Newly released 2022 global exploration budget data from S&P Global Market Intelligence's Corporate Exploration Strategies, or CES, series shows that exploration budgets increased again in 2022, driven by strong metal prices and easier access to financing during late 2021 and the first couple months of 2022. We estimate that the global nonferrous exploration budget has increased 16% in 2022 to $13.0 billion from $11.2 billion in 2021.
The post pandemic recovery that was felt through 2021 and into early 2022 encouraged further investment in exploration. The number of active companies increased 12% to 2,189 from 1,948 in 2021 as dormant juniors have reactivated and new companies entered the industry. This has contributed to the junior sector increasing allocations by 37% year over year to a total of $5.6 billion. Despite this increase, the majors continue to account for most exploration with a budget total of $5.9 billion. Gold allocations increased the most again in dollar terms, up 12% to $6.9 billion, while copper increased 21% to $2.8 billion, its highest level since 2014.
Although considerable headwinds have emerged for macroeconomic conditions in recent months, putting downward pressure on metals prices and equity markets, we remain relatively optimistic in our outlook for 2023 exploration efforts.
Join our analysts as we review 2022 and look ahead to 2023:
- Exploration by commodity, geography and project stage of development
- Discovery trends
- Recent drilling and financing activity
- 2023 exploration outlook