Further Exploration Spending Decreases Expected
More than 55% of the 351 reported projects that recorded at least one significant drill result were located in the countries with the top three budgets—Australia had 90 projects, Canada had 76 and the United States had 29. The remainder was divided among 51 other countries.
Primary gold projects were the most active, followed distantly by copper, nickel, uranium, zinc-lead and platinum group metals. Late-stage assets drew the most attention: 196 reserves development- and feasibility-stage projects had significant results, while only 90 early-stage projects and 65 preproduction-stage and producing assets were included in the study.
Market uncertainty continues to weigh heavily on the industry entering 2014. Without renewed investor interest in the coming months, the majority of junior companies and many small producers will have little choice but to further restrict exploration efforts throughout the year, SNL said. As a result, SNL Metals & Mining expects the number of reported significant drill results to decline in 2014, particularly in countries with a strong junior mining presence, such as Canada and Australia.