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The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has found that there has been an increase in mineral exploration expenditure in South Australia and Tasmania.

Spending on mineral exploration in South Australia has outdone an eleven year old record.

The ABS data shows that $64.2 million was spent on exploration in the March quarter, up $16.7 million on the December 2022 quarter. This surpasses the $61 million spent on exploration in South Australia’s previous record-earning quarter to December 2012.

South Australia’s mineral exploration spend has been bolstered by BHP’s ramp-up in exploration activity at its Oak Dam prospect.

Nationally, the mineral exploration spend increased 0.7 per cent in the quarter and was four per cent higher than 12 months ago.

Petroleum exploration in Australia for the March quarter reached $20.7 million, with national expenditure reaching $244 million, up 16.3 per cent from the December 2022 quarter.

Exploration expenditure in Tasmania has also grown significantly, with the latest ABS data showing $44.5 million was spent in the 12 months to March 2023.

Tasmania’s Minister for Resources Felix Ellis said that mineral exploration in the state is now at its highest level on record.

“There has been an increase in exploration expenditure of 93 per cent on the preceding 12 month period,” Ellis said.

“We know the world will need the key and critical minerals that Tasmania has to help power the global shift to renewable energy and to support defence manufacturing. This is exactly why we are backing the industry to grow through programs like the Exploration Drilling Grant Initiative (EDGI) and Geoscience Initiative.”

The EDGI grants aim to provide a stimulus to greenfields exploration in Tasmania, especially for minerals included on the Australian critical minerals list. Since the program began, eight rounds have been released, with funding provided facilitating more than 14,000 metres of drilling.

The $2 million geoscience initiative is providing new data to underpin and de-risk the next generation of mineral exploration.