MAC/20: Mines and Communities

Latin America still top of exploration investment league

Published by MAC on 2005-05-04

Latin America still top of exploration investment league

May 4, 2005

http://www.bnamericas.com/

Latin America continues to be the top destination for funds earmarked for mineral exploration, according to a report produced by the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (Eclac).

In 2004, US$774mn - more than a fifth of global exploration resources - were assigned for the countries of Latin America, the study said.

The Latin American country that received the largest share was Peru with US$196mn followed by Mexico with US$154mn, Brazil with US$131mn, Chile with US$109mn and Argentina with US$53.4mn.

The report, called "Operating Conditions and Characteristics of the Latin American Mining Industry from 2004-2005," points out that for the first time in many years Chile is not the biggest receiver of mining exploration investment in the continent.

However, "this does not mean that the country has lost its competitiveness but rather reflects the interest of companies to open and expand their investment portfolios and seek countries where there is still a lot to be discovered," said the report's author, Eduardo Chaparro.

Other Countries

The country that continues to head the ranking is Canada with US$697mn last year, accounting for 19.1% of global investment in mineral exploration, followed by Australia with US$524mn or 14.7% of the total, according to the study.

In third place is the US with US$283mn, or 7.9% of overall global investments.

Strong demand for metals "has spurred exploration investment and reactivation of mines that some years ago were shut down due to the drop in metal and mineral prices," the document added.

In 2004, investment in exploration of all minerals grew compared to 2003, led by copper (up 69.9%), gold (67.8%), nickel (52.4%), diamonds (47.3%) and zinc (35.4%).

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