Exploration on the rise

EXPLORATION in Australia is going strong, with expenditure reaching $A853.4 million in the June quarter and Queensland coal exploration investment rising by more than 80%, according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday.
Exploration on the rise Exploration on the rise Exploration on the rise Exploration on the rise Exploration on the rise

Coal cores from Macarthur Coal - Courtesy of Macarthur Coal.

Kristie Batten

The largest rise in expenditure was for coal exploration, up 84.9% or $93.1 million, to $202.7 million, with $184.4 million spent in Queensland.

Overall, the trend estimate was 8.9% or $70.1 million up on the previous quarter and a staggering 43.7% higher than the same time last year.

Unsurprisingly, the largest contribution to the rise in the trend estimate this quarter was in Western Australia, up 6.9% or $28.9 million, followed by Queensland, up 14.4% or $25.7 million.

The trend estimate for metres drilled rose 7% this quarter to 2.7 million metres, up 26.2% compared to last year.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of mineral exploration expenditure rose 4.4% (or $36 million) to $854.8 million, with the largest rise coming from Queensland, up 26% or $45.1 million.

Surprisingly, the only decrease was in WA, which posted a 5.5% or $24.9 million drop in expenditure.

In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure rose 39.6%, or $257.3 million to $907.4 million, with Queensland recording the largest rise, up 88.1% or $113.7 million, followed by WA, which was up 24.1% or $87.4 million.

Exploration of new deposits rose 35.9%, or $77.1 million to $292.1 million, with WA and Queensland again recording the largest contributions.

Expenditure on areas of existing deposits rose 41.4%, or $180.2 million, to $615.3 million.

Explorers spent $214.7 million looking for iron ore in Australia, with $189.9 million of the funds spent in WA.

The ABS is estimating December half expenditure of $1.6 billion or $1.8 billion seasonally adjusted.

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