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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 21/01/2005   
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Contents >> Mining >> Mineral, oil and gas resources

The statistics of available mineral resources provided in table 16.11 are obtained from the annual publication Australia's Identified Mineral Resources produced by Geoscience Australia. They provide an indication of the extent of mineral resources available for extraction with the main focus being on economic demonstrated resources (EDR).

EDR is a measure of the resources that are established, analytically demonstrated or assumed with reasonable certainty to be profitable for extraction or production under defined investment assumptions. Classifying a mineral resource as EDR reflects a high degree of certainty as to the size and quality of the resource and its economic viability.

Australia has the world's largest EDR of bauxite, lead, mineral sands (ilmenite, rutile and zircon), nickel, silver, tantalum, uranium and zinc, and ranks second in the world for recoverable brown coal with a share of 20%. In addition, Australia's EDR for copper, industrial diamonds and gold are rated the third largest in the world. Table 16.11 shows the importance, in a global sense, of the main mineral resources in Australia.


16.11 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES OF MAJOR MINERALS - December 2002

MineralQuantity
Australia
World
Australian
percentage
of World EDR
Australia's ranking
in World holdings
of EDR

BauxiteGt
4.8
22
22
1st
Black coal
In situGt
57.5
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
RecoverableGt
39.7
(a)784
5
6th
Brown coal
In situGt
41.8
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
RecoverableGt
37.6
(a)187
20
2nd
Copper(b)Mt Cu
32.8
480
7
3rd
Diamond
Gem and near gem(c)Mc
67.3
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
IndustrialMc
70.1
580
12
3rd
Gold(b)t Au
5,415
42,500
13
3rd
Iron oreGt
13.0
145
9
4th
Lead(b)Mt Pb
17.2
70
27
1st
Lithium(b)kt Li
171.0
4,110
4
(d)
Manganese oreMt
126.8
1,678
8
4th
Mineral sands
IlmeniteMt
198.2
616
32
1st
RutileMt
23.5
51
46
1st
ZirconMt
29.0
72
40
1st
Nickel(b)Mt Ni
22.2
61.2
36
1st
Silver(b)kt Ag
40.2
310
13
1st
Tantalum(b)kt Ta
39.2
42
93
1st
Uranium(b)(e)kt U
689
(f)1,569
44
1st
Vanadium(b)kt V
(g)0
13,000
0
n.a.
Zinc(b)Mt Zn
33.2
200
17
1st

(a) Geoscience Australia estimate.
(b) Quantity measured in contained metal.
(c) Detailed data are not available on world resources of gem/near gem diamond but Australia has one of the largest stocks for this category.
(d) According to United States Geological Survey estimates, Chile holds about 88% of the world's lithium resources, followed by Canada with just over 5% and Australia with just under 5%. However, resource data are not available for some important producing countries including Argentina, China and Russia. Lithium brine resources, now the dominant feedstock for lithium carbonate production, are produced dominantly by Chile. Canada and Australia have the most significant resources of lithium minerals.
(e) Refer to Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2003 for comparison of resource categories in the national scheme with those of the international scheme for classifying uranium resources.
(f) Source: OECD/NEA & IAEA (2001). Compiled from the most recent data for resources recoverable at <US$40/kg U. Data for USA is not available for this category.
(g) EDR of vanadium were reclassified as paramarginal resources following the closure of the Windimurra mine and processing plant, WA. This accounted for more than 97% of Australia's EDR for vanadium.

Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2003'.


During the 12-month period ended December 2002 significant increases in Australia's EDR were recorded for copper (35.5%) and lithium (12.5%) (table 16.12). The factors contributing to the increase in copper include a recompilation of demonstrated resources at the Olympic Dam site in South Australia and recommenced operations at Telfer, and a proposed restart at Boddington, both in Western Australia. All of Australia's lithium resources occur in Western Australia and all EDR occurs in the Greenbushes deposit, in the south-west of the state. The lithium increase is due to a reclassification of resources at the Greenbushes deposit.

Over this same period the EDR for diamonds fell by 15.0% due mainly to production from the Argyle mine. The EDR of vanadium was reclassified to zero following the closure of the Windimurra mine and processing plant in Western Australia, which became non-viable. Ore reserves and resources for this deposit, which accounted for 97% of Australia's vanadium EDR, were reclassified as paramarginal resources. Resources within the Yeelirrie uranium-vanadium deposit were also reassessed by Geoscience Australia to be paramarginal.


16.12 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES OF SELECTED MINERALS

Australia
World


MineralQuantity
2001
2002
% change
2001
2002
% change

BauxiteGt
4.6
4.8
4.3
24.0
22.0
-8.3
Coal(a)Gt
78.5
77.3
-1.5
976.0
971.0
-0.5
Copper(b)Mt Cu
24.2
32.8
35.5
355.0
480.0
35.2
Diamond(c)Mc
161.6
137.4
-15.0
580.0
580.0
-
Gold(b)t Au
5,156.0
5,415.0
5.0
50,156.0
42,500.0
-15.3
Iron oreGt
12.4
13.0
4.8
133.6
145.0
8.5
Lead(b)Mt Pb
17.3
17.2
-0.6
64.0
70.0
9.4
Lithium(b)kt Li
152.0
171.0
12.5
3,403.0
4,110.0
20.8
Manganese oreMt
125.0
126.8
1.4
1,878.0
1,678.0
-10.6
Mineral sands(d)Mt
254.0
250.7
-1.3
759.8
739.0
-2.7
Nickel(b)Mt Ni
21.9
22.2
1.4
59.9
61.2
2.2
Silver(b)kt Ag
41.4
40.2
-2.9
280.0
310.0
10.7
Tantalum(b)kt Ta
40.8
39.2
-3.9
43.8
42.0
-4.1
Uranium(b)kt U
648.0
689.0
6.3
1,564.0
1,569.0
0.3
Vanadium(b)kt V
267.0
-
-100.0
10,000.0
13,000.0
30.0
Zinc(b)Mt Zn
35.1
33.2
-5.4
190.0
200.0
5.3

(a) Includes recoverable black and brown coal.
(b) Quantity measured in contained metal.
(c) Includes gem and near gem, and industrial.
(d) Includes ilmenite, rutile and zircon.

Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Australia's Identified Mineral Resources', 2002 and 2003 issues.


Australia's oil and gas resources encompass crude oil, condensate, naturally occurring liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas. EDR for oil and gas are resources which are judged to be economically extractable and for which the quantity and quality are computed partly from specific measurements, and partly from extrapolation for a reasonable distance on geological evidence. Subeconomic demonstrated resources (SDR) are similar to EDR in terms of certainty of occurrence but are considered to be potentially economic only in the foreseeable future.

The information presented in table 16.13 is obtained from the annual publication, Oil and Gas Resources of Australia, produced by Geoscience Australia. The table shows over 1999 to 2003, EDR for crude oil reserves fell by 28% while reserves for sales gas increased (EDR by 27%, SDR by 75%) due mainly to discoveries of major gas resources off north western Australia. Discoveries of crude oil reserves had not been sufficient to offset the reduction in crude oil reserves through production. Unlike crude oil, discoveries have increased the EDR for condensate by 2% and its SDR has more than doubled over the same period.


16.13 OIL AND GAS RESOURCES

Crude oil
Condensate
LPG
Sales gas




gigalitres
million
barrels
gigalitres
million
barrels
gigalitres
million
barrels
billion cubic
metres
trillion cubic
feet

Economic demonstrated resources
1 January 1999
243
1,528
273
1,715
243
1,527
1,989
70
1 January 2000
219
1,378
283
1,780
274
1,726
2,105
74
1 January 2001
194
1,222
300
1,889
292
1,835
2,203
78
1 January 2002
206
1,295
289
1,821
293
1,845
2,667
94
1 January 2003
176
1,108
277
1,743
274
1,726
2,528
89
Subeconomic demonstrated resources
1 January 1999
31
196
54
338
71
447
869
31
1 January 2000
55
345
61
384
75
471
1,173
41
1 January 2001
87
546
119
749
86
540
1,618
57
1 January 2002
68
427
115
724
79
499
1,499
53
1 January 2003
68
428
109
683
79
498
1,518
54

Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Oil and Gas Resources of Australia', 2000, 2001 and 2002 issues.


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