Gold mining exploration in the Black Hills of South Dakota is a signal that the gold miners are becoming increasingly bullish.
According to the Rapid City Journal, five companies are currently drilling for gold in the mountainous region of the black hills from western South Dakota to Wyoming.
Minneapolis’ F3 Gold is currently assessing the environment, with plans of drilling on Black Hills Forest Service land near Silver City South Dakota, which is approximately 15 miles west of the state’s second-largest city, Rapid City.
“When a down market hits, the exploration sector is the first one to suffer,” said Rob Bergmann, an F3 Gold partner. “When the market comes back up, then the money finally starts funneling down into the exploration sector.” Black Hills has a history of producing gold.
“We look at the Black Hills as actually pretty largely under-explored,” said Nelson Baker, president and CEO of Mineral Mountain Resources in Vancouver, Canada, said. “The potential to find other Homestake-style deposit is definitely real.”
The former Homestake Mine near Lead was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America. It produced 40 million ounces of gold during its 126-year life. It closed and became an underground research facility back in 2002. Homestake dates back to the 1870s, during the gold rush.
Baker’s company is Mineral Mountain. It and other exploratory companies do not mine, choosing to rather sell their research or partner with larger mines.
Not only in North America are miners increasing their exploration efforts. In Chile, mining companies increased their exploration budgets to $645 million USD for 2019.
Mining companies targeted gold in 57% of approximately 300 drilling holes. Copper was targeted in 38% of the holes and silver in 3%.
23 new companies chose to explore for mining opportunities in Chile in 2019. Currently, there are 108 companies with exploration projects underway in Chile. 79 are junior products, 15 are medium-sized, three are Chilean or foreign state-controlled and 11 are none of the above and in the “other” category. 39 reported fieldwork during 2019.
That’s a 14% increase or 2018, representing 93% of total investments. Junior companies, furthermore, increased fieldwork by 22% this year compared to 2018.
S&P global notes that Chile has the fourth largest exploration budget of any nation in the world.
Chile’s Antofagasta Minerals (28%), London-based Anglo American (12%) and state copper company Codelco (9%).
More than US $72 billion is expected to be invested in development of projects in the Chilean mining industry.