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exploration guide australia article

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    New survey identifies best mineral explorers
    MELBOURNE, 23 JUNE 2011 - A new survey of Australia�s mineral explorers identifies the companies that have most improved their chances of making discoveries.
    Some of the main findings of the new survey were released today by its creator, David Upton, who is also the author of The Olympic Dam Story.
    �Exploration is the foundation of Australia�s resource wealth, but there is little information available to provide a clear picture of how individual companies are performing at the business of exploration,� Upton said.
    �One reason for this could be that mineral exploration is made up of various parts of science, business, art and luck. There cannot be a set of benchmarks or KPIs that infallibly point the way to exploration success.
    �But in researching and writing The Olympic Dam Story, it was possible to find measurable factors that improved the odds of success for Western Mining, which discovered the super-giant copper, uranium and gold deposit in 1976.�
    He said Olympic Dam was the culmination of a 20-year search for copper and one of many spectacular products of the WMC�s Exploration Division over several decades.
    �Western Mining stood head and shoulders above its peers. This was openly acknowledged in the mid-70s when Rio Tinto hired McKinsey & Co. to uncover the secrets behind Western Mining�s astonishing track record of mineral discovery.
    �In fact, the formula for success was straightforward � spend big and keep on spending, seek out the best science and keep faith in it, and create a highly motivated, multi-disciplinary exploration team. This provides a sound framework for the analysis of the efforts of modern explorers in the first annual Exploration Guide Australia.�
    Upton said the Guide does not pretend to be able to name the company that will make the next great mineral discovery.
    �This is impossible to predict in a business where intuition and luck continue to play such an important role, despite all the science of the 21st century. However, it does identify the companies that are committed to the hard slog of mineral exploration and are investing in the people and practices that improve their chance of discovery.
    �In a business where the odds of success are rarely better than 100 to one, the companies that improve their odds are worth finding and following.�
    Exploration Guide Australia surveys all ASX-listed companies in the business of mineral exploration for at least five years, excluding coal companies. From this starting point of more than 300 companies, the group is segmented into explorers with either a greenfields or brownfields focus.

    Each company is rated out of a maximum of 100 points. Almost half of the available points are based on five-year exploration spend up to the end of the latest financial year, while the balance is a combination of the structure of the company board, qualifications of directors, track record, exploration strategy and innovation.

    The 10 explorers best managed for discovery success
    (Greenfields focus, market cap of < $100 million)

    �Minotaur Exploration is a clear leader. It�s one of the biggest spenders on mineral exploration, despite its relatively low market capitalisation. It came out ahead of even bigger spenders because of its geoscientist-dominated board, helped by the discovery track record of chairman Derek Carter and director Tony Belperio.�
    Upton said some of the other companies in the top 10 list would surprise investors.
    �Companies such as Maximus Resources, Red Metal and Breakaway Resources have low market caps and are clearly not on the radar of many investors. But they have all the ingredients that create the best chance of mineral discovery.�
    Upton said one of the clear messages from the survey was the need to plan, conduct and invest in mineral exploration with a long-term view.
    �When it happens, exploration success typically comes after many years of effort, and after more than a few failures. It�s easy to lose faith, but thankfully there are real explorers who understand what is required and keep on going. Investor support for these people comes and goes. That�s an opportunity if you are an investor, and a challenge if you are a mineral explorer that continually needs to raise funds.�

    For more information, contact:
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