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Nevada mineral and energy resource exploration survey 2019/2020
NV exploration survey 2020

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Product Code: ES2020

Title: Nevada mineral and energy resource exploration survey 2019/2020

Author: John L. Muntean
Year: 2021
Series: Exploration Survey ES-2020
Version: previously issued as "Nevada Exploration Survey" by Nevada Division of Minerals; fourth issue of the new NBMG series "Exploration Survey"
Format: 16 pages, color

The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) carried out its biennial online survey of companies exploring for new metal, industrial mineral, geothermal, and hydrocarbon resources in Nevada. The Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources and the Nevada Division of Minerals supported the survey. The impact of mineral and energy production on the Nevada economy is well known. However, the impacts of exploration activities in Nevada, which focus on discovering new resources for future mines and energy extraction, is poorly understood due to limited data. A goal of the survey was to gather data to better assess the impact of exploration on Nevada’s economy. The survey’s focus was to collect data on company expenditures in Nevada and the number of employees involved in exploration in 2019, as well as projections for 2020. The survey also requested companies to break down their expenditures by category, as well as to rate the relative impact of various factors on their exploration programs. NBMG initially requested surveys from 299 companies, of which 186 explore for precious metals (gold and silver), 7 for base metals (mainly copper), 43 for energy metals (mainly lithium), 29 for industrial minerals, 10 for geothermal energy, and 18 for oil and gas. Of those companies, 52 completed the survey, for a response rate of 17%. Additionally, NBMG researched company websites to gather expenditure data for 19 companies that did not respond to the survey. The results presented in the report are only for the 52 companies that completed the survey and the 19 companies we researched for expenditure data.

The results regarding expenditures and number of employees showed:
  • A minimum of $260,605,645 was spent on exploration in Nevada in 2019. Exploration for precious metals accounted for 63% of the expenditures.
  • Projected expenditures for 2020 were at least $398,700,719.
  • Companies directly employed a minimum of 599 people in 2019 to carry out exploration in Nevada. The number of employees in 2020 was projected to increase by 18.9% to 712.
The breakdown of the 2019 expenditures shows:
  • 41% of the expenditures on actual exploration (mainly drilling), 39% on land (e.g., claim fees, lease payments), 11% on corporate overhead costs, and 8% on permitting costs.
  • 32% of the expenditures on exploration aimed at expanding existing mines, fields, or resources. The remaining 68% was spent on grassroots exploration away from existing operations or resources. On a cumulative cash basis, respondents indicated 58% of their 2019 exploration expenditures went toward research expansions and 42% went toward grassroots exploration.
Responses to factors that impact exploration show:
  • Nevada’s favorable geology, access to public lands, and potential for new discoveries are the most important factors that attract companies to explore in Nevada.
  • The time and cost of permitting, claim fees and cost of leases, and uncertainty over U.S. Mining Law reform are the most negative impacting factors.

Exploration survey 2019/2020 flyer:

View previous surveys here:

Suggested citation:
Muntean, J.L., 2021, Nevada mineral and energy resource exploration survey 2019/2020: Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology Exploration Survey ES-2020, 16 p.

© Copyright 2021 The University of Nevada, Reno. All Rights Reserved.

Original Product Code: ES2020

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