8412.0 - Actual and Expected Private Mineral Exploration, Australia, Sep 1997  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/12/1997   
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  • Overseas mineral exploration expenditure up in 1996-97 (Media Release)

MEDIA RELEASE

December 22, 1997
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
176/97
Overseas mineral exploration expenditure up in 1996-97

Australian resident companies spent $760 million exploring for minerals and petroleum overseas in 1996-97, 14 per cent more than in 1995-96 according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Expenditure on petroleum exploration ($321 million) accounted for 42 per cent of total overseas expenditure in 1996-97. Exploration for gold was the next largest with $227 million (30 per cent of the total), followed by base metals with $174 million (23 per cent).

North America continued to be the region in which most expenditure occurred with $254 million (33 per cent of total overseas expenditure). This represents an increase of 15 per cent on expenditure in this region during 1995-96. Other regions where exploration expenditure had significant increases were Latin America (up 32 per cent to $120 million), Africa (up 26 per cent to $118 million) and Indonesia (up 63 percent to $109 million).

The report also shows that total mineral exploration expenditure in Australia for the September quarter 1997 was $302 million, down $45 million (13 per cent) from the June quarter and $28 million (10 per cent) higher than for the September quarter 1996. Gold remains the predominant mineral sought with $197 million (65 per cent of all exploration expenditure) spent during the quarter.

Total expenditure on petroleum exploration was $144 million in the September quarter 1997, a fall of $71 million (33 per cent) from the June quarter. Onshore exploration decreased $26 million (33 per cent) to $54 million while offshore exploration expenditure fell $45 million (33 per cent) to $91 million during this quarter.

Details of drilling methods used in mineral exploration in Australia during 1996-97 show that reverse circulation drilling has replaced diamond drilling as the method on which most expenditure occurred, accounting for $204 million or 42 per cent of total expenditure. Expenditure on diamond drilling was $168 million in 1996-97, 35 per cent of the total.

Details are in Actual and Expected Private Mineral Exploration, Australia, September Quarter 1997 (cat. no. 8412.0) available from ABS bookshops.