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Mining Exploration Insights – February 2020

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Mining Exploration Insights – February 2020


Exploration index down as only drill results improve MOM

Mirroring the decrease in the PAI, mining equities retreated in January, as S&P Global Market Intelligence's aggregate market value of the industry's listed companies, based on 2,338 firms, was down 6% month over month at US$1.39 trillion, off from a 19-month high of US$1.49 trillion in December 2019. The aggregate market cap of the industry's top 100 companies was down almost 7% in January at US$1.16 trillion. The number of tracked mining companies remains at a 10-year low, declining steadily from a high of 2,921 companies in March 2012.

The following analysis is an extract of S&P Global Market Intelligence monthly Industry Monitor, which reviews exploration activity and development in the mining industry. The full report and data files are made available to our Metals & Mining subscribers onlyHere are the highlights from our February, 2020 issue:

Drilling was up strongly in January, led by a record number of reported drill results from gold projects. While positive project milestones remained steady, matching the average monthly number of milestones recorded in 2019, the number of initial resources and significant financings by junior and intermediate companies declined sharply in January, as the PAI fell to 90 from 96 in December 2019.

Global drilling activity improved dramatically in January, with the total number of distinct projects reporting drill results rising to 285 from 213 in the previous month. The increase was due largely to a rise in results from gold projects, with their number increasing month over month to a record 194 from 138. The increase follows a run-up in the price of gold that began in May 2019.

Metals prices rose in January, with S&P Global Market Intelligence's EPI increasing slightly to 131 from 130. The indexed price rose for five — gold, silver, platinum, zinc and molybdenum — of the eight constituents of the index and decreased for nickel, cobalt and copper.

January had the third-lowest number of financings in more than six years. The decrease was due primarily to a month-over-month fall in significant financings for gold projects, to just eight from 48, exacerbated by a smaller decrease in base/other metals financings to 10 from 15.

After rising to five in December, the number of initial resource announcements fell to just two in January. Both new resources were for gold projects.

Project milestone activity was unchanged in January, with the number of positive project milestones remaining at five, equal to the average monthly number of milestones for 2019.
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