Miners are responding to a rosier metal outlook by increasing spending on exploration and releasing more assay results.

Base metal prices are up. Copper bounced off its 2015 nadir of $4,500 a tonne and in the last few months has found a range of $6,600 to $6,700 a tonne, a metal price that ING says is good level to sustain investment.

With better metal prices miners are asking for more money. In 2017 miners sought financing totalling $39B compared to $22B in 2016 according to data from Mining Intelligence.

And the size of the average funding request was up 25% in the past two years.

Juniors and miners are exploring.

According to National Resources Canada, the exploration spend has grown 37% in the last two years.

Total exploration spend in 2018 is forecast at $2.2B.

And consequently more core is heading to the lab.

The number of projects worldwide with assay results increased 57% in 2017 over the previous year.

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