Comparatively high exploration spending belies sagging discovery rate – S&P Global – by Henry Lazenby ( – May 3, 2018)

ANCOUVER ( – Despite exploration budgets remaining at comparatively high levels in the past decades, geologists have only been able to find a fraction of the gold ounces they discovered in the preceding 18-year period, a new analysis conducted by S&P Global Market Intelligence shows.

The financial information and analytics firm said that despite exploration budgets having declined from the ten-year peak in 2012 to $54.3-billion in the past decade – almost 60% higher when compared with the $32.2-billion spent on gold exploration in the preceding 18 years – only 215.5-million ounces of gold has been defined in 41 discoveries over the most recent ten years, compared with 1.73-billion ounces found in 222 discoveries in the preceding 18 years.

“We have shown in previous research into lead times for gold assets, that it takes about 20 years for an asset to advance from discovery to production.

This timeline implies that the reduced discovery rates of the last decade will limit the pool of projects that could come on line in 15 to 20 years,” S&P Global metals and mining senior research analyst Kevin Murphy says.

“Unless discovery rates begin an upswing in the near future, there could be a lack of quality assets available for development in the longer term. The declining discovery rate shows the importance of continuing exploration and funding companies responsible for exploration to maintain a healthy future pipeline of assets available for development.”

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