Mine Exploration Expands in North America


"Low geopolitical risk, reasonable costs spur mining renaissance in North America."

The strong economic outlook for miners has encouraged production across the world, and in North America a sort of renaissance of mining has begun.

Senior mining companies in Canada and the U.S. with existing deposits are doing more exploration on their lands, and mines that were shuttered after becoming unprofitable when metals priced plunged in the late 1980s and early 1990s are being considered again.

New technology has helped miners get at harder-to-reach deposits, while states and provinces see the allure of high-paying jobs for their residents.

Globally, nonferrous exploration budgets in 2010 totaled $11.2 billion, up 45% from 2009, according to a study done by Metals Economics Group, which was released at the recent Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada's conference in Toronto. Regionally, Latin America was the top area for exploration, while Canada was the top country overall. More than half of that exploration budget went to find gold, with copper a distant second.

The group's study is based on information obtained from more than 3,200 mining and exploration companies globally, it said.

In North America, the study showed that planned exploration spending in Canada rose 73% in 2010 and 75% in the U.S.

In addition to the economics making a difference in reopening mines or expanding existing mines, several industry sources said geopolitical risk in North America is lower than in other parts of the world. Considering the current turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa, sensitivity on this issue has been heightened.

Get Our Streetwise Reports Newsletter Free

A valid email address is required to subscribe