JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Boosted by increased exploration efforts in the gold and zinc sectors, the global nonferrous exploration budget is up in 2017 – for the first time since 2012 – by more than 14%, year-on-year, to $7.95-billion, according to new analysis by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
The twenty-eighth edition of the firm’s ‘Corporate Exploration Strategies’ (CES) report reveals that global gold budgets are up 22% year-on-year, while zinc-focused producers and junior explorers have boosted the zinc budget by 29% year-on-year to $489-million, based on improved zinc prices since early 2016.
“We know that the juniors have endured the worst of the downturn since 2012, accounting for most of the 40% drop in the number of active explorers over the past five years.
However, the new CES budget data indicate that, among all company types, the surviving juniors are making a strong comeback in 2017,” says S&P Global Market Intelligence metals and mining research associate director Mark Ferguson. He adds that junior explorers have increased their aggregate exploration budget by 23% year-on-year, including a 41% increase in gold-only allocations.
The CES report further highlights that major producing companies also increased their budgets in 2017, allocating 17% more for exploration than a year ago. As a group, the majors still dominate the exploration sector’s efforts with almost 54% of the global budget, despite a faster rate of growth among the pure junior explorers.