With struggling metals prices, the main themes over the past year in the mining industry have been more cost cutting and mine closures, but one famed geologists seems a little more optimistic for 2016. Speaking to Kitco News as part of a special mining outlook edition of the Gold Report, Brent Cook, publisher of the popular newsletter Exploration Insights, said he expects exploration and new discoveries to finally pick up next year. ‘My view is that we’re going to have a better exploration scene next year,’ he said, adding that he is focusing his attention on microcap junior exploration companies that have enough capital and partners to actually make profitable discoveries. One of the main concerns for the industry is another drop in gold, with prices falling below $1,000 an ounce, as many mining companies wouldn’t be able to withstand such a significant drop in the price. However, Cook said he doesn’t really expect that to happen, at least not for long. 'If and when it does, it’s going to be a disaster for many of the larger mining companies with high debt burdens,’ he said. 'If that’s a person’s feeling, then its best to stick with the less levered companies with the highest quality assets,’ he suggested. February comex gold futures were last quoted down $4.70 an ounce at $1,075.80 after slightly rebounding Monday morning on short covering rally bounce. On the M&A front, Cook said that he expects to see more opportunistic mergers and acquisitions in 2016, but also said some activity could stem out of pure desperation from companies looking to boost their numbers. Finally, Cook shared who he thinks was the best mining CEO in 2015 and what mining companies he is looking to invest in next year. Kitco News, December 22, 2015.
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