Mining exploration sinks to new low – by Jeff Candy ( – May 8, 2013)

According to IntierraRMG, mining exploration fell once more in March, extending a 17-month decline in exploration activity.

GRONINGEN (MINEWEB) – The mining industry’s search for new ounces fell to a new low in March, extending a 17-month decline in exploration activity. This is according to IntierraRMG’s latest State of the Market report.

According to the group’s online database, there were drilling reports from a total of only 355 prospects (it adds that this figure includes reports from more than one drilling prospect per project). This, it says is compared to “440 in February, 662 in January and (a restated) 367 in December 2012”.

“Gold-exploration has been particularly weak, with activity reported from just 172 prospects in March, compared with 199 in February, 350 in January and 382 in March 2012. Last month’s gold activity is still better, however, than the nadir of 157 prospects reported in December,” the group writes.

While the number of drills turning at gold prospects fell in absolute terms during the quarter, the search for the yellow metal continues to dominate the overall figures. During the quarter 651 gold projects reported drilling activity, IntierraRMG says, as compared to only 192 copper projects, 154 silver projects, 63 zinc projects and 42 lead projects.

On a cumulative basis, IntierraRMG says, exploration activity for the quarter amounted to 1,457 prospects, compared with 2,467 prospects in the first quarter of 2012 and 1,959 in the first quarter of 2011. Again, IntierraRMGprovides the caveat that these numbers might include multiple reports of drilling from the same prospect.

The news isn’t all bad, however. The group points out that despite the overall disappointment, there have been some mildly encouraging statistics from Australia.

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