Has exploration spending bottomed out? Which companies are most optimistic? Will grassroots project spending pick up? E&MJ looks for answers.

A quick scan of the latest annual and year-end reports from some of the world’s major mining companies confirms what many in the industry have been seeing at first hand for several years now. In conjunction with their sell-off of non-core and under-performing assets, companies have become increasingly cautious about their exploration spending as they look for ways to cut costs and streamline their operations.

This is, of course, nothing new to anyone who has been involved in mining and exploration though a number of economic cycles. It is a sad but true fact that mining still seems to be locked into a self-perpetuating boom-and-bust mentality, spending like there is no tomorrow when commodity prices are high, and then suffering the consequences in each succeeding downturn. The current cycle is, unfortunately, no exception.

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