First, a bit on my own
background, to provide you a frame of reference from which
to assess my counter-comments to Mr. Brent Cook’s
article entitled “Beware of Geologists”. I am
a geologist with a Masters in Business Administration and
am President of a junior mining company. I have spent over
20 years in mineral exploration from the icy shores of the
Arctic Ocean to the steamy jungles of South America and
Africa. I have worked for major mining companies and for
juniors. I have held positions as a geologist, project geologist,
senior geologist, chief geologist, vice-president of exploration
and now serve as President.
I have a much higher opinion of geologists
than Mr. Cook apparently does. A Professional Geoscientist
designation is earned by Canadian geologists who must meet
strict standards of scientific education, hands on experience
and professional ethics. Every time a geologist gives an
opinion on an exploration project he or she puts his or
her career and professional standing on the line.
Geologists combine some of the best attributes
of human nature: the dedication to science and learning,
the love of the physical challenges of working in the great
outdoors, the ability to adapt to new cultures, the accommodation
to co-exist amicably in isolation in small groups for extended
periods of time and the versatility to be at ease whether
in the board room or on an Andean mountain top. I have rarely
encountered a geologist who deliberately misleads another
person. Actually, I have found they tend to be overly trusting
of other people.
Geology is an applied science. As such both
science and interpretation are involved. A geologist gathers
facts to guide him or her as to whether or not an area is
worthy of exploration. A preliminary exploration program
is carried out with a relatively minimal expenditure. Successive
steps involving higher levels of expenditure are only carried
out if the preceding step provides justification. After
a series of successful exploration steps and increasing
levels of expenditures a producing mine may be realized.
I would like to believe that Mr. Cook confuses
the geological or exploration function with promotion. A
geologist evaluates the potential of an exploration property
to host economic mineralization at a given stage of exploration
involving a set budget. A promoter is interested in raising
funds and increasing the value of a company’s share
price. These noble goals can be in direct opposition to
the facts generated by the geologist. A high grade grab
sample is touted by the promoter even though the sample
may come from too small a target to ever become a mine.
Proximity to a head frame is promoted even though the geology
may be all wrong. Area plays with insignificant mineral
concentrations may be funded because of proximity to new
discoveries. Drills can be rushed onto properties to attract
investors before preliminary work can select proper targets.
New exploration methods are touted as the shortcut to finding
ore deposits but these new tools may be widely applied to
inappropriate targets. Investors flock to the most highly
marketed stock plays and/or to the ones with the most drills
turning without regard for the potential economics of the
mineralization. Liquidity (high share dilution) may be favoured
in the market place over potential share value.
The result of the foregoing is that exploration
investment does not always flow to the best exploration
projects. This is a major reason why the exploration success
rate is so low. The exploration geoscientist merely executes
the exploration program, ensures the integrity of the results
and makes recommendations as to further work on the property.
To lay blame for poor exploration success on the doorstep
of geologists is to blame the arrow for the aim of the archer.
E. Grayme Anthony P. Geo., F. G. A.
C., M. B. A.
December 20, 2004.