This paper considers the practical problem of applying economic analysis to designing minerals exploration and data collection strategies for developing countries. Formal decision rules for the design of government exploration and minerals-data-collection programs are derived by using a minerals-industry planning model that has been extended to include an exploration function. Rules derived are applicable to centrally planned minerals industries as well as market-oriented minerals sectors. They pertain to the spatial allocation of exploration effort and to the allocation of activities between government and private concerns for market-oriented economies. Programs characterized by uniform expenditures, uniform information coverage across regions, or uniform-density grid drilling progrmas are shown to be inferior to the strategy derived. Moreover, for market-oriented economies, the economically optimal mix in exploration activities between private and government data collection would require that only private firms assess local sites and that government agencies carry out regional surveys. ?? 1981.