"Conventional wisdom holds that the major companies leave grassroots exploration to the juniors. It may therefore be surprising that the larger players are contributing 40% of all greenfields allocations in 2014. A persistent financing drought has squeezed juniors’ budgeting to the point that the majors have become the biggest drivers of early-stage exploration. Similarly, the larger players traditionally dominate minesite spending; in 2014, however, they account for only 51% of the near mine work as their investors demand improved returns over growth. It is also interesting to note that the larger players are responsible for just 32% of late-stage exploration and feasibility work."
Supposition: I'm a major with a penchant for exploration.
1) I look around, see all those conventional wisdom juniors in a sector that resembles The Somme 1916.2) I pick out a couple that look prettiest/best value/suitably beaten to kingdom come.3) Do i buy em out? No, don't think so...adding weight to the fixed assets in detriment to current assets isn't something my CFO wants to do.4) Do i throw money at 'em and then let the junior burn it on salaries (Zijin and Pretium)? Not that one either, i'd want control.5) So what if I went to my target junior and offered to take a 19.9% stake as long as they gave me two seats on the board and agreed (in principle should be enough) on a cost-cutting exercise that made it lean-mean-rock-banging machine? Yeah, that's what i'd do.