Tuesday 25th June 2019

Resource Clips


Posts tagged ‘saskatchewan’

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

May 2nd, 2019

by Greg Klein | May 2, 2019

Reporting from the Kibby Basin project in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA released assays from the most recent hole on the 2,056-hectare property. After reaching a depth of 256 metres into lakebed sediments, the hole averaged 100 ppm lithium, ranging from 38 ppm to 127 ppm.

Belmont Resources announces Nevada lithium results

With only four holes sunk so far, most
of the 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin project
remains unexplored.

Groundwater samples showed the presence of saline, rather than fresh water that’s rich in sodium and magnesium but low in lithium, the company stated. “The presence of shallow aquifers containing saline groundwater with chemical composition similar to, but lower than that of lithium brines is encouraging for the discovery of lithium brines deeper in the basin.”

Results from previous drilling indicate continued potential for lithium brines in unexplored areas of the property, Belmont added. A 2018 hole about 2,300 metres southwest brought intervals of 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

MGX Minerals CSE:XMG has spent $300,000 on exploration so far to earn 25% of the project. The company may increase its interest to 50% with another $300,000 of work.

In March the companies announced a “milestone” water rights permit that might be the first of its kind for Nevada. The permit allows extraction of up to 943.6 million U.S. gallons of water annually for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds. About 91% of the water would be returned to the source, the companies stated.

Also last March, Belmont announced a foray into southern British Columbia’s busy Greenwood camp with the acquisition of a 253-hectare property in a region of historic gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc mining. The company has historic data under review to prepare for exploration this year.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont shares a 50/50 interest in two uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Canadian Greens surge again as party takes second place in PEI election

April 23rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | April 23, 2019

Press time results (seats at dissolution in parentheses)

  • Progressive Conservatives: 12 seats, 36.5% of the popular vote (8)
  • Greens: 8 seats, 30.6% (2)
  • Liberals: 6 seats, 29.5% (16)
  • New Democrats: 0 seats, 3% (0)
  • Independent: 0 seats, 0.4% (1)
  • (Voting in one district was postponed)

Promoting its use of wind energy, Prince Edward Island likes to call itself “Canada’s Green Province.” On April 23 PEI’s government just missed turning Green itself.

In an historic first for Canada, the home of Confederation voted Greens into second place, following a few years of electoral gains for the once-marginal party in other parts of the country. At press time the popular vote showed Dennis King’s Progressive Conservatives just 6% higher than Peter Bevan-Baker’s Green Party, which came in barely ahead of the incumbent Liberals whose leader Wade MacLauchlan lost his district to a Tory. But the seat count gave PCs 12, Greens eight and Liberals six. That raises the question of who will rule the province, and how. Among the possibilities is a Green-supported minority government, as is the case in British Columbia.

Canadian Greens surge again as party takes second place in PEI election

PCs won more seats but Greens flourished in the
land of Green Gables. (Photo: PEI government)

Voting in one of the province’s 27 districts was postponed following the death of Green candidate Josh Underhay and his six-year-old son in a Good Friday canoeing accident.

The Liberals collapsed after three terms in office despite budget surpluses and avowals that PEI had built Canada’s strongest economy. Still the country’s biggest potato producer, the province’s other main resource industry is fishing. Economic diversification includes an aerospace industry that accounts for 20% of provincial exports and a bioscience sector employing over 1,000 people.

With 27 electoral districts for a population estimated at 154,748, most winning candidates draw well under 1,500 votes. At 5,660 square kilometres, the province holds just over one-sixth the landmass of Vancouver Island.

But the Greens’ performance suggests continuing growth in some parts of Canada. Last October the party took three places each on Vancouver’s council, parks board and school board, along with one each on neighbouring Burnaby’s council and school board. In B.C.’s 2017 provincial election, Greens rose from one MLA to three, a feat matched by New Brunswick Greens last September. Ontario elected its first Green MPP in June.

Southern Vancouver Island hosts Canada’s sole Green MP, as well as the three MLAs who hold the balance of power supporting B.C.’s minority NDP government.

The environmentalist-nationalist Québec Solidaire went from three to 10 seats in October’s Quebec election.

Not surprisingly, however, Greens fared poorly in last week’s Alberta election, where the party polled only 0.4%. Should PEI PCs hold onto government, they’ll join Alberta along with Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick in a bloc of provincial conservative governments.

A referendum asking whether PEI should switch to a mixed-member proportional voting system passed in 15 of 27 districts but failed to reach the 17-district threshold.

Mining ministers Greg Rickford of Ontario and Bronwyn Eyre of Saskatchewan speak out on Ottawa’s proposed Impact Assessment Act

April 1st, 2019

…Read more

Belmont Resources moves into B.C.’s historic Greenwood mining camp

March 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 28, 2019, updated April 2

A company drilling for Nevada lithium has taken on new turf in a storied southern British Columbia gold-copper district. The acquisition brings Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA a 253-hectare property that formed part of the former Pathfinder project, about 18 kilometres north of Grand Forks and 500 klicks by highway east of Vancouver. The location sits on the northeastern edge of the Boundary mining camp, also known as the Republic-Greenwood gold district.

Belmont Resources moves into B.C.’s historic Greenwood mining camp

Greenwood-area mining dates back to the late 1880s. Approximately 26 former mines produced more than 1.2 million ounces of gold and over 270,000 tonnes of copper, as well as silver, lead and zinc, according to Geoscience BC. Among the past-producers are some workings on the former Pathfinder property. More recent prospecting, sampling, drilling and a magnetic survey on Pathfinder have provided historic data to help Belmont plan a 2019 exploration program.

Kinross Gold TSX:K subsidiary KG Exploration holds property bordering three sides of the Belmont acquisition. The Kinross subsidiary has so far spent $1.28 million towards a 75% earn-in on Grizzly Discoveries’ (TSXV:GZD) Greenwood project and plans further work this year. Ximen Mining TSXV:XIM and GGX Gold TSXV:GGX have recently reported near-surface gold, silver and tellurium assays from their Greenwood-area Gold Drop project. Other companies in the district include Golden Dawn Minerals TSXV:GOM and Quebec niobium-tantalum explorer Saville Resources TSXV:SRE.

To close the acquisition Belmont pays each of two vendors 625,000 shares and 625,000 warrants on TSXV approval, along with another 125,000 shares and 125,000 warrants each within a year. Together, the vendors retain a 1.5% NSR, half of which Belmont may buy for $1 million.

Reporting from their Kibby Basin lithium project in Nevada last week, Belmont and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG announced a “milestone” permit to extract up to 943 million U.S. gallons of water annually for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds. Assays are pending from last winter’s drilling, which tested a potential fault about 2,300 metres from a previous target that averaged 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

Belmont’s portfolio also includes an interest in two northern Saskatchewan uranium properties held 50/50 with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Subject to exchange approval, Belmont expects to close a private placement first tranche of $67,500. The company closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals receive “milestone” water rights permit, await assays from Nevada lithium project

March 21st, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 21, 2019

Considered a milestone for two companies pursuing lithium, a recently granted water rights permit might be the first of its kind for Nevada. Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG received the permit to extract up to 943.6 million U.S. gallons of water annually from the Monte Cristo Groundwater Basin for brine processing and potential production of lithium compounds on their Kibby Basin property. Some 91% of the water will be returned to the source through injection wells or infiltration galleries, the companies stated.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals receive “milestone” water rights permit, await assays from Nevada lithium project

Assays are pending from winter drilling
on the Belmont/MGX Kibby Basin project.

The news follows a winter drill campaign that reached 256 metres into lakebed sediments in hole KB-4, testing a potential fault where geophysical and geological analysis suggests geothermal activity might have brought concentrations of dissolved minerals close to surface.

The team currently has logging and sample preparation from drill cuttings underway, as well as water sampling from a layer near the bottom of the hole. Assays will follow.

Some 2,300 metres southwest of KB-4, KB-3 produced results averaging 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

Having spent $300,000 so far, MGX has earned 25% of the project and may increase its interest to 50% with another $300,000 of work. The 2,056-hectare Kibby Basin property sits 65 kilometres north of Albemarle’s (NYSE:ALB) Silver Peak mine, North American’s only lithium producer.

In northern Saskatchewan, Belmont has a 50% stake in two uranium properties, with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT holding the remainder.

Subject to exchange approval, Belmont expects to close a private placement first tranche of $67,500. In July the company closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

Carbon tax, Bill C-69 prompt provincial dissent at Ottawa’s PDAC announcement

March 3rd, 2019

by Greg Klein | March 3, 2019

PDAC’s opening day might have seemed like a good time for the feds to express a concern for jobs that transcends SNC-Lavalin. But a hoped-for unanimous show of provincial and territorial support fell apart when Ontario and Saskatchewan objected. As long as the Liberals push their carbon tax and Bill C-69, the two provinces argued, the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan means little.

Carbon tax, Bill C-69 prompt provincial dissent at Ottawa’s PDAC announcement

Although lacking details, federal Minister of Natural Resources
Amarjeet Sohi promotes the CMMP at PDAC.
(Photo: Natural Resources Canada)

In fact the “plan” remains a notion waiting for substance. Bandied about since an August 2017 meeting of federal, provincial and territorial mining ministers, the CMMP goes to another ministerial conference for further discussion in July. That, says Ottawa, will be “the forum to discuss actions to realize this vision across the six strategic directions.”

In the meantime, the industry has to settle for platitudes on the half-dozen topics: encouraging economic development and competitiveness; increasing native participation; protecting the environment; building science, technology and innovation; benefiting communities; and fostering global leadership.

“Ontario and Saskatchewan agree with some of the elements covered in the CMMP,” said a joint statement from ministers Greg Rickford of Ontario and Bronwyn Eyre of Saskatchewan. But they expressed concern “about how misguided federal policy will stand in the way of progress.”

Ottawa needs to address trade challenges so Saskatchewan uranium and Ontario metals “can access international markets in a transparent, stable and effective fashion,” the ministers stated.

They promised “we will do everything in our power to protect our provinces’ industries from the job-killing carbon tax that the federal government seeks to impose.”

As for the proposed Bill C-69, it “has the potential to use environmental assessments as weapons against future development. This short-sighted approach by the federal government will curb development efforts and prevent major development projects from getting off the ground.

“Until we address these issues that are hurting Canadian families, businesses and the national economy, Ontario and Saskatchewan cannot endorse the CMMP.”

Still, other jurisdictions endorsed the idea. So did the Mining Association of Canada. President/CEO Pierre Gratton praised the CMMP for its six proposed areas of improvement.

Gratton also noted Ottawa’s five-year renewal of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit, as well as encouraging announcements from Newfoundland and British Columbia. “We look forward to seeing the full implementation of federal, provincial and territorial action plans in the coming months.”

According to federal data, 2017 mineral production totalled about $44 billion. The country produces some 60 minerals and metals at 200 active mines and 7,000 pits and quarries. Mining, exploration and related activities produce 19% of Canada’s domestic exports, 5% of GDP and 634,000 direct and indirect jobs.

Update: Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals resume drilling Nevada lithium target

March 1st, 2019

Update: On March 1 Belmont Resources announced drilling had restarted after “highly unusual” weather had delayed the program. “Belmont expects that the drilling will proceed with no further delays,” the company stated.

 

by Greg Klein | December 18, 2018

Encouraged by their last round of lithium assays, these two companies aren’t waiting for the post-Christmas season to reactivate the rig. With a new program now underway at the Kibby Basin project in Nevada, Belmont Resources TSXV:BEA and MGX Minerals CSE:XMG focus on an area 2,300 metres northeast of hole KB-3, where previous results averaged 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres and 415 ppm over 30.5 metres, reaching a high of 580 ppm.

Belmont Resources/MGX Minerals resume drilling Nevada lithium target

Previous drill results have Belmont and
MGX optimistic about the current program.

The team expects KB-4 to reach an initial depth of 300 metres into lakebed sediments, focusing on the centre of a gravity low interpreted as a potential fault. Geophysical and geological analysis suggests potential geothermal activity might have brought concentrations of dissolved minerals close to the surface, the companies stated.

Belmont also announced the appointment of two new directors. Karim Rayani has 14 years’ experience providing consulting and investment banking services to junior mining, bio-medical and technology sectors. Over the last four years he has helped raise more than $45 million for public and private companies.

As CEO/director of MGX, Jared Lazerson built a company with exploration properties in four countries and industrial technology subsidiaries including rapid lithium extraction and battery mass storage. MGX holds four million Belmont shares, four million two-year warrants and the right to acquire up to 10 million additional shares.

Under an option with Belmont signed in July, MGX has earned an initial 25% interest in Kibby Basin by spending $300,000. An additional $300,000 by year-end would make the company operator of a 50/50 joint venture.

The companies interpret the 2,056-hectare property’s geology to hold similarities with Nevada’s lithium-rich Clayton Valley, 65 kilometres south.

Belmont also holds a 50% stake in two Saskatchewan uranium properties, with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT holding the remainder.

Last July Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000.

Miners and explorers pick their spots in Fraser Institute’s latest report card

February 28th, 2019

by Greg Klein | February 28, 2019

Ontario dropped dramatically but an improved performance by the Northwest Territories and Nunavut helped Canada retain its status as the planet’s most mining-friendly country. That’s the verdict of the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2018, a study of jurisdictions worldwide. Some 291 mining and exploration people responded to questions on a number of issues, supplying enough info to rank 83 countries, provinces and states.

Canadian and American jurisdictions dominated the most important section, with four spots each on the Investment Attractiveness Index’s top 10. Combined ratings for all Canadian jurisdictions held this country’s place as the miners’ favourite overall.

The IAI rates both geology and government policies. Respondents typically say they base about 40% of their investment decisions on policy factors and about 60% on geology. Here’s the IAI top 10 with the previous year’s numbers in parentheses:

  • 1 Nevada (3)

  • 2 Western Australia (5)

  • 3 Saskatchewan (2)

  • 4 Quebec (6)

  • 5 Alaska (10)

  • 6 Chile (8)

  • 7 Utah (15)

  • 8 Arizona (9)

  • 9 Yukon (13)

  • 10 Northwest Territories (21)

Here are Canada’s IAI rankings:

  • 3 Saskatchewan (2)

  • 4 Quebec (6)

  • 9 Yukon (13)

  • 10 Northwest Territories (21)

  • 11 Newfoundland and Labrador (11)

  • 12 Manitoba (18)

  • 15 Nunavut (26)

  • 18 British Columbia (20)

  • 20 Ontario (7)

  • 30 New Brunswick (30)

  • 51 Alberta (49)

  • 57 Nova Scotia (56)

Despite Ontario’s fall from grace, the province’s policy ratings changed little from last year. Relative to other jurisdictions, however, the province plummeted. Concerns include disputed land claims, as well as uncertainty about protected areas and environmental regulations.

The Policy Perception Index ignored geology to focus on how government treats miners and explorers. Saskatchewan ranked first worldwide, as seen in these Canadian standings:

The evidence is clear—mineral deposits alone are not enough to attract precious commodity investment dollars. A sound regulatory regime coupled with competitive fiscal policies is key to making a jurisdiction attractive in the eyes of mining investors.—Ashley Stedman,
senior policy analyst,
the Fraser Institute

  • 1 Saskatchewan (3)

  • 9 New Brunswick (13)

  • 10 Quebec (9)

  • 11 Nova Scotia (24)

  • 14 Alberta (16)

  • 18 Newfoundland (10)

  • 24 Yukon (22)

  • 30 Ontario (20)

  • 33 Manitoba (27)

  • 42 NWT (42)

  • 44 B.C. (36)

  • 45 Nunavut (44)

The NWT and Nunavut’s indifferent PPI performance suggests greater appreciation of the territories’ geology boosted their IAI rank.

This year’s study included a chapter on exploration permitting, previously the subject of a separate Fraser Institute study. Twenty-two jurisdictions in Canada, the U.S., Australia and Scandinavia were evaluated for time, transparency and certainty. Cumulatively, the six American states did best, with 72% of explorers saying they got permits within six months, compared with 69% for the eight Canadian provinces, 53% for the two Scandinavian countries (Finland and Sweden) and 34% for the six Australian states.

A majority of respondents working in Canada (56%) said permitting waits had grown over the last decade, compared with 52% in Australia, 45% in Scandinavia and 28% in the U.S.

A lack of permitting transparency was cited as an investment deterrent by 48% of respondents working in Australia, 44% in Canada, 33% in Scandinavia and 24% in the U.S.

Eighty-eight percent of explorers working in the U.S. and Scandinavia expressed confidence that they’d eventually get permits, followed by 77% for Australia and 73% for Canada.

Saskatchewan led Canada for timeline certainty, transparency and, with Quebec, confidence that permits would eventually come through.

As for the IAI’s 10 worst, they include Bolivia, despite some recent efforts to encourage development; China, the only east Asian country in the study; and problem-plagued Venezuela.

  • 74 Bolivia (86)

  • 75 La Rioja province, Argentina (80)

  • 76 Dominican Republic (72)

  • 77 Ethiopia (81)

  • 78 China (83)

  • 79 Panama (77)

  • 80 Guatemala (91)

  • 81 Nicaragua (82)

  • 82 Neuquen province, Argentina (57)

  • 83 Venezuela (85)

Explorers made up nearly 52% of survey respondents, producers just over 25%, consulting companies over 16% and others nearly 8%.

“The evidence is clear—mineral deposits alone are not enough to attract precious commodity investment dollars,” said Ashley Stedman, who co-wrote the study with Kenneth P. Green. “A sound regulatory regime coupled with competitive fiscal policies is key to making a jurisdiction attractive in the eyes of mining investors.”

Download the Fraser Institute Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2018.

Belmont Resources readies the rig for more Nevada lithium drilling

November 22nd, 2018

by Greg Klein | November 22, 2018

Belmont Resources readies the rig for more Nevada lithium drilling

With positive assays from previous drilling,
Belmont Resources returns for another
campaign at Kibby Basin.

Following lithium results released earlier this month, Belmont Resources’ (TSXV:BEA) drill contractors return to the Kibby Basin project imminently for another attack. The target this time will be 2,300 metres northeast of hole KB-3, where the most recent assays showed an average 393 ppm lithium over 42.4 metres. Previous results for the same hole averaged 415 ppm over 30.5 metres.

The crew expects rotary drilling to spend a week sinking the next hole, KB-4, to an initial depth of about 366 metres. Downhole geophysics will identify layers to be sampled and deeper drilling may follow.

Work takes place on a magnetotelluric conductor found last February, which followed a gravity survey conducted in 2016.

The company interprets the 2,056-hectare project’s geology to hold similarities with Nevada’s lithium-producing Clayton Valley, 65 kilometres south.

Belmont also shares 50/50 ownership in two Saskatchewan uranium properties with International Montoro Resources TSXV:IMT.

Belmont closed a private placement totalling $375,000 in July.

Read Isabel Belger’s interview with CFO/director Gary Musil.

Drill-ready money

November 19th, 2018

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

by Greg Klein

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Osisko Mining’s (TSX:OSK) Windfall project offers one reason why
Quebec leads Canada and gold leads metals for exploration spending.
(Photo: Osisko Mining)

 

Blockchain might offer intrigue and cannabis promises a buzz, but mineral exploration still attracts growing interest. A healthy upswing this year will bring Canadian projects a nearly 8% spending increase to $2.36 billion, the industry’s highest amount since 2012. According to recently released data, that’s part of an international trend that puts Canada at the top of a worldwide resurgence.

The $2.36 billion allotted for Canadian exploration and deposit appraisal forms just a small part of the year’s total mineral resource development investments, which see $11.86 billion committed to this country, up from $10.61 billion in 2017.

Those numbers come from Natural Resources Canada, which surveyed companies between April and September on their spending intentions within the country for 2018. The $2.36-billion figure includes engineering, economic and feasibility studies, along with environmental work and general expenses.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Trial extraction for Pure Gold Mining’s (TSXV:PGM)
Madsen feasibility studies encourages interest in
Ontario’s Red Lake region. (Photo: Pure Gold Mining)

Of that number, Quebec edges out Ontario for first place with $623.1 million in spending this year, 26.4% of Canada’s total. Ontario’s share comes to $567.5 million or 24%. Last year’s totals came to $573.9 million for Quebec and $539.7 million for its western neighbour. Prior to that, however, Ontario held a comfortable lead year after year.

Third-place British Columbia gets $335.5 million or 14.2% of Canada’s total this year, an increase from $302.6 million in 2017.

On a per-capita basis, Yukon’s enjoying an exceptional year with an expected $249.4 million or 10.6% of Canada’s total. That’s the territory’s second substantial increase in a row, following $168.7 million the previous year.

Saskatchewan dips this year to $187.2 million (7.9%) from $191.2 million in 2017. But the Fraser Institute’s last survey of mining jurisdictions placed the province first in Canada and second worldwide.

Nunavut drops too, for the third consecutive time, to $143.9 million (6.1%), compared with $177 million in 2017. The Northwest Territories’ forecast declines to $86.2 million (3.7%) this year after $91.2 million last year.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Among companies leading Yukon’s exceptional performance
is White Gold TSXV:WGO, with substantial backing from
Agnico Eagle Mines TSX:AEM and Kinross Gold TSX:K.
(Photo: White Gold)

Especially troubling when contrasted with Yukon’s performance, data for the other territories prompted NWT & Nunavut Chamber of Mines president Gary Vivian to call on federal, territorial and native governments and boards to help the industry “by creating certainty around land access, by reducing unnecessary complexity and by addressing the higher costs they face working in the North. Sustaining and growing future mining benefits depend on it.”

The pursuit of precious metals accounts for $1.5 billion in spending, nearly 64% of Canadian exploration. Ontario gets almost 31% of the precious metals attention, with 27% going to Quebec.

Base metals, mostly in Quebec, B.C. and Ontario, get 15.5% of the year’s total. Uranium gets 5%, almost entirely in Saskatchewan. Diamonds get nearly 4%, most of it going to the NWT and Saskatchewan. But nearly 11% of this year’s total goes to a category vaguely attributed to other metals, along with coal and additional non-metals.

Getting back to this year’s exploration total ($2.36 billion, remember?), senior companies commit themselves to nearly 55%, compared with nearly 51% last year. But the juniors’ share remains proportionately much larger than the pre-2017 years.

Additional encouragement—and on an international level—comes from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Using different methodology to produce different results, the Metals and Mining Research team found worldwide budgets for nonferrous exploration jumping 19% this year to $10.1 billion.

Juniors have been reaping the biggest budget gains at 35%. Over 1,651 functional exploration companies represent an 8% improvement over last year and the first such increase since 2012. But that’s “still about 900 companies less than in 2012, representing a one-third culling of active explorers over the past five years.”

The most dramatic spending increase hit cobalt and lithium, this year undergoing an 82% leap in exploration spending. That’s part of a 500% climb since 2015, SPGMI says.

Canada’s hitting a six-year high in exploration spending

Nemaska Lithium’s Whabouchi project in Quebec
contributes to the enthusiasm for energy metals.
(Photo: Nemaska Lithium)

Even so, precious and base metals retained their prominence as gold continues “to benefit the most from the industry recovery.” The global strive for yellow metal will claim $4.86 billion this year, up from $4.05 billion in 2017. Base metals spending will grow by $600 million to $3.04 billion. “Copper remained by far the most attractive of the base metals, although zinc allocations have increased the most, rising 37% in 2018, the report states. “Budgets are up for all targets except uranium.”

SPGMI finds Canada keeping its global top spot for nonferrous exploration with a 31% year-on-year budget increase. Second-place Australia achieved a 23% rise. The U.S. total places third, although with a 34% increase over the country’s 2017 performance.

In each of the top three countries, over 55% of the budgets focused on gold.

“Improved metals prices and margins since 2016 have encouraged producers to expand their organic efforts the past two years,” commented SPGMI’s Mark Ferguson. “Over the same period, equity market support for the junior explorers has improved, leading to an uptick in the number and size of completed financings. This allowed the group to increase exploration budgets by 35% in 2018.”