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IM September 2022 – Drilling activity recovers slightly from 19-month low

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IM September 2022 – Drilling activity recovers slightly from 19-month low

Drilling activity recovered slightly in August with a total of 341 projects drilled — just 3% more than the 19-month record low of 330 in July. The number of distinct drillholes receded further, however, by 29% to a 20-month low of 4,059. Early-stage and minesite projects drilled declined 8% to 54 and 1% to 136, respectively, month over month. Late-stage projects increased 13% to 151.

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The number of projects drilled was virtually flat with a 3% increase to 341 from 330 in July. Gold projects increased a marginal 2% to 194 from a record low of 191 in July. Minor base metals continued to trend downward for a second consecutive month, declining 29% to five. Among major base metals projects, lead-zinc almost doubled to 22 from 14, copper increased 5% to 46 and nickel fell 6% to 17 projects. Platinum group metals have remained constant for three months at seven projects, and specialty commodities were virtually unchanged month over month with 33 projects reporting.

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Australia remained on top with the most projects drilled in August, despite a 9% decline month over month to 122 projects. Canada closed in with a 30% increase to 82 projects — a recovery from a 20-month record low in July. The U.S. surged 43% to 33 projects.

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The top drill result for August came from TDG Gold Corp.'s Baker gold project in British Columbia, with a 119-meter intersection grading 94.5 grams of gold per tonne. TDG Gold also conducted reassays from a 2021 diamond drill program, which resulted in an 8.9% increase in the project's gold grades.

The second-best result came from Frontier Lithium Inc.'s Pakeagama Lake lithium project in Ontario, with an interception of 1.63% lithium over 357.5 meters. In May, Frontier started a 15,000-meter drill program at Pakeagama Lake that will be part of a pre-feasibility study targeted for completion by 2022-end.

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Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd. reported the most drillholes in August, with a total of 226 scattered across its Canadian gold mines: Macassa, Hope Bay, Canadian Malartic and Detour Lake. The company's drilling activities for the month are for extension purposes, supporting a long-term goal of increasing production in key gold mines.

Astral Resources NL reported the second-highest number of drillholes for the month with 117 at its Mandilla late-stage gold project in Western Australia. The ongoing drilling program aims to increase the project's mineral resource estimate, with an update expected by December.

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This article was published by S&P Global Market Intelligence and not by S&P Global Ratings, which is a separately managed division of S&P Global.

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