a pound. Gold is well off its high of $1,889 an ounce in 2011, but its current price reflects greater stability for the commodity — and signals mining companies that it’s safe to ramp up exploration activity. Exploration stagnated the past few years as the commodity tumbled and eroded investor confidence.
That stability and slight increase in price from a low of $1,050 at the end of 2015 has mining companies once again engaging the services of drill rig operators.
“We continue to see positive signs in the market, including elevated prices for gold, copper and other key commodities,” Boart Longyear’s Olson said in a May market report. “Equity raisings for junior mining companies improved notably in the second half of 2016 and all of this is contributing to increasing levels of drilling.”
And that’s a good thing for Elko-area companies that service the mining industry. Ben Reeves, operations manager for Elko Wire Rope, said exploration activity in northern Nevada has come back around in full force — he’s even added an employee to round out his staff of 12.
“We are seeing quite a bit (of…
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