Africa has not escaped the dramatic drop-off in global exploration activity since October 2011.
Consulting firm IntierraRMG reports that in the five months to end-May this year the number of drill results slumped to just 250.
That compares to full year figures for 2012 of 1,240 reports, which despite the decline since the middle of last year, topped the cumulative 1,127 reports in 2011.
Centred in West Africa, gold is by far the favourite target on the continent with 65% share of the total over the first five months of this year, which is up from the previous two years.
The 23 gold prospects in May this year constitutes a sharp decline from the record 83 in October 2011, but according to IntierraRMG Editorial Director, Chris Hinde, it “represented over 85% of the drilling reports for May, with barely any exploration on the continent for other metals (there was a total of only 27 drilling reports). Drilling for copper in Africa slumped to just three reports in May."
According to the IntierraRMG database of almost 3,500 listed companies, a total of $829 million has been raised since end-May 2011 for exploration in Africa.