The mining sector is in a cycle of uncertainty and exploration companies are taking the greatest hit, says the president of the Porcupine Prospectors and Developers Association.
Dean Rogers said exploration companies are having difficulties attracting investment — and most aren't raising enough money to operate.
"No one really has a crystal ball to know just when the cycle will repeat itself," he said.
"It doesn't appear there's any need for metals at this time. Industry has slowed down, [and] people aren't building."
Some junior companies face bankruptcy or have been forced to amalgamate with larger companies, he noted.
Rogers said it has been decades since the industry has been hit this hard, "back in the early 80s, when we were into another sort of recession."
The market isn't showing any sign of recovery in the near future, he said, adding he worries about the damage that might be done in northern Ontario and throughout Canada.
Some analysts predict there will be job losses on the mining production side as the price of minerals continues to drop.