The Western Australian Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS) has released its latest statistics release for 2018-19.
According to the figures, in 2018–19, WA’s mineral and petroleum industry reported record sales of $145 billion. The bulk of the $30 billion increase on 2017–18 was the result of improved iron ore prices and increasing liquefied natural gas volumes as projects continue to move towards capacity. Mineral commodities still dominate the state’s resources sector, accounting for 74 per cent, or $107 billion, of total sales value.
Iron ore was the most valuable commodity, accounting for 73 per cent of mineral sales and 54 per cent of overall sales. Iron ore recorded sales valued at $78.2 billion in 2018–19, up 26 per cent on the previous year and a new record for iron ore sales values. This was largely achieved on the back of improved iron ore prices as the volume of iron ore sold actually declined from 839 million tonnes (Mt) to just less than 794 Mt.
Gold sales volume decreased for the first time since 2014–15, however, continued gold price strength saw the value of the sector reach a new high of almost $12 billion. This was a five per cent increase on 2017–18 value.
Alumina and bauxite sales accounted for almost 8 per cent of mineral sales and six per cent of total sales.
Sales volumes increased more than four per cent year–on–year, primarily due to increased bauxite sales rather than alumina sales. This meant that the value of the sector increased 25 per cent from to $6.6 billion in 2017–18 to $8.3 billion in 2018–19.
WA’s nickel sector was relatively stable for the period with prices supporting a small (one per cent) increase in sales value to almost $2.7 billion despite a six per cent decline in nickel sales volumes.
The remaining minerals sales values comprised:
- Base metal sales of slightly less than $1.6 billion (down six per cent);
- Coal sales of $319 million (down four per cent);
- Cobalt sales of $331 million (down 35 per cent);
- Mineral sands sales of $529 million (up 39 per cent);
- Salt sales of $303 million (down less than one per cent);
- Spodumene sales of $1.55 billion (down two per cent).
Moreover, the average number of individuals employed in the WA minerals sector in 2018-19 was 124,010, up from 112,008 on the year prior.
Mines and Petroleum Minister, Bill Johnston, said these record figures reflect the strength of the WA Government’s commitment to supporting initiatives such as the Exploration Incentive Scheme and Streamline WA, which is improving regulatory practice.
“Interest and investment in the resources sector remains strong, WA projects in the pipeline had an estimated value of $108 billion in September 2019.”
More information on the DMRIS figures can be found here.