Mineral and energy exploration survey – new series for NBMG

Nevada mineral and energy resource exploration survey 2011
by John L. Muntean, Larry J. Garside, and David A. Davis


22 pages, free on the Web or $7.00 for a paper copy

This publication is the first of a new NBMG series that reports data on Nevada’s mineral and energy exploration industry.

The previous seventeen reports in the series, entitled “Nevada Exploration Survey,” were conducted and compiled annually by the Nevada Division of Minerals.


The Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology (NBMG) carried out a survey of companies exploring for metals, industrial minerals, geothermal energy, and oil and gas in Nevada.  The Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources and the Nevada Division of Minerals commissioned and funded the survey.  The impact of mineral and energy production on the Nevada economy is fairly well known; however, the impact of exploration 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 focus of the survey was to collect data on expenditures and the number employees involved in exploration in 2011, as well as projections for 2012.  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 contacted 262 companies, of which 186 explore for metals (mainly gold), 33 for industrial minerals, 25 for geothermal energy, and 18 for oil and gas.  Of those companies, 113 filled out the survey, and an additional 53 responded that they were no longer active in Nevada, for a total response rate of 63%.  Additionally, NBMG researched the Internet to gather data on 2011 expenditures for 72 of the 96 companies that did not respond to the survey.


In 2012, NBMG conducted the 18th annual “Nevada Exploration Survey” of companies engaged in exploration projects or holding claims or leases in Nevada. As in previous years, the purpose of this survey was to determine the current and projected levels of exploration activity, and to determine what factors are influencing these levels. The rationale for doing this survey is to provide information to elected officials, government agencies, private companies, and citizens in general, so that they better understand the impact of exploration on the Nevada economy and the factors that influence exploration.

The previous 17 surveys were conducted by the Nevada Division of Minerals (NDOM). For this survey, the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources and NDOM commissioned and funded NBMG to conduct the survey. They charged NBMG with increasing the population size and the response rate of the survey. Also, in addition to companies exploring for metals and industrial minerals, NBMG was asked to send the survey to companies exploring for geothermal energy, as well as oil and gas. The survey form was simplified to emphasize actual expenditures by companies on exploration and the number of people employed by companies in exploration.


The authors and NBMG acknowledge the support of the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources and the Nevada Division of Minerals for funding this survey.  The authors thank Dennis Bryan (Vice-Chairman of the Nevada Commission on Mineral Resources), Alan Coyner (Administrator of the Nevada Division of Minerals), and David Shaddrick (Director of the Nevada Mineral Exploration Coalition) for their input to the design of the survey and for providing lists of companies with contact information.

Click here to read the results of this survey:

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