The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has published the September quarter 2020 mineral exploration figures which highlight another increase in mineral exploration from the previous quarter.
“Total mineral expenditure for the September quarter 2020 was 3 per cent higher than September 2019, demonstrating the strength of Australia’s mineral exploration, and its strong growth despite COVID-19,” said Warren Pearce, Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC).
Mineral exploration expenditure grew 9 per cent (up $61.6 million) in the September quarter 2020 compared to the previous quarter, to $744.9 million. Greenfield expenditure lifted 12 per cent (up $28.5 million) to $257.5 million and brownfield expenditure rose 7 per cent (up $33.1 million) to $487.4 million.
Metres drilled for greenfields exploration climbed 23 per cent while brownfields increased by 17 per cent. The largest increase of minerals sought came from expenditure on silver, lead, zinc (up 55.9 per cent to $13.1 million), nickel, cobalt (up 17.2 per cent to $48.9 million), gold (up 17 per cent to $356.1 million), and diamonds (up 140 per cent to $1.2 million). Iron ore also increased (up 12.5 per cent to $111 million).
“The continued increase in greenfield mineral exploration expenditure this quarter comes off the back of significant capital raisings in the June quarter with $1.34 billion raised across the exploration sector, supporting new exploration programs,” said Mr Pearce.
“The ability of Australian mineral exploration and mining companies to continue operating where possible, in adherence with COVID-19 restrictions, has driven interest in mineral exploration following a number of recent promising discoveries in multiple jurisdictions.”
Total expenditure increased in Western Australia by 17.2 per cent, Northern Territory by 15.6 per cent, Queensland by 9.3 per cent, and Tasmania by 6.5 per cent. However, those jurisdictions more affected by COVID-19 fell; New South Wales fell by 21.38 per cent, Victoria by 12.85 per cent, and South Australia by 10.71 per cent.
Mr Pearce noted that Western Australia’s minerals sector continues to lead the nation’s emergence from COVID-19 constraints.
“Total expenditure grew by $70.9 million to $483.3 million. For context, the previous year (September 2019) saw a $44.6 million growth quarter on quarter,” he said.
“Today’s figures should give further confidence to investors that Australia’s mineral exploration companies continue to work hard to discover new mines.”
“The discovery and development of new mines will continue to provide jobs and ongoing economic and social benefits for Australians,” Mr Pearce concluded.
Note: All figures used in this media release are original, not seasonally adjusted. For further data visit here.