Metals exploration spending expected to rise by 20 per cent in 2018

Global spend on nonferrous metals exploration is expected to rise by 20 per cent in 2018, in keeping with recent trends. Spend in 2017 reached around $US8.4 billion ($10.8 billion), up from $US7.3 billion in 2016, a 14 per cent year-on-year increase.

According to a report from World Exploration Trends (WET) developed in association with S&P Global Market Intelligence, these estimates represented the best results in this area since 2013.

The report was developed for release during the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada’s 2018 International Convention, Trade Show & Investors Exchange (PDAC 2018), which is currently taking place in Toronto from March 4–7.

Last year was the first positive result for nonferrous metal exploration in a while, with 2017’s rise in exploration spend coming after a four-year period of depression.

According to Mark Ferguson, associate research director at S&P Global Market Intelligence, many drill programs were launched or resumed over the last year — particularly in the last quarter of 2017 — due to improving equity market support for mining projects, with base metal exploration rebounding in the second half of the year.

Gold and battery metals, especially lithium and cobalt, also remained key points of focus for the industry.

“Despite significant market volatility, the generally positive trend in metals prices has continued in early 2018,” he said. “We therefore expect the global exploration budget for 2018 to increase by a further 15 to 20 per cent year-over-year.”

Currently, Canada, Australia and the United States are the three national leaders in mining exploration spend, totalling $US5.55 billion in allocations for 2017.

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