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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 >> Mineral, oil and gas resources

MINERAL, OIL AND GAS RESOURCES

The statistics of available mineral resources provided in table 16.1 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 brown coal (recoverable), lead, rutile, zircon, nickel, tantalum, uranium and zinc, and ranks second in the world for bauxite, copper, gold, ilmenite and silver. In addition, Australia's EDR for industrial diamonds is ranked third and manganese ore is ranked fourth largest in the world. Table 16.1 shows the importance, in a global sense, of the main mineral resources in Australia.


16.1 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES OF MAJOR MINERALS - December 2005

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

BauxiteGt
5.8
25
23
2nd
Black coal
In situGt
55.8
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
RecoverableGt
39.2
(a)739
5
6th
Brown coal
In situGt
41.5
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
RecoverableGt
37.4
(a)155
24
1st
Copper(b)Mt Cu
41.4
490
8
2nd
Diamond
Gem and near gem(c)Mc
124.2
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
IndustrialMc
129.2
614
21
3rd
Gold(b)t Au
5225
42,225
12
2nd
Iron oreGt
16.4
160
10
5th
Lead(b)Mt Pb
23.8
75
32
1st
Lithium(b)kt Li
170
4,100
4
(d)
Manganese oreMt
143
1,200
12
4th
Mineral sands
IlmeniteMt
214.9
1,115
19
2nd
RutileMt
20.5
51
40
1st
ZirconMt
32.9
77
43
1st
Nickel(b)Mt Ni
23.9
64.1
37
1st
Silver(b)kt Ag
44
283
16
2nd
Tantalum(b)kt Ta
52
55
95
1st
Uranium(b)(e)kt U
716
(f)1,947
37
1st
Zinc(b)Mt Zn
41.8
228
18
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 73% of the world's lithium resources followed by China 13%, Brazil 4.6% and Canada with just over 4%. However, resource data are not available for some important producing countries including Argentina and Russia. Lithium brine resources, now the dominant feedstock for lithium carbonate production, are produced dominantly by Chile. China and Australia have the most significant resources of lithium minerals.
(e) Refer to Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2005 for comparison of resource categories in the national scheme with those of the international scheme for classifying uranium resources.
(f) Source: OECD Nuclear Energy Agency & International Atomic Energy Agency (OECD/NEA & IAEA) (2006). Compiled from the most recent data for resources recoverable at <US$40/kilogram of uranium. Data for the United States of America is not available for this category.
Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2006'.


During the year ended December 2005 significant increases in Australia's EDR were recorded for diamond (132%) and iron ore (12%) (table 16.2). The increase in Australia's diamond EDR is due to a decision to proceed with underground mining at the Argyle mine and a related upgrade of around half of the mineral resource to ore reserve. The factors behind the increase in Australia's iron ore EDR are the inclusion of several deposits for the first time - Brockman 4, Cape Lambert, Cloud Break, Jack Hills (all in Western Australia) and Frances Creek (Northern Territory) and large increases at the Christmas Creek and Southdown deposits (both in Western Australia).


16.2 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES OF SELECTED MINERALS

Australia
World


MineralQuantity
2004
2005
% change
2004
2005
% change

BauxiteGt
5.7
5.8
1.8
23.0
25.0
8.7
Coal(a)Gt
77.9
76.6
-1.7
899.0
894.0
-0.6
Copper(b)Mt Cu
42.1
41.4
-1.7
490.0
490.0
-
Diamond(c)Mc
55.6
129.2
132.4
580.0
614.0
5.9
Gold(b)t Au
5,589
5,225
-6.5
42,000.0
42,225.0
0.5
Iron oreGt
14.6
16.4
12.3
160.0
160.0
-
Lead(b)Mt Pb
22.9
23.8
3.9
70.0
75.0
7.1
Lithium(b)kt Li
170
170
-
(d)4,110.0
(d)4,100.0
-0.2
Manganese oreMt
133
143
7.5
1,175.0
1,200.0
2.1
Mineral sands(e)Mt
267.4
268.3
0.3
1,214.0
1,243.0
2.4
Nickel(b)Mt Ni
22.6
23.9
5.8
61.8
64.1
3.7
Silver(b)kt Ag
41.4
44
6.3
280.0
283.0
1.1
Tantalum(b)kt Ta
53
52
-1.9
56.0
55.0
-1.8
Uranium(b)kt U
701
716
2.1
(d)1,743.0
(d)1,947.0
11.7
Zinc(b)Mt Zn
41.0
41.8
2.0
222.0
228.0
2.7

(a) Recoverable black and brown coal.
(b) Quantity measured in contained metal.
(c) Industrial diamond only. Data are not available on world resources of gem/near gem diamond but Australia has stocks among the largest for this category.
(d) Excludes the United States of America.
(e) Includes ilmenite, rutile and zircon.
Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Australia's Identified Mineral Resources', 2005 and 2006 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 16.3 is obtained from the annual publication Oil and Gas Resources of Australia, produced by Geoscience Australia. The table shows that between 2001 and 2005, EDR for crude oil reserves and LPG fell by 19% and 27% respectively. Sales gas reserves increased by 17% and condensate by less than 1% over this period. Decreases in oil reserves are mainly due to production exceeding discoveries in the period while recent gas discoveries have been the main contributor to the increase in condensate and gas reserves. SDR decreased for all oil and gas resources between 2001 and 2005.


16.3 OIL AND GAS RESOURCES - 1 January

Crude oil
Condensate
LPG
Sales gas




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

Economic demonstrated resources
2001
194
1,222
300
1,889
292
1,835
2,203
78
2002
206
1,295
289
1,821
293
1,845
2,667
94
2003
176
1,108
276
1,737
274
1,726
2,528
89
2004
187
1,175
284
1,787
235
1,481
2,594
92
2005
157
988
301
1,894
214
1,343
2,587
91
Subeconomic demonstrated resources
2001
87
546
119
749
86
540
1,618
57
2002
68
427
115
724
79
499
1,499
53
2003
68
426
109
683
79
498
1,518
54
2004
79
494
113
713
78
493
1,504
53
2005
81
507
114
720
78
492
1,482
52

Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Oil and Gas Resources of Australia', 2002, 2003 and 2004 issues.


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