South America

The last decade has been a period of historic highs and historic lows in the mining sector worldwide. With the crazy ups and downs, in some regions salaries have been affected for those working in the mining industry because of the downturn that followed the glory days.

Those in exploration have not gotten off lightly, and in many regions have faced both job losses and instability, because when things are down in mining, exploration is often one of the first areas to suffer.

In many regions it seems that those working in exploration have not only suffered in terms of job losses and lack of job security, but also salary wise because of the downturn in mining in recent years, and exploration salaries are for some, lower in 2018, than they were in the days before the downturn.

Both expats and nationals have felt the crunch salary wise in many areas of the world, and how this has affected salaries for exploration managers in South America would be interesting to see.

According to CostMine’s 2014 International Compensation Guidelines for Mining Exploration survey results, exploration managers in South America were earning as follows in 2014:


According to the CostMine 2014 International Compensation Guidelines for Mining Exploration survey results, In 2014 expatriate exploration geologists located in Venezuela were earning the highest salaries in South America, followed by those in Bolivia and then Columbia. Those based in Suriname, Brazil and Chile were earning the least.

The reason that expatriates geologist managers based in Venezuela, Bolivia and Columbia were earning more than countries such as Brazil and Chile, is probably to do with the fact that it is more difficult to attract expatriates to these countries than it is to countries such as Brazil and Chile which seem to be more desirable destinations for expatriates in mining to want to work.

The best paid national exploration geologists in South America, were working in Chile, Brazil and Peru in 2014, with those in Columbia and Argentina earning the least.

If you are working in South America as an exploration manager, you can help us decide whether your salary is in line with what it should be in 2018, and how it compares to others in the region, by completing the 2018 CostMine survey that is currently in the works.

You can also contact Krista at for more information on the 2018 CostMine survey.


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