Africa remains one of the top mining hot spots of the world, accounting for 13% of the global exploration budget in 2016 with a budget of US$916 million. However, the 2016 budget was 24% lower than in 2015, nudging the region to fourth place worldwide from third place in 2015. Out of Africa's 34 countries, only the Democratic Republic of the Congo received budgets over US$100 million last year.
In the four quarter of 2016, reported drilling activity in Africa surged to 1,183 drill holes, compared to 844 in the third quarter. Gold has long been the top drilling target in Africa; however, the number of drilling announcements for graphite matched those for gold in the last quarter.
Gold was the most valuable commodity produced in the region, with an estimated US$14.6 billion in sales revenues in 2015, calculated by multiplying 2015 total commodity production by 2015 average spot prices. Platinum group metals and copper were next with estimated revenues of US$6.4 billion and US$3.6 billion, respectively.
Copper projects accounted for the largest amount of planned and completed capital spending in 2016, mainly comprising announced investments for assets in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Ivanhoe Mines announced a US$1.81 billion investment for the Kamoa-Kakula copper project in December 2016, including initial, sustaining and expansion capital for the Kakula Phase 1 development.Gold attracted the second-largest capital commitment at US$4.6 billion, of which a large portion was announced for assets in Botswana and Mauritania.
Coal and iron ore had the highest in situ values for reported reserves and resources as of December 27, 2016, with values totaling US$7.6 trillion and US$5.9 trillion respectively.
South Africa and Morocco were the key contributors in terms of resource value by country, based mostly on coal and PGM in South Africa and on phosphates in Morocco.Financings targeted for Africa accounted for 15.2% of the total funds raised globally in the third quarter, improving to US$1.04 billion, compared with US$530 million raised in the year-ago quarter.
For an overview of key mining activities in Africa, including drilling and development activity, commodity revenues, reserves and resources in situ values, capital raisings and corporate exploration budgets, download the infographic.