Wednesday 8th February 2023 Font size:

Exploration activities continue to grow

Tuesday, August 30th, 2022

Mineral exploration statistics for the June 2022 quarter, released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), have shown an increase in exploration across Australia.

Exploration expenditure across Australia increased by 23.18 per cent, up by $198.3 million to $1.05 billion in original terms, and backed by record expenditure of $673.1m in Western Australia.

Greenfield exploration expenditure was up $52.6m to $312.9m, an increase of 20.21 per cent, while exploration on existing deposits also saw an increase of 24.49 per cent to $740.7m.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) chief executive officer Warren Pearce said Australia’s minerals sector had continued to be resilient throughout COVID.

“Despite the challenges impacting the ability to staff operations and access to tenements, greenfield expenditure has grown by 1.85 per cent and brownfield expenditure by 22.3 per cent, year-on-year,” he said.

“Metres drilled for this quarter increased by 17.43 per cent, with drilling of existing deposits increasing by 20.88 per cent, and greenfield drilling by 9.87 per cent.

“Whilst staffing shortages have significantly impacted drilling programs across the nation for the quarter, heightened demand for drill rigs and exploration drilling remains.”

Iron ore experienced the greatest increase in expenditure this quarter, increasing by 44 per cent to $201m. Nickel and cobalt also recorded a strong 24 per cent lift to $80.2m, demonstrating the continued demand for Australia’s critical minerals.

With an increase of 28 per cent in exploration expenditure this quarter, WA recorded its highest levels of expenditure ever.

But the Minerals Council of Australia said while the results were encouraging, more must be done for Australia to compete with emerging, low cost mining jurisdictions around the world.

MCA chief executive Tania Constavble said Australia must retain its geoscience technology advantage through ongoing public investment in research and development, and commit to a national program of pre-competitive geological surveys such as Geoscience Australia’s highly successful Exploring for the Future program.

“The government should provide competitive regulatory settings on tax, workplace relations, safeguards mechanism and streamlined environmental assessments and approvals with states and the Northern Territory,” she said.

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