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This is the second of five articles on the forecasts, and opinions, from Mining Beacon's 5,000 registered delegates at its eight conferences during 2019 in Hong Kong, New York, Helsinki, Vancouver, Brisbane, Melbourne and two in London.

Mining Beacon regularly polls the views of delegates at its conferences, and because of their level of seniority and expertise (not least from regularly attending expert presentations) these opinions have significant value. 

The polled delegate opinions have been divided into five categories: commodities, countries, companies, technology and mining generally. In this summary, we look at the poll results on questions related to national activity and regional-investment trends.

Country Consensus

At the Mines and Money Asia conference in Hong Kong during April 2019, delegates were asked for their opinion of the most exciting target countries for mining investment in South East Asia. The top choices in a multiple-choice poll were Indonesia and Myanmar, each with a 25% share of the total (fully 44% of the respondees mentioned these countries), and Thailand (13% of the total votes).

The same delegates were asked about the most exciting countries in Central and North Asia, with Mongolia getting fully 57% of the total votes cast (80% of those polled listed the country in their ranking). Kazakhstan was the only other country to register significant support, scoring 29% of the total (being mentioned by 40% of those polled).

Poll results captured on-site at Mines and Money Asia 2019

The biggest risk facing the Asian mining industry were seen by MM Asia delegates as the social and environmental licence to operate (35% of the total votes cast), security of tenure (30%) and operational issues (20%).

The same set of questions were amongst those asked of delegates at Energy Mines and Money in Brisbane during June 2019. Delegates voted almost exactly the same way as those in Hong Kong; with Indonesia and Myanmar again topping the poll for SE Asia countries, and Mongolia and Kazakhstan getting the nod for Central and North Asia.

Delegates at the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) in Melbourne during October 2019 were asked their opinion of the single most prospective mining country in Latin America. Peru secured 35% of the vote, with Chile getting 27%, Ecuador 19% and Brazil 15%.

There were no relevant 'geographic' poll questions at MM New York (in May 2019), Mines and Technology (MT) Helsinki (also May 2019), MT Vancouver (June 2019) or the two conferences in London during November 2019. 

The Takeaway: The popularity of Peru and Chile in Latin America, Mongolia and Kazakhstan in C&N Asia, and Indonesia in SE Asia, come as no surprise. The votes for Myanmar, however, were not expected given the ongoing political problems in the country. More generally, the difficulty for the global exploration sector is, of course, the shortage of finance. Overall exploration budgets fell 3% last year to US$9.8 billion, with the budget of junior companies dropping 10%. Moreover, the exploration expenditure was dominated last year, as usual, by Australia (where allocated expenditure rose 15% to a 17-year high of US$1.5 billion), Canada (down 9% to US$1.31 billion) and the USA (up 11% to US$0.94 billion). These three countries accounted for over 38% of the global total in 2019, leaving sparse pickings for everyone else. 

Do you agree with the opinion of our delegates in 2019? Comment below to let us know what you think about the polling results.

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