Mexico leads Latin America’s exploration expenditures

Mexico’s exploration expenditures are the highest in Latin America, reaching a record high of almost US$1 billion in 2011, says the latest report released by the Metals Economics Group’s (MEG), a think-tank based in Halifax, Canada.

According to “Corporate Exploration Strategies (CES),” Mexico accounted for 23% of total nonferrous exploration budgets for the Latin American region and 6% of 2011’s overall global budget allocations. MEG estimates that 2011’s total worldwide exploration budget reached $18.2 billion.

Since 2003, exploration spending grew faster than the world average moving Mexico’s global rank from the eight to the fourth place.

MEG attributes much of this accelerated growth to increased spending by Canadian junior explorers.

Ben Moore, MEG director for Latin America, adds that in terms of the types of companies exploring in Mexico, 80% of the active explorers he tracks are juniors and Canadian-based the majority of them.

Despite increased volatility in recent months, MEG concludes that metals prices—the primary driver of exploration spending—remained relatively strong through most of 2011. As a result, exploration budgets were up 50% from 2010 to set a new all-time high.