S&P Global Market Intelligence says the global budget for non-ferrous metals exploration will increase 20% during 2018, according to its projections, given the good state of metals prices and renewed optimism in the industry. Meanwhile, and as announced by the consulting company last October, spending on non-ferrous metals exploration increased to an estimated $7.95 billion around the world, equivalent to 14% higher than in 2016 record.Data and analysis are based on information collected from more than 3,000 mining and exploration companies worldwide, of which 1,535 had exploration budgets for 2017. Considering estimate budgets that could not be obtained, the 2017 worldwide exploration budget totals $8.4 billion.This is the first increase of these budgets in the last five years (2012) led by the robust gold sector, for which the exploration budget increased 22%, showing a recovery since mid-2016.The prospects for base metals also recovered especially in the second half of the year and metals for batteries, such as lithium and cobalt, attracted attention.The report also indicates that there was a strong increase in drilling activity reported in the fourth quarter of 2017 and financing closed the year with a good performance.Canada (14%), Australia (15%) and United States (8%) were the countries that continued to lead interest in global exploration expenditure, with allocations for a total of $5.55 billion. Meanwhile, Peru received $517 million expenditure, 6.5% of the world’s total, and was Latin America’s second after Chile, which attracted $603 million, or 7.6% of the world’s total.“We know that the juniors have endured the worst of the downturn since 2012, accounting for most of the 40% drop in the number of active explorers over the past five years. However, the surviving juniors made strong comeback in 2017 and have increased their aggregate exploration budget by 23% year over year, including a 41% increase in gold only allocations”, said Mark Ferguson, Associate Research Director, Metals & Mining of S&P Global Market Intelligence.