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Gold Exploration Budgets Are Up 20% In 2018 — S&P Global

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Gold Exploration Budgets Are Up 20% In 2018 — S&P Global

(Kitco News) - Budgets for gold exploration from across the world are on the rise this year despite lackluster prices, said S&P Global Market Intelligence (SPGMI).

The mining industry saw gold exploration budgets rise 20% to $4.86 billion in 2018 from $4.05 billion in 2017, SPGMI said in a report released in November.

The report, dedicated to all nonferrous metals, pointed out that gold has been doing better than other metals, accounting for nearly 50% of the total nonferrous exploration budget.

“The global nonferrous exploration budget increased 19% year on year to $10.1 billion,” the S&P Global said. “Although gold prices have been fairly unremarkable since 2017, generally trading within a $100/oz band, gold has continued to benefit the most from the industry recovery.”

The recovery in the overall mining industry and improved investment conditions are responsible for the exploration uptick, with junior exploration miners seeing their budgets rise 35% this year, the report noted.

“Improved metals prices and margins since 2016 have encouraged producers to expand their organic efforts the past two years,” said SPGMI associate director of Metals and Mining Research Mark Ferguson. “Over the same period, equity market support for the junior explorers has improved, leading to an uptick in the number and size of completed financings. This allowed the group to increase exploration budgets by 35% in 2018.”

The top three destinations for nonferrous exploration were Canada, Australia and the U.S. Gold’s share of total exploration activity in all three of those countries was more than 55%, the SPGMI added.

Meanwhile, top 25 gold explorers’ spending was up 18% in 2018, with Newmont, Barrick and Gold Fields leading the way and budgeting $221 million, $190 million, and 163 million respectively, the report highlighted.

Despite this year’s solid growth, the number of companies working in exploration is still about 900 short of the total registered in 2012, according to the report.

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