OTTAWA — In light of the global economic collapse late last year, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) has revised its estimate of exploration spending downward for 2008. In its publication Overview of Trends in Canadian Mineral Exploration, federal analysts took a look at both 2007 and 2008.
NRCan identified $2.8 billion spent on mineral exploration and development in 2007. According to its report, even the revised 2008 figure of $3.1 billion may be too optimistic, and the final figure will probably be lower when it is released later this year.
There are some bright spots in the report, too. While the industry enjoyed a record-setting growth cycle, the focus of most spending was exploration for new deposits. That pattern allowed the junior sector to become the dominant force in the Canadian exploration industry. The favourable market outlook also allowed spending to cover many mineral commodities and regions.
“In the midst of [global] economic turmoil, Canada continues to be the top destination in the world for exploration capital,” according to NRCan. “In 2008, some 21% of the mineral exploration programs planned by the world’s large and small companies was expected to be conducted in this country. As for Canadian companies, they were expected to account for almost 43% of all exploration programs undertaken in the world in 2008, a share that is by far the largest of the global mineral exploration effort.”
The Trends report includes statistics on spending by work phase, type of activity, type of company and the type of commodity sought. It looks at both drilling and claim staking. In addition, the exploration industry is analyzed by province or territory as well as by major global regions.
This must-read report is available as a PDF download at www.NRCan-rncan.gc.ca/mms-smm/busi-indu/cme-omc-eng.htm.