Miners will probably boost exploration spending 5 to 15 percent this year after a record $18.2 billion was budgeted last year, according to a study by Metals Economics Group.
The growth will slow from 50 percent last year and 44 percent in 2010 unless equity markets improve over the first quarter, Halifax, Nova Scotia-based Metals Economics said in an e-mailed report today. Smaller miners “have had trouble raising the funds needed to sustain or increase exploration spending in 2012,” it said.
The study includes gold, most industrial metals, platinum, palladium, diamonds, uranium, silver, rare earths, potash and phosphate for about 3,500 companies and excludes iron ore, coal, aluminum and oil and gas, according to the report. Spending on iron ore was probably more than $2.5 billion in 2011, it said.
Exploration budgets last year were a record in all regions, and Africa saw the biggest percentage increase with 15 percent of the world total, it said. Burkina Faso rose from 12th place in spending in Africa in 2009 to third in 2011 because of more interest in gold, it said.
Interest in diamonds in Africa was at an all-time low due to waning diamond spending in Sub-Saharan Africa and bigger diamond budgets in Russia and India, the company said.
In Latin America, industrial metals had the smallest share of spending in more than a decade while budgets increased for gold in Colombia, Guyana, Brazil and Mexico, it said.
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