Mining Association of Canada | 2023 Report

The Mining Association of Canada | The Canadian Mining Story: Economic Impacts and Drivers for the Global Energy Transition 2023 28 International Exploration Globally, Canada has been a top destination for mineral exploration investment for the past forty years. Canada dropped to second place in 1992 for non-ferrous exploration budgets, surpassed by Australia. Canada regained the top position from 2004 through 2020, when it was again surpassed by Australia. In 2021, Canada was once again the top country by dollar value for non-ferrous exploration budgets. Non-ferrous exploration includes gold and silver, base metals, platinum group metals, diamonds, uranium, rare earths and potash, but specifically excludes iron ore, coal, aluminum, oil and gas and many industrial minerals. Global spending on exploration increased in 2021 to US$11.24 billion. While this was an increase from 2020, it remains substantially below the peak of US$20.5 billion in 2012. Expenditures on exploration were forecast to grow by 5-15% in 2022. MINERAL AND METAL PRICES Mineral and metal prices have a direct effect on the attractiveness of investment. When prices are high, investors are more likely to provide the capital required for projects. Given that most projects involving metals and minerals have a multi-year timeline, stable, increasing prices are the most desirable trend. Mineral and metal prices have varied dramatically during the pandemic years. Quick changes in demand and supply chain challenges meant that price volatility was the norm. The war in Ukraine caused a shortage of some commodities, further increasing price variability. In 2021, prices for metals varied substantially from their monthly minimum to their monthly maximum (see Figure 3). While gold prices were relatively stable, other metals like uranium and iron ore changed dramatically over the year. Metal Unit Low Value (month) High Value (month) % difference Aluminum US ¢/lb US$90.83 (Jan) US$133.08 (Oct) 47% Gold US $/tr. oz US$1,720.95 (Mar) US$1,867.31 (Jan) 9% Silver US $/tr. oz US$22.49 (Dec) US$27.40 (May) 22% Copper US $/lb US$3.61 (Jan) US$4.60 (May) 27% Nickel US $/lb US$7.44 (Mar) US$9.08 (Dec) 22% Zinc US $/lb US$1.23 (Jan) US$1.55 (Dec) 26% Iron Ore US $/DMT US$94.58 (Nov) US$214.43 (Jun) 127% Uranium US $/lb US$27.98 (Feb) US$45.75 (Nov) 64% Figure 3: 2021 Minimum and MaximumMonthly Prices for Selected Metals18 18 Markets Insider commodity prices for each metal except uranium, for example, Iron Ore. For Uranium, Cameco’s calculation of industry average prices.