Gold miners have invested around $290 million in exploration companies during the first six months of the year, the highest level recorded in the past decade and double the value invested in the previous two years combined, according to a CIBC World Markets Inc. report released Wednesday.
“Nearly one-half of equity raised by junior gold stocks on the TSX in 2017 has been through direct investments. No previous year has exceeded 20 per cent,” the report’s authors noted.
The dramatic ramp-up in investment from senior gold producers comes as they search for new sources of growth to head off a potential production decline after sitting on the sidelines during one of the most brutal commodity cycles in history.
Production at gold companies covered by CIBC is expected to rise modestly to 40 million ounces by 2020 from 37 million ounces in 2016, then decline each year based on the bank’s forecast for existing mine life extensions and new project development.
Mining projects typically take between seven to 10 years to progress from exploration to commercial production, so miners feel a sense of urgency to act now, the report said. “Prospective junior gold companies may hold the key to defer a gold production decline in the absence of considerably higher metal prices than today.”