Worldwide spending rebounds
The Metals Economics Group‘s recent edition of Corporate Exploration Strategies concludes that 1,138 companies’exploration 2004 budgets total US$3.55 billion, covering about 95% of worldwide commercial nonferrous expenditures. The group’s estimate for 100% of the expenses is US$3.8 billion. The exploration budgets rose steadily through the 1990s to a peak of US$5.2 billion in 1997, and then dropped to a low of US$1.9 billion in 2002. This year’s spending estimate is the second year of increase since 2002.
Last year’s increase was due in large part to the combination of increased spending by majors and two consecutive years of increased spending by junior companies. The majors were reacting to the dearth of new projects moving up the pipeline; as well, the influence of corporate consolidations seen in 2000 and 2001 was no longer so negative. The juniors were influenced by increased gold prices and rising investor confidence.
The MEG expects base metal prices and gold prices to remain attractive in the near future. This should result in a modest growth in spending by junior and intermediate companies again next year. All the details are available in the 900-page, two-volume, US$12,000 study. For more information phone 902-429-2880 or visit www.metalseconomics.com