Top 10 Countries for Exploration Show Falling Allocations for Canada, Growth in Russia and DRC, according to SNL Metals Economics Group

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According to SNL Metals Economics Group’s (SNL MEG) recently released Corporate Exploration Strategies (CES) study, global nonferrous exploration allocations have fallen by 29% in 2013, dropping to $15.2 billion from $21.5 billion in 2012.

Announced today, SNL Metals Economics Group's Corporate Exploration Study found that exploration allocations for Canada continued to decline in 2013, while increased emphasis focused on Russia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Allocations to the top 10 countries accounted for almost two-thirds of the worldwide exploration budget total in 2013. The top nine countries are the same as in 2012, though there were a few shifts among the ranks — Russia moved to No. 6 from No. 8, dropping Peru and China back to No. 7 and No. 8, respectively. The only other change was that the DRC replaced Argentina in the No. 10 spot; placing the African country among the top 10 exploration destinations for the first time.

Canada has been the top destination for exploration spending since overtaking Australia in 2002. In 2013, it experienced by far the largest dollar decline in allocations — more than double the declines recorded by the United States and Australia — lowering its share of total budgets to just over 13%, its smallest share since 1999. At the same time, Australian allocations decreased 25% year over year (less than the 30% worldwide decrease), leaving it only about US$25 million behind Canada.

The United States' share of worldwide exploration has been about 7% or 8% since 2000, when it stood at 10%. Mexico's 6% of the global total put it in the No. 4 spot, a place it has held since 2010. A perennial member of the top 10, Chile took the No. 5 spot worldwide for the third consecutive year, with its budget total a mere US$8 million behind Mexico. Russia, which first entered the top 10 in 2002, reached the No. 4 spot in 2005 and 2007. Allocations increased US$20 million in 2013, making Russia one of the few countries to experience an exploration budget increase, and moving it into the No. 6 spot overall. Despite this nominal increase, Russia's mining sector has seen a significant reduction in foreign investment in recent years.

Peru, another regular member of the top 10, dropped to No. 7, led lower by curtailed gold allocations. China, which first joined the top 10 in 2006, dropped to No. 8, while Brazil maintained the No. 9 spot for the fifth consecutive year. The newest member of the top 10 is DRC; its 2013 total is only 10% below that budgeted for the country in 2012. The last time an African country was in the top ten was in 2009, when South Africa held the No. 10 spot.

About SNL Metals Economics Group
SNL Metals Economics Group (MEG) is the most trusted source of global mining information and analysis. We draw on more than three decades of comprehensive information and analysis, with an unsurpassed level of experience and historical data. To help our clients reach better decisions more quickly, we supply raw data and sophisticated analysis based on unbiased research and reporting. From worldwide exploration, development, and production to strategic planning and acquisitions activity—our databases and studies help you make confident decisions and, ultimately, improve results.

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SNL Financial
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