By Andy Blamey and Alisdair Bowles
LONDON: Major gold miners have significantly shifted their exploration focus over the past decade, favoring increased mine-site exploration at the expense of grassroots exploration, SNL Metals & Mining said Monday.
SNL's recently released profiles of the world's top 20 gold producers show that from 2006 to 2015, the share of the group's total gold exploration budgets devoted to near-mine work rose from 44% to 54%, while the share allocated to greenfields programs decreased from 40% to 22%.
"In dollar terms, mine-site exploration's lead over grassroots exploration jumped from a mere $36 million in 2006 to $470 million in 2015," SNL said.
Since the total gold exploration budget of top gold producers reached a high of $3.01 billion in 2012, both grassroots and late-stage budgets have fallen sharply, while the decline in mine-site allocations has been much less steep.