Worldwide nonferrous exploration spending is expected to increase modestly in 2012 following large jumps in recent years due to the current market instability, the director of sales for the Halifax-based Metals Economics Group (MEG), Benjamin Moore, told on the sidelines of the 2012 PDAC convention.
"Global exploration budgets are expected to see a slight increase of 5-15% for 2012," Moore said.
"[The juniors] tend to really cash up before the summer and then again towards the end of year but what we saw at the end of 2011 was not a tremendous amount of financings activity by the juniors as the instability of the markets has made it hard for them to raise money," he said.
Global nonferrous exploration spending rose to a record US$18.2bn in 2011 from US$12.1bn in the prior year, according to MEG's World Exploration Trends report released on March 4.
The total rose 44% in 2010 and 50% in 2011, more than doubling from 2009's recent low of US$8.4bn to the new all-time high of US$18.2bn, the report said.
In addition, the difficulties in raising funds have carried over into the present year.
"So far in 2012 there still hasn't been a surge upwards. It's giving us a sense that they are having a bit of a harder time finding the dollars to do it," Moore said.
However, expected spending increases by the majors should make up for the reduced outlays by the juniors.
"The majors are continuing to increase their budgets and that should offset any sort of decreased values in the juniors," he said.