Survey of metal values in the ground, 1987-2004

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 1, No. 4, 2006
H. Agnerian
The file is a zipped PDF document.A survey has been carried out on 925 mineral property transactions worldwide, from 1987 to 2004. These mineral properties include 457 gold properties, 322 base metal properties, and five platinum-group element (PGE) properties. Some 40% of the total number of transactions were for mineral properties in Canada. These are only a small part of the total number of transactions (more than 8,000) that have been reported during this 18-year period, the majority of which were for early- to intermediate-stage mineral exploration properties, with no reported mineral resources.    The value of metals in the ground is based on the transactions of mineral properties with reported mineral resources. In general, these are advanced exploration properties with considerable drilling. For the majority of the mineral properties, the mineral resources are not classified in accordance with the CIM Reserve/Resource Definitions. Nevertheless, the reported tonnes and average grades are accepted at face value, regardless of their classification.All metal values are expressed in Canadian dollars at the time of the transaction of the mineral property, and they are not converted to current dollars (or cents). For the sake of consistency with other publications, the quoted gold price is expressed as US$/oz Au.Results of this survey indicate that:

In general, unit metal values in the ground (e.g. $/oz Au or $/lb Cu) have kept pace with the changes in the respective metal prices during the period of the survey.
A general decrease in unit gold values has occurred from about $57/oz Au in 1987 to about $11/oz Au in 2002 for Canadian mineral properties, with the exception of a peak of $58/oz Au in 1996.
A similar trend for mineral properties has occurred in the United States, but with lower unit values, in the range of $1/oz Au to $10/oz Au during the last three years of the survey.
Unit metal values for gold properties in Canada were higher than for those in the rest of the world.
Gold values in the ground in the world have ranged from 2% to 13.5% (with an average of approximately 10%) of the gold price.
Gold values in the ground in Canada have ranged from 6% to 14% (also with an average of approximately 10%) of the gold price.
Unit metal values for copper properties in Canada were in the mid-range compared with other countries in the rest of the world; the United States and Australia were higher and Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe were lower than in Canada.
Unit metal values for zinc properties in Canada were also in the mid-range compared with other countries in the rest of the world; Latin America and Europe were higher and the United States, Australia, and Asia were lower than in Canada.
Unit metal values for nickel properties in Canada were highest compared with other countries in the rest of the world, followed by the United States, Australia, Africa, and Asia.
The unit values of base metals in the ground have been in the order of 2% of the quoted metal price, during the period of the survey
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