Global exploration budgets down 29% in 2013

Total global budget for nonferrous metals exploration dropped to $15.2 billion this year, down 29% from the $21.5 billion spent in 2012, reveals Wednesday SNL Metals Economics Group’s latest report.

According to the Corporate Exploration Strategies (CES) study, from the top 10 mining destinations, Canada —No. 1 since overtaking Australia in 2002— experienced the largest dollar decline in allocations.

Exploration spending in the country of the maple leaf dropped more than double the declines recorded by the USA and Australia, lowering its share of total budgets to just over 13%. This is the smallest share in 14 years.

Australian allocations decreased 25% year over year (less than the 30% worldwide decrease), leaving it only about US$25 million behind Canada.

The study also found interest in exploring Russia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) increased significantly, with the first one climbing to the sixth position from No. 8 last year, and Congo replacing Argentina in the No. 10 spot.

This is the first time the African country makes it to the list of top 10 global exploration districts, made up by Canada, USA, Australia, Russia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Brazil, China and now DRC. Together they attracted almost two-thirds of the worldwide exploration budget this year.

Global exploration budgets down 29% in 2013

Click on the map to enlarge.

South American nations remained relatively firm this year, with Chile — a perennial member of the top 10— taking the No. 5 spot worldwide for the third consecutive year, only US$8 million behind Mexico, which occupied the fourth position. Peru, however, fell to No. 7, led lower by curtailed gold allocations. And Brazil kept the No. 9 place for the fifth consecutive year.

Cover image by Vladislav Plotnikov