A new S&P Global Market Intelligence study has revealed that mining companies are allocating billions of dollars to gold exploration despite a global push for green-energy adoption. Although 2023 registered a $1.1 billion drop in funding for gold exploration, the precious metal still makes up 46% of global mining exploration budgets.
Gold budgets fell by 16% ($1.1 billion year-on-year loss) to a little under $6 billion, but gold still attracted the majority of mining exploration investment in 2023. This was despite a sharp increase in investment in electric vehicle battery metals such as lithium and nickel as well as uranium, rare earth and copper amid a global green-energy transition.
Although these metals are poised to play a significant role in the green economy, and many of them are predicted to run into supply issues in a few short years, gold still plays a dominant role in mineral exploration. With all the combined outflows into energy transition metals such as lithium failing to reach the investment in gold exploration, it is clear that mining companies are still incredibly invested in the precious metal.
Gold prices recently surged after months of lows when the terrorist group Hamas attacked Israel and triggered a violent conflict that has left many pundits afraid of a wider oil conflict in the Middle East region. The ongoing wars in Gaza and Ukraine as well as a plethora of geopolitical issues and a struggling global economy have caused many investors to add more gold to their portfolios in recent weeks. With no end in sight for the Ukraine or Gaza conflicts, gold’s safe-haven appeal may support its prices into 2024.
Unlike other minerals and metals, gold budgets are typically driven by junior mining companies. Such junior companies accounted for 38% of all gold-exploration budgets this year, and their budget reductions were largely responsible for the overall drop in gold exploration allocations in 2023.
Junior gold companies in Canada cut their budgets by around $400 million, but competitors in the Asia Pacific saw their budgets rise marginally from a relatively low base. Although gold still accounts for a large chunk of mining exploration budgets, the drop in allocations points to the scarcity of new funding among junior mining companies in the gold-exploration segment.
The mining sector as a whole has struggled to attract new investment for several years now, and it seems the capital shortage is also affecting junior gold-exploration companies.
With exploration companies such as Reunion Gold Corp. (TSX.V: RGD) (OTCQX: RGDFF) very active in different jurisdictions of interest, the future supply of gold is almost assured despite the drop in the funds being directed toward exploration activities in the wider industry.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Reunion Gold Corp. (TSX.V: RGD) (OTCQX: RGDFF) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/RGDFF
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