NJF Consulting

So, you’ve recently been appointed as an Exploration Manager – or you aspire to become an Exploration Manager. But what exactly does an Exploration Manager do? Where do you start and how do you prioritise?

  • What are the key criteria for exploration success?
  • And how much does luck play a part?
  • Does management really need to be formal? 
  • Why is documentation so important?
  • What makes an exploration company vulnerable? 
  • How do you develop an exploration strategy?
  • How are corporate deals structured?
  • What are the 3 key questions for all mineral exploration?
  • Why does scale matter?
  • How should you explore and why?
  • What should you do (and NOT do) during a drilling programme?
  • What role should you play in estimating a mineral resource?
  • And what about a feasibility study?
  • Why is data management so often neglected?
  • Why must you insist that your team writes technical reports?
  • What does good HR management look like?
  • How do you manage employee performance?
  • And how can you develop your staff – for free? 
  • Do you really have to be involved in administration?
  • Where do you draw the line regarding health and safety management?
  • Which environmental impacts should you mitigate against?
  • How do you engage with the local community?
  • And what do you do when it all goes wrong?

I’ve written a book about Mineral Exploration Management, which attempts to answer all these questions – and more! It’s going to be published by the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) and should be available for purchase very soon. As far as I’m aware there is only one other book like this one: “Management of Mineral Exploration”, by the late Andy White. Andy’s book was spawned out of training courses about managing mineral exploration, delivered on behalf of the Australian Mineral Foundation; it was first published in 1997. A second edition was published in 2009 by the Economic Geology Research Unit (EGRU) at James Cook University, Townsville. Copies are still available from EGRU.

How the book is comprised

My book is split into four parts: Part 1 is an introduction to the mining business and management in general: Chapter 1 sets the scene by providing a brief overview of mineral exploration within the mining industry, with a summary of what are generally considered to be the features of a successful exploration company, and Chapter 2 includes a description of a generic management system, which can be applied to all aspects of the mineral exploration business.

The guts of the book are the six chapters of Part 2, which cover the key areas of the mineral exploration business. Chapters 3 to 5 cover the technical aspects of the business: business development, discovery and evaluation, and data management; while chapters 6 to 8 cover the non-technical aspects: human resources (personnel), administration and finance, and “licence to operate” issues (health and safety, environmental management, and community relations). Each chapter focuses on the key management decisions that relate to mineral exploration, including the perennial problem of setting priorities. At the end of chapters 2–8, there are summaries of key points, which can be used as a quick reference.


Part 4 is a wrap-up chapter about YOU (the aspiring Exploration Manager) and what YOU need to do. It includes a discussion on setting priorities…

In addition, there is a series of management toolkits, to help you set up your own management systems, for each aspect of the business, which are available on my website www.njfconsulting.com.au. They include document templates, standard operating procedures (SOPs), checklists and guidelines. The elements of each toolkit are listed at the end of each chapter. A Master Checklist could be created by combining the audit checklists from each chapter of the book.

Feedback on the new book will be greatly appreciated, contact me via my contact page or email me directly.

Nick Franey

About Author
Nick Franey is a geologist with a broad range of exploration management experience, at grassroots and advanced project level, having searched for most types of gold and base metal deposit in a variety of geological terranes.