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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2007  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2007   
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Contents >> Mining >> Expenditure on mineral and petroleum exploration

EXPENDITURE ON MINERAL AND PETROLEUM EXPLORATION

Exploration involves the search for new ore occurrences or undiscovered oil or gas, and/or appraisal intended to delineate or greatly extend the limits of known deposits of minerals, oil or gas reservoirs by geological, geophysical, geochemical, drilling or other methods. This includes construction of shafts and adits primarily for exploration purposes, but excludes activity of a developmental or production nature.

Expenditure during the last five years on mineral exploration other than for petroleum and water is summarised in table 16.4.

Mineral exploration expenditure in 2005-06 was $1,241million (m), the highest recorded in over 30 years. This was $600m (94%) higher than in 2001-02 and $212m (21%) higher than in 2004-05. Exploration expenditure in Tasmania increased by $19m (more than five times) in the period 2001-02 to 2005-06, the highest rate of increase for this period. Western Australia continued to account for the majority (48-59%) of the exploration expenditure over this period, followed by Queensland (14-18%).


16.4 MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By state and territory

2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
Change from
2001-02 to
2005-06
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

New South Wales
48.2
58.8
50.5
73.6
114.0
136.5
Victoria
33.9
46.2
53.5
51.5
74.1
118.6
Queensland
92.6
114.2
125.2
166.4
218.8
136.3
South Australia
32.1
36.7
41.7
66.8
146.5
356.4
Western Australia
381.1
423.6
465.8
606.0
590.2
54.9
Tasmania
4.0
4.3
7.5
8.3
22.6
465.0
Northern Territory
48.5
49.0
42.5
55.6
74.7
54.0
Australia
640.6
732.8
786.7
1,028.3
1,240.7
93.7

Source: Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia (8412.0).


Most of the expenditure in the period 2001-02 to 2005-06 was related to exploration for gold (table 16.5). In this period, gold exploration expenditure accounted for 32-52% of total mineral exploration expenditure. The greatest increases recorded for this period were for iron ore and uranium exploration increasing by $136m and $47m (both increases over six times) respectively. Significant increases were also recorded for copper and coal (both more than three times).

In 2005-06, mineral exploration expenditure was 21% higher than in 2004-05, mainly due to increases in copper (up 96%), silver, lead and zinc (up 128%) and uranium (up 171%) exploration.


16.5 MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By mineral sought

2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
Change from
2001-02 to
2005-06
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Selected base metals
132.8
142.3
151.8
261.1
356.6
168.5
Copper
41.5
39.8
37.8
71.3
139.5
236.1
Silver, lead, zinc
37.7
36.7
29.7
31.2
71.1
88.6
Nickel, cobalt
53.7
65.9
84.2
158.6
145.9
171.7
Gold
331.3
378.4
397.1
391.7
399.7
20.6
Iron ore
25.2
44.4
63.7
138.0
161.2
539.7
Mineral sands
33.2
27.3
23.8
27.6
29.2
-12.0
Uranium
8.7
6.9
10.5
20.7
56.1
544.8
Coal
50.4
77.8
81.5
126.8
166.4
230.2
Diamonds
35.4
29.9
25.8
23.7
22.6
-36.2
Other(a)
23.5
25.8
32.5
38.7
49.0
108.5
Total
640.6
732.8
786.7
1,028.3
1,240.7
93.7

(a) Includes tin, tungsten, scheelite, wolfram and construction materials.
Source: Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia (8412.0).


Table 16.6 shows the overseas exploration expenditure reported in the Minerals Industry Surveys, conducted for the Minerals Council of Australia, for 2000-01 to 2004-05. The surveys cover Australian mining companies, and some overseas controlled companies. Findings from these surveys indicate total overseas exploration expenditure by Australian businesses had been falling after reaching its peak in 1997-98 when $450m was spent. Between 2000-01 and 2004-05, expenditure fell by 65%.

In 2004-05 exploration expenditure for gold and platinum fell by 37% to $43m (down $26m) from the level achieved in 2003-04. Base metals fell by 58% (down $10m) in the same period.


16.6 OVERSEAS MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By mineral sought

2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
Change from
2000-01 to
2004-05
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Gold and platinum
77.2
45.3
28.0
69.1
43.2
-44.0
Base metals
61.8
51.5
78.5
17.5
7.3
-88.2
Mineral sands
2.4
2.4
1.0
0.2
1.5
- 37.5
Diamonds
33.1
31.1
-
-
-
-100.0
Other
6.1
3.0
4.2
6.3
10.8
77.0
Total
180.7
133.3
111.6
93.1
62.7
-65.3

Source: Minerals Council of Australia, 'Minerals Industry Survey Reports', 2001 to 2005.


In the period 2001-02 to 2005-06, expenditure on oil and gas exploration rose by 43% ($379m) (table 16.7) due to increases in both onshore and offshore exploration expenditure of 116% ($191m) and 26% ($188m). These changes have resulted in onshore oil and gas exploration increasing its share of total oil and gas exploration expenditure from 19% to 28% over this period with a corresponding decrease in offshore from 81% to 72%.

In 2005-06, offshore oil and gas exploration expenditure was higher by 17% ($132m) compared with the previous year while onshore exploration was 32% ($86m) higher.


16.7 OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE

2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
2004-05
2005-06
Change from
2001-02 to
2005-06
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Onshore
164.5
191.3
230.5
270.1
355.8
116.3
Offshore
718.1
803.7
713.5
774.6
906.1
26.2
Total
882.6
995.0
944.0
1,044.7
1,262.0
43.0

Source: Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia (8412.0).


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