Political tensions across the globe provided commodity markets cause for concern throughout 2018, but this was not enough to offset a bumper year for the Western Australian resources industry.
Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry experienced record sales of $127.4 billion in 2018, according to new statistics by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
This eclipsed the previous calendar year record value of $116 billion set in 2013 and was greater than the financial year record of $123 billion set in 2013-14.
The bulk of the almost $18 billion year-on-year increase was attributed to higher liquefied natural gas (LNG) volumes and prices.
The petroleum sector (comprising crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas), accounted for 28 per cent of the total value of WA’s mineral and petroleum sales in 2018. The sector was valued at a record $35.3 billion in 2018, an increase of 63 per cent from $21.7 billion in 2017.
Despite this, mineral commodities still dominate the state’s resources sector, accounting for 72 per cent, or $92 billion, of total sales value.
Below are Western Australia’s 2018 mineral sector highlights:
- Iron ore remains by far the most valuable commodity, accounting for 69 per cent of mineral sales and 50 per cent of overall sales. Iron ore recorded sales valued at $64 billion in 2018, up slightly (less than one per cent) from the year prior.
- Gold sales volumes increased for the third year in a row to reach 212 tonnes (7.5 million ounces) in 2018 – their highest level since 1998.
- The value of the alumina and bauxite sector increased 35 per cent to $7.9 billion in 2018 on the back of stronger alumina prices. As a result, alumina and bauxite sales accounted for 8.6 per cent of mineral sales in 2018 up from 6.8 per cent in 2017.
- While WA’s nickel sector has struggled in recent years, and sales were lower again in 2018, higher nickel prices delivered a 16 per cent increase in the value of the sector from $2.3 billion in 2017 to $2.6 billion in 2018.
Further to this, the average number of workers in the WA minerals sector in 2018 was recorded as 120,437, an increase from 111,000 in 2017.
In commenting on the news, Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston said creating and supporting jobs for Western Australians is the Government’s top priority.
“Together, the iron ore and gold sectors accounted for about 70 per cent of mineral sector jobs in 2018; it’s also pleasing to see further growth in LNG and lithium,” the Minister said.
The Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety’s Mineral and Petroleum Commodity Review 2018 can be found here.