National Instrument 43-101(6.2) specifies that “before an issuer files a technical report, the issuer must have at least one qualified person (“QP”) who is responsible for preparing or supervising the preparation of all or part of the technical report complete a current inspection on the property that is the subject of the technical report.”
In most technical reports one may see a long list of QP’s but often only one or two of the QP’s have actually made a site visit. I have worked on numerous mining studies myself and not been involved in a site inspection.
In many cases the limited number of people completing a site visit may be due to the high cost for travel to a remote site, the logistics of travelling around with a large team, and the associated fees for the personnel to attend. In some cases the site visit personnel may be restricted simply because there isn’t much to see at the property and the company simply wants to meet the 43-101 requirement.
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Site inspections that I have taken part in ranged from simple tours of the property only taking photographs to more detailed data room reviews, meeting the owner’s team, meeting with vendors and contractors.
In my opinion the more advanced the study the more important the site visit becomes. This requires that one optimizes the scope of the trip.
At the feasibility stage it is important that several QP’s complete one or more site visits at the same time if possible. They need to see and hear the same things. Obviously the QP’s will need to focus on different areas of responsibility, but the over-riding message should be consistent to the entire team.
For an earlier study stage (e.g. PEA), it is less critical that a large team complete the site visit. However I would recommend that the QP making the site visit be in prior contact with the team members to determine what information they will want to see.
The visiting QP is then responsible to collect their data. Sorting through information files covering different disciplines may be difficult for one person, but inspecting and photographing key sites may be of value to everyone.
In addition it is useful to make first contact with local vendors and contractors on behalf of others. Ultimately spending an extra day or two at site is relatively inexpensive compared to the fixed cost of the travel.
Once back at the office, the QP should distribute and explain his findings to the rest of the team, thereby benefiting the team with better information. I have often seen that this post-site visit information sharing does not happen.