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Insights into the Accelerator Program for Mineral Exploration Start-ups with Sonia Scarselli

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In this episode we have a returning guest who appeared in November 2023, episode 391 so you can listen here: https://rb.gy/adu23f

Sonia Scarselli, Vice President, BHP Metal Exploration division and also VP of BHP Xplor program which is a cohort-based accelerator program to support early-stage mineral exploration start-ups find critical resources, such as copper and nickel, to drive the energy transition.

Sonia has a background in geology, starting her career in the O&G industry with Exxon-Mobil before joining BHP over 10 years ago. She is an expert in envisioning the future and turning those visions into reality and is redefining the landscape of mining exploration through her work creating BHP Xplor. Sonia gives us an update on the 2024 Xplor program, improvements they have made from the 2023 program, and her outlook for juniors in the exploration space.


  • The Xplor program is an accelerator program designed to support early-stage mineral exploration startups in finding critical resources such as copper and nickel to drive the energy transition.
  • The program aims to provide financial, technical, and entrepreneurial support to selected companies over a six-month period, helping them accelerate their exploration activities and cut timelines.
  • The selection process for the program focuses on evaluating the geological concept, leadership and technical capabilities of the companies, and their potential for growth and scale.
  • The partnership between major mining companies and juniors through programs like Explore helps bridge the gap in investment and support, leading to stronger exploration opportunities and partnerships.
  • The junior exploration space has faced challenges in securing capital for exploration, but there is a growing need for resources, indicating potential for increased investment in the future.


"The accelerator concept is something that has been heavily used in the technology world with some big firms like Y Combinator, Intel, and so on, as well as in pharmaceuticals." 

"The ultimate effect has been that the discovery rate, especially in copper, has dropped down quite significantly in the past 20 years with no significant new discoveries, new large mines, large discoveries happening." 

"The main advice is to make sure that when they think about their opportunities, they don't just focus on the next three to six months activities, but really advertise their opportunity on what it could be." 

"So for us, the intent to start this program first and then continuing was to open up our ability to understand what are the best opportunities around the world."


Mail:        rob@mining-international.org

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rob-tyson-3a26a68/

X:              https://twitter.com/MiningRobTyson 
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/DigDeepTheMiningPodcast 

Web:        http://www.mining-international.org


BHP Xplor - YouTube


Rob Tyson is the Founder and Director of Mining International Ltd, a leading global recruitment and headhunting consultancy based in the UK specialising in all areas of mining across the globe from first-world to third-world countries from Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Australia. We source, headhunt, and discover new and top talent through a targeted approach and search methodology and have a proven track record in sourcing and positioning exceptional candidates into our clients' organisations in any mining discipline or level. Mining International provides a transparent, informative, and trusted consultancy service to our candidates and clients to help them develop their careers and business goals and objectives in this ever-changing marketplace.




Podcast Description

Rob Tyson is an established recruiter in the mining and quarrying sector and decided to produce the “Dig Deep” The Mining Podcast to provide valuable and informative content around the mining industry. He has a passion and desire to promote the industry and the podcast aims to offer the mining community an insight into people’s experiences and careers covering any mining discipline, giving the listeners helpful advice and guidance on industry topics. 

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