WA production up but earnings, exploration down

WESTERN Australian exploration expenditure and export earnings fell in the three months to January 2015 but there were positives seen in production figures, according to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of WA.
WA production up but earnings, exploration down WA production up but earnings, exploration down WA production up but earnings, exploration down WA production up but earnings, exploration down WA production up but earnings, exploration down

The Premier mine near Collie.

Jack McGinn

CME said its latest quarterly economic brief reflected the impact of the downward trend in global commodity prices on the sector.

The report found export earnings fell 1.3% for the quarter to $A29.9 billion, with an overall decline of 10.9% since the December quarter of 2013.

Nickel earnings dropped 14.6%, gold fell 9.1% and iron ore lost 4.5% for the quarter, though copper bucked the trend, with earnings from exports up a massive 93.7%.

The report also revealed a seasonally adjusted quarter-on-quarter exploration expenditure decrease of 3.9% during the September quarter.

Petroleum, uranium and iron ore exploration drove the overall fall, with quarterly decreases of 28.2%, 22.1% and 29.9% respectively.

CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith said he hoped incentives introduced by the state and federal governments would mean the decline in exploration would be short-lived.

“Investment in exploration is the lifeblood of future industry,” he said.

“CME is hopeful the federal government’s new Exploration Development Incentive will provide a boost to the exploration sector.”

Howard-Smith said a 1.2% increase in iron ore production and a 10.3% increase in gas production provided more positive news for the sector.

“Notwithstanding the issues around price, it was pleasing to see production increases for bulk commodities of iron ore and gas,” he said.

“The significant investment made over the past few years is delivering record production and export numbers in Western Australia.”

In other areas, copper production was up 11.3% during the quarter, while nickel fell 3%.

The quarterly brief was prepared in conjunction with Deloitte Access Economics.

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