In recent years, exploration efforts have been spurred on by relatively robust prices for many commodities deemed essential components of batteries. With demand expected to grow for these materials in the coming years and attention focused on supply, many exploration companies have launched campaigns to find new projects or expand known deposits, particularly focusing on commodities previously not considered core to the exploration sector.
In 2018, 292 companies budgeted an aggregate US$429.5 million to the exploration for cobalt, lithium, graphite, manganese and vanadium, up 59% from the US$270 million budgeted by 230 companies in 2017. In addition, nickel allocations also benefited in 2018, rising 22% year over year to US$297.8 million. Allocations for lithium and cobalt have increased the most among all nonferrous commodities covered by S&P Global Market Intelligence's Corporate Exploration Strategies series, collectively rising by 533% since 2015.
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