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8412.0 - Actual and Expected Private Mineral Exploration, Australia, Dec 1998  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/03/1999   
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MEDIA RELEASE

March 25, 1999
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
39/1999

ABS report charts decline in exploration expenditure

The trend estimate for mineral exploration expenditure declined for the sixth consecutive quarter in the December quarter 1998, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

With the exception of New South Wales, the trend estimate of expenditure declined in all States and the Northern Territory in the December quarter 1998.

In seasonally adjusted terms, total mineral exploration expenditure rose 2% ($4m) to $233m in the December quarter 1998.

In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure reported for the December quarter was $240m. This was 15% ($42m) lower than for the corresponding December quarter 1997.

Exploration expenditure on production leases rose by 17% ($9m) while exploration expenditure on all other areas fell 2% ($5m) in the December quarter 1998.

Gold continued to be the predominant mineral sought, representing 58% ($140m) of the total mineral exploration expenditure reported for the December quarter 1998.

The trend estimate for total metres drilled was marginally lower than for the September quarter 1998 (a fall of less than 1%) and 19% lower than for the December quarter 1997. This decline is consistent with the fall in trend estimate for total expenditure.

In original terms 2.6 million metres were drilled for the December quarter 1998. This was 20% higher than the September quarter 1998 and 9% lower than the December quarter 1997. The number of metres drilled increased on both production leases and all other areas, up 14% and 23% respectively from the September quarter 1998.

Expenditure on petroleum exploration was $255m in the December quarter 1998, 32% higher than for the September quarter 1998. Expenditure increased for exploration on production leases (up 44%) and all other areas (up 30%) between the September and December quarters 1998.

Offshore exploration expenditure increased by 41% ($56m) between September and December quarters 1998, to $193m. Expenditure on offshore drilling increased 51% ($41m) to $123m between the September and December quarters 1998.

Details are in Actual and Expected Private Mineral Exploration, Australia, December Quarter 1998 (cat. no. 8412.0) available from ABS bookshops.

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