SNL Metals & Mining’s 26th Corporate Exploration Strategies estimates worldwide exploration budgets falling 19% to $9.2 billion in 2015 (NEW YORK, Nov. 23, 2015 /PRNewswire/ full text here)
SNL Metals & Mining’s 2015 exploration data and analysis are based on information collected from nearly 3,500 mining and exploration companies worldwide, of which almost 1,800 had exploration budgets for 2015. The companies (each budgeting at least $100,000) budgeted a total of $8.77 billion for nonferrous exploration in 2015. Including SNL’s estimates for budgets that could not be obtained, the 2015 worldwide exploration budget totals $9.2 billion. (Note: Nonferrous exploration refers to spending in the search for precious and base metals, diamonds, uranium, and some industrial minerals; it specifically excludes exploration for iron ore, aluminum, coal, and oil and gas.)
… all of the covered commodities received lower allocations in 2015, ranging from a 14% decline in gold allocations to 34% and 33% declines in uranium and PGM budgets respectively. As a result, gold’s share of the total budget increased to almost 45%, while base metals’ share fell slightly to one-third.
… Although all regions received lower allocations in 2015, Latin America’s share of the global total increased to more than 28% — largely due to a focus on near-mine exploration. It was the region’s highest share since the bottom of the previous downturn in 2001. Conversely, Africa and Pacific/Southeast Asia recorded the sharpest declines in planned exploration spending, with their budgets falling 30% and 28% respectively.
By the end of the September quarter, the market value of the mining industry’s listed companies had fallen below US$1 trillion for the first time since 2009. And although exploration budgets are also at a new low, recent data from SNL Metals & Mining’s Monthly Industry Monitor is somewhat encouraging. SNL’s Pipeline Activity Index, which measures exploration and development activity, increased for a second consecutive month to its second-highest point to date in 2015. By the end of October, the SNL indexed metals price appeared to have stabilized, and SNL’s estimate of the market value of the industry’s listed companies rose after five months of steady decline. Several of SNL Metals & Mining’s metrics in October suggest that the mining industry may perhaps be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
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