Canada, Australia, the US topped list of countries with most significant drill results in 2013

While exploration success among the world’s top mining destinations varied last year as a result of market uncertainty, the countries with the top 10 exploration budgets attracted a total of US$7.8 billion, shows SNL Metals & Mining's annual Corporate Exploration Strategies study.

Exploration spending in countries with the highest levels of junior activity, such as Australia, Canada and the United States, resulted in far more reported significant drill results than in nations with weaker junior sectors or reporting regimes. This was the case for all stages of gold, base metals, platinum group metals and uranium exploration, notes the report.

SNL analysts remain pessimist about the future, predicting a continued lack of investor interest in the coming months. They believe most junior companies and small producers will have little choice but to further restrict their exploration efforts throughout the year. As a result, SNL Metals & Mining expects the number of reported significant drill results to decline in 2014, particularly in countries with a strong junior presence, such as Canada and Australia.

Gold the most sought after

While evaluating the 351 projects that reported at least one significant drill result in 2013, the study found gold projects remained top of the list. Copper, nickel, uranium, zinc-lead and PGM primary projects followed quite remotely.

As reported in its Corporate Exploration Strategies (CES) study, published late October, miners focused their exploration programs on late-stage assets. More than 55% of the projects were located in the countries with the top three budgets — Australia had 90 projects; Canada, 76; and 29 in the US. The remainder was divided among 51 other countries.


Top image by John Atherton, via Flickr.

Canada, Australia, the US topped list of countries with most significant drill results in 2013