press-release Market Intelligence /marketintelligence/en/media-center/press-release/global-exploration-budget-fell-11-to-87-billion-in-2020 content esgSubNav
Log in to other products

 /


Looking for more?

Contact Us

Global Exploration Budget Fell 11% to $8.7 billion in 2020

Industry optimism for an improved 2020 was stymied by the COVID-19 pandemic, but a quicker-than-expected recovery bodes well for 2021

New York, NY, Mar. 10 2021 — The global budget for nonferrous metals exploration decreased 11% to an estimated $8.7 billion in 2020 from $9.8 billion in 2019, according to the annual World Exploration Trends Report from S&P Global Market Intelligence, released in conjunction with the 2021 Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) International Convention.

Exploration budgets decreased modestly in 2020, due primarily to travel restrictions and lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. An acute decrease in metal prices in March 2020, stemming from expectations of reduced demand, further hindered exploration planning and efforts, particularly in the first half. S&P Global Market Intelligence's survey of 2,500 exploring companies in 2020 revealed that the global aggregate nonferrous budget decreased 10% to $8.3 billion year over year.

"The mining industry managed to navigate through market complexities and capitalize on rebounding prices and easing restrictions as 2020 progressed. The decline in the 2020 exploration budget was far less steep than initially anticipated at the end of the March quarter, when the global spread of COVID-19 was surging," said Mark Ferguson, Research Director at S&P Global Market Intelligence. "Although uncertainty remains, we are optimistic that exploration in 2021 will at a minimum reverse the pandemic-induced losses in 2020. Should metal prices continue to remain strong over the next several months, it is likely that the 2021 exploration budget will be even stronger, rising by 15%-20% year over year."

Among the commodities covered by the report, only gold and silver posted modest increases in exploration budgets year over year, while budgets declined for the industrial metals, led by copper, zinc, lithium and cobalt. The relatively flat gold budget year over year and the quick recovery in metals prices cushioned the exploration sector from the severe declines seen during the global financial crisis in 2008.

The report also highlighted that the industry's trend away from early-stage exploration to advanced- and near–mine- exploration became more pronounced in 2020 due to travel restrictions, which made large-scale field programs more difficult to execute.

“In the medium term, explorers may continue to opt for exploration programs focused on less risky brownfields assets, yet such efforts will only serve to exacerbate production pipeline challenges for various commodities,” added Kevin Murphy, Principal Analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Additional data, commentary and access to the full report are available to selected members of the media; please contact vivian.liu@spglobal.com.

 

– END – 

 

Notes to Editors

Nonferrous exploration budgets refer to planned spending in the search for precious and base metals, diamonds, uranium and some industrial minerals; they specifically exclude exploration for iron ore, aluminum, coal, and oil and gas.

About S&P Global Market Intelligence

At S&P Global Market Intelligence, we understand the importance of accurate, deep and insightful information. We integrate financial and industry data, research and news into tools that help track performance, generate alpha, identify investment ideas, perform valuations and assess credit risk. Investment professionals, government agencies, corporations and universities around the world use this essential intelligence to make business and financial decisions with conviction.

S&P Global Market Intelligence is a division of S&P Global (NYSE: SPGI), the world’s foremost provider of credit ratings, benchmarks and analytics in the global capital and commodity markets, offering ESG solutions, deep data and insights on critical business factors. S&P Global has been providing essential intelligence that unlocks opportunity, fosters growth and accelerates progress for more than 160 years. For more information, visit www.spglobal.com/marketintelligence.

Learn more about Market Intelligence
Request Demo

Media Contact

Vivian Liu, S&P Global Market Intelligence
P.   +852 91791132
E. Vivian.Liu@spglobal.com

Subscribe to Press Releases

Submitting your email above means you agree to the Terms and have read and understood the Privacy Policy