• 15 mins PDVSA Booted From Caribbean Terminal Over Unpaid Bills
  • 2 hours Russia Warns Ukraine Against Recovering Oil Off The Coast Of Crimea
  • 4 hours Syrian Rebels Relinquish Control Of Major Gas Field
  • 5 hours Schlumberger Warns Of Moderating Investment In North America
  • 6 hours Oil Prices Set For Weekly Loss As Profit Taking Trumps Mideast Tensions
  • 7 hours Energy Regulators Look To Guard Grid From Cyberattacks
  • 9 hours Mexico Says OPEC Has Not Approached It For Deal Extension
  • 10 hours New Video Game Targets Oil Infrastructure
  • 12 hours Shell Restarts Bonny Light Exports
  • 13 hours Russia’s Rosneft To Take Majority In Kurdish Oil Pipeline
  • 19 hours Iraq Struggles To Replace Damaged Kirkuk Equipment As Output Falls
  • 1 day British Utility Companies Brace For Major Reforms
  • 1 day Montenegro A ‘Sweet Spot’ Of Untapped Oil, Gas In The Adriatic
  • 1 day Rosneft CEO: Rising U.S. Shale A Downside Risk To Oil Prices
  • 1 day Brazil Could Invite More Bids For Unsold Pre-Salt Oil Blocks
  • 1 day OPEC/Non-OPEC Seek Consensus On Deal Before Nov Summit
  • 1 day London Stock Exchange Boss Defends Push To Win Aramco IPO
  • 1 day Rosneft Signs $400M Deal With Kurdistan
  • 2 days Kinder Morgan Warns About Trans Mountain Delays
  • 2 days India, China, U.S., Complain Of Venezuelan Crude Oil Quality Issues
  • 2 days Kurdish Kirkuk-Ceyhan Crude Oil Flows Plunge To 225,000 Bpd
  • 2 days Russia, Saudis Team Up To Boost Fracking Tech
  • 2 days Conflicting News Spurs Doubt On Aramco IPO
  • 2 days Exxon Starts Production At New Refinery In Texas
  • 3 days Iraq Asks BP To Redevelop Kirkuk Oil Fields
  • 3 days Oil Prices Rise After U.S. API Reports Strong Crude Inventory Draw
  • 3 days Oil Gains Spur Growth In Canada’s Oil Cities
  • 3 days China To Take 5% Of Rosneft’s Output In New Deal
  • 3 days UAE Oil Giant Seeks Partnership For Possible IPO
  • 3 days Planting Trees Could Cut Emissions As Much As Quitting Oil
  • 3 days VW Fails To Secure Critical Commodity For EVs
  • 3 days Enbridge Pipeline Expansion Finally Approved
  • 3 days Iraqi Forces Seize Control Of North Oil Co Fields In Kirkuk
  • 4 days OPEC Oil Deal Compliance Falls To 86%
  • 4 days U.S. Oil Production To Increase in November As Rig Count Falls
  • 4 days Gazprom Neft Unhappy With OPEC-Russia Production Cut Deal
  • 4 days Disputed Venezuelan Vote Could Lead To More Sanctions, Clashes
  • 4 days EU Urges U.S. Congress To Protect Iran Nuclear Deal
  • 4 days Oil Rig Explosion In Louisiana Leaves 7 Injured, 1 Still Missing
  • 5 days Aramco Says No Plans To Shelve IPO
Alt Text

Busting The Lithium Bubble Myth

Lithium demand continues to grow…

Alt Text

World’s Biggest Miner Prepares For The EV Boom

The world’s top mining company…

How the Lizard Brain Kills Exploration Projects

How the Lizard Brain Kills Exploration Projects

Exploration is a complex business. Ore bodies are almost never straight-forward. And in most cases the only information the exploration team has about these complex structures is gained from pencil-thin (relatively speaking) drill cores. The rest of the interpretation has to be supposed from this tiny bit of info. Billions of dollars ride on this work.

During the course of a drilling program, the working deposit model often changes ten, twenty or a hundred times. On our project, we were coming up with geological surprises (some pleasant, some disappointing) almost daily.

This means you have to think on the fly. One new piece of information might totally invalidate the strategy you were using yesterday. And yet, there are four drill rigs turning on site. There's very little time to stop and consider the next move.

Too often, companies in this environment behave like clerks at the store. Any glitch or change in plans sends them into mental lock-down. We can't possibly change. We don't usually do that.

Seth Godin calls this "the lizard brain". The most ancient part of our cerebral system. The one that's optimized for survival alone. And the best way to survive is by not taking risks, not doing anything out of the ordinary that might expose us to failure. The lizard brain wants to maintain the status quo because it's safe (even if it's completely useless).

The lizard brain manifests in exploration all the time. When faced with challenging new information, an exploration team chooses to ignore it. They simply keep doing what they were doing. Continuing with the old model. Even though it's obviously wrong now.

Adapting to incoming information during an exploration program is frightening to the lizard brain. A lot of the time, it's unclear what the next move should be (except that there should be a next move, different from the last one). You have to try something, and by trying you might fail.

The interesting thing is, failing often isn't that bad. At least, failing in small ways.

Often, when you make an attempt (even a relatively wild one), it yields interesting new information. It may not be the result you expected. In fact, the outcome may have very little to do with your original working theory. But at least something new has emerged about the project. And that something new often leads you to the next step in the process, be it printing or finding a mine.

The trick is to know when a project still has enough legs it's worth spending time, energy and money to keep the machine moving forward. Could you crack this deposit open with metallurgical testing? Engineering design? Coarse gold sampling analysis and Gy's theory? Geophysics? Thin section work? Drilling at a different angle? In a different location?

At some point, options are exhausted and a project needs to be abandoned. But it's critical to properly assess the "walk-away" point. Making sure you've done everything you could do. Most major deposits are worked by at least three different companies before the discovery is finally made. Meaning the first two groups gave up too soon.

Especially, it's critical to make sure you're not spending millions doing work you knew six months ago was the wrong approach, but were too scared to change. Know which part of your brain is running the program.

By. Dave Forest of Notela Resources




Back to homepage


Leave a comment

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News