The latest Earth Resources Regulation Statistical Report confirms the growing contribution by Victoria’s mining and exploration sectors to jobs and support for more economically diverse regions.
Gold mining is now a $1.8 billion industry with gold production reaching the highest level in decades, with Victoria producing four times the amount of gold it did only five years ago.
Data for 2019-20 highlights that gold mining expenditure increased 33.3 per cent from $316.9 million a year prior to reach $422.5 million and gold production increased almost 40 per cent from 567,501 ounces in 2018-19 to 792,267 ounces in 2019-20.
The report outlines that mineral exploration spending reached $124 million in 2019-20, up from $47.5 million, or 2.5 times the amount spent on exploration five years ago (2014-15). Gold exploration also reached $81.4 million in 2019-20, an increase from $16.4 million five years ago.
Mineral sands exploration almost quadrupled over five years, rising from $6.5 million to $23.9 million since 2015-16.
Executive Director of the Minerals Council of Australia’s Victoria Division, James Sorahan, welcomed the findings, stating that the Murray Basin has the world’s largest known deposits of mineral sands which have attracted a number of mineral sands projects – helping to create job opportunities in regional Victoria, particularly in the Wimmera and east Gippsland.
Mr Sorahan said around three-quarters of spending by Victorian mines stays in Victoria through wages, goods and services and taxes.
“The minerals industry employs Victorian geologists, geophysicists, field assistants, drillers, laboratory personnel and geoscientists across the state, with wages well above the all-industries average,” he said.
“Providing jobs for young people to stay in regional areas, and creating opportunities for skilled Australians to move to regional Victoria is critical to our state’s development and reducing inequality gaps between Melbourne and the regions.”
The Earth Resources Regulation 2019-20 Annual Statistical Report can be found here.