Copper exploration rises led by junior sector 

By Sean DeCoff  | 14 November 2018

The following article is an abstract of the 2018 Corporate Exploration Strategies publication which reviews exploration budget trends of mining companies worldwide.

Copper exploration budgets increased by 22% year over year in 2018, surpassing the global average increase of 20% for all nonferrous commodities. Using data compiled as part of the Corporate Exploration Strategies series, S&P Global Market Intelligence identified 443 companies budgeting a total of US$2.07 billion for copper exploration, compared with 397 companies budgeting US$1.70 billion in 2017. Correspondingly the average spend per company also rose, by almost 10%, to US$4.7 million.

Copper prices began a general recovery in late 2016, although too late in the year to be fully realized in 2017 budgets, resulting in a modest 8% increase in allocations for the year. Prices continued to rise through 2017 and into early 2018, spurring a budget increase of US$369.3 million year over year, mostly driven by the junior explorers. This is in contrast to the most popular target for mineral exploration — gold — where budget growth in 2018 was driven mostly by producing companies. We expect copper allocations to increase further in 2019, although not to the same degree as in 2018.

Gain essential insights as we reveal copper exploration budget trends in 2018:

  • How copper prices and developments by major copper producers may impact exploration budgets
  • Examine the breakdown of global copper exploration budgets by region, company type and stage of development
  • Identify which countries had the largest gains and declines in copper exploration budget during the year

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