According to Mineral and Petroleum June 2019 Quarterly Statistics published by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) this week, total mineral exploration expenditure increased 5.2 per cent ($31.3 million) to $629.6 million in the quarter.
The new ABS data outlines that the current quarter estimate is 16.5 per cent higher than the June quarter 2018 estimate, and expenditure rose in every state.
Western Australia was the largest contributor to the rise with an impressive $22.9m (up 6.3 per cent).
While metres drilled fell 1.2 per cent for the quarter, it was still 4.7 per cent higher the June quarter estimate for the previous year.
Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, Warren Pearce, said it was pleasing to see mineral exploration expenditure growth in every single State and Territory of Australia after a drop in the previous quarter.
Greenfield mineral exploration expenditure continued another quarter of growth in all states except Victoria where it fell by $1.6m declining for the third consecutive quarter.
Western Australia recorded an outstanding result with $184.3m of exploration expenditure – the second-highest on record.
In brownfields, mineral exploration expenditure grew in Victoria ($4.3m), Queensland ($19.9m), Western Australia ($35m) and Tasmania ($1.6m), remained the same in NSW, and dropped for South Australia and Northern Territory.
“Australia needs greater greenfields mineral exploration, and the significant growth in greenfields mineral exploration expenditure right across the country reflects the returning strength of the exploration sector,” Mr Pearce said.
“It has been a challenging environment for mineral exploration companies, however, the statistics are now supporting better growth in the industry.”
“Australia needs to continue to invest in mineral exploration to find the mines of the future and unlock the jobs and growth still waiting to be discovered,” said Mr Pearce.
The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) also noted that more than $2.3 billion was spent on minerals exploration in 2018-19. This investment is up 19 per cent from the previous year and has seen investment in gold exploration rise – also by 19 per cent – to a new record high of $964 million.
Chief Executive Officer of the MCA, Tania Constable, said exploration investment is creating and supporting jobs throughout the country, especially in regional Australia.
“When exploration investment translates to minerals production, Australia is the big winner. Mining is the country’s largest source of export revenue and has generated $212 billion in company tax and royalties for Australia over the last decade,” she commented.
“A strong minerals industry creates a stronger Australia.”