Can you provide an overview of the NMEC's mission and goals?
The NMEC is a non-profit, non-partisan advocacy group, whose mission is to preserve and promote Nevada’s mineral exploration industry. The NMEC monitors legislative and regulatory issues at all levels of government including federal, state and local. Our actions include such things as testifying to committees, submitting written comments, and meeting with legislators and regulators to educate them about mineral exploration. Where possible the NMEC cooperates closely with larger organization such as the Nevada Mining Association as well as other stakeholders. Our promotional activities include highlighting our members companies and projects at different events such as PDAC, AME Roundup and the AEMA Convention. We also promote Nevada as a premier mineral exploration jurisdiction at all of these events. Today, we have about 175 members which include small businesses and individuals engaged in, or in support of, mineral exploration and development activities in the state.
What do you think of the current regulatory framework for exploration companies in Nevada?
Nevada has a sound regulatory framework for mineral exploration which compares favorably to that of most other jurisdictions. The time and cost to obtain exploration or operating permits are favorable as well. Our State has better reclamation rules and structure than many other jurisdictions and mine closure planning is part of the initial permitting process.
Do you think we are experiencing a new exploration boom?
The exploration activity we are currently witnessing in Nevada has already proven itself to be bigger than that of 2008. The number of active junior companies today is considerably higher and there are numerous projects moving forward. Since 2020, a significant amount of money has been raised by exploration companies, and many of them are spending it in Nevada. Also, this is a multiple commodity boom; in addition to gold there are numerous silver, copper and lithium projects underway as well as zinc, vanadium, fluorspar, and other less well-known projects.
Can you provide an idea of the current levels of taxation in Nevada’s mining industry and how this conditions investment attractiveness?
In Nevada, mining specific taxes come into play only when revenues from production are generated and these taxes are fair and reasonable making Nevada one of the world’s premier jurisdictions for investment in mineral exploration.
How do you see the availability of skills and contractors for exploration in Nevada?
The current exploration boom has greatly strained all exploration related services, and it has become incredibly challenging to recruit skilled workers in Nevada. Drill rigs are fully booked, assay labs are buried, and there are many available jobs for geologists as well as all the other specialties involved in mineral exploration. To solve this problem, many companies are paying higher wages, and some of them are even offering sign-on bonuses.
How do you see the exploration segment evolving in the coming years?
Being an optimist, I think exploration will continue to expand over the years with the usual ups and downs. Personally, I believe the current boom will last for several more years, hopefully many more, and if one of the numerous projects currently in the development stage becomes a major discovery, exploration activity will further expand. If this happens, the growth of companies and the expansion of projects will add significantly to the economy of the State and particularly the rural counties where mineral exploration is a major economic contributor.