Western Australia’s resources industry experienced record sales of $172 billion in the 2019-20 financial year, according to statistics released by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety.
Iron ore sales reached a record $103 billion on increased output and an eight-year price high, while gold sales also soared to an all-time high of almost $16 billion, with prices averaging more than $2,300 per ounce.
Mineral exploration expenditure hit $1.7 billion, an increase of 17 per cent from $1.4 billion in 2018-19.
Oil sales increased to $2.6 billion on higher volumes, despite lower prices across the first half of 2020, while nickel sales recovered to more than $3.1 billion, a four-year high.
A record average of 135,000 people were employed in the resources sector during 2019-20, up from 128,374 the previous year. Iron ore and nickel construction activities accounted for most of the growth, while exploration employment also increased 12 per cent.
According to modelling by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME), there will another 8000 skilled construction workers needed in the sector over the next 12 to 18 months to meet peak economic recovery demand.
Almost $19 billion was invested in WA’s resources sector, up from $17 billion in 2018-19. Total royalty revenue received by the WA Government for 2019-20 reached a record high of $9.29 billion, a 42 per cent increase on the previous financial year.
This represents the first year-on-year increase in mining and petroleum investment since the 2012-13 iron ore and LNG boom. There are currently more than $100 billion worth of projects in the pipeline.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said these record results underpin the importance and resilience of the resources sector as WA recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is particularly pleasing to see strong growth in exploration expenditure, which has been achieved despite the difficulties caused by the global pandemic.