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8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Jun 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/09/2003   
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From this quarter's release, expectations data and consequent realisation ratios will be presented in Table 1 in their adjusted and unadjusted forms. This change was foreshadowed in an appendix to the December quarter 2002 issue of this publication. For more information please refer to that appendix or contact John Blanchette on (02) 9268 4429 or email <>.

Additionally, from this quarter's release, a change has been made to the way in which seasonally adjusted estimates are calculated. The concurrent seasonal adjustment method has replaced the previous forward factor method. The concurrent seasonal adjustment method takes account of the latest available original estimates. It improves the estimation of seasonal factors resulting in enhanced seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for the current and previous quarters. The concurrent method causes revisions to seasonally adjusted and trend estimates for the mineral exploration expenditure and metres drilled time series. In most instances the only noticable revisions will be to the previous quarter and the same quarter one year ago.


In line with the changes to publication Table 1 described above, AusStats Table 1 has also been expanded to include the unadjusted alongside the adjusted expectations series. For this quarter, tables in both the previous and expanded format have been released, the latter taking the name Table 1N. From the September quarter 2003, only the expanded table will be released.


ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
GSTGoods and Services Tax
JPDAJoint Petroleum Development Area
LPGliquefied petroleum gas
UNTAETUnited Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
WSTwholesale sales tax
ZOCZone of Cooperation


For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or John Blanchette on Sydney 02 9268 4429.



Trend Estimates

The trend estimate for total mineral exploration expenditure increased by 1.8% to $188m in the June quarter 2003, the fifth consecutive increase in this series.

The trend estimate is now 16.5% higher than the corresponding estimate in the June quarter 2002.

MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, Trend and Seasonally Adjusted estimates
June 1995 to June 2003

Graph - Mineral Exploration Expenditure, Trend and Seasonally Adjusted estimates.  June 1995 to June 2003

All states recorded an increase in trend estimates except South Australia, which recorded a slight decrease and Tasmania, which has remained unchanged for the past three quarters.

The trend estimate for metres drilled increased by 5.8%, the third consecutive quarter of steady growth. The current trend estimate is 22.0% higher than the estimate for the June quarter 2002, but remains 2.4% lower than the estimate for June quarter 2001.


In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure increased by $50m (32.6%) in the June quarter 2003 (up 2.8% in seasonally adjusted terms). Expenditure on production leases increased by $19m (58.7%) and expenditure on all other areas increased by $31m (25.6%).

Most states contributed to the overall increase in the June quarter 2003. The largest increase was recorded by Western Australia (up $21m or 22.9%), with exploration for Gold and Nickel and Cobalt driving the increase. Queensland (up $12m or 50.6%), Northern Territory (up $7m or 103%) and South Australia (up $5m or 83.3%) also recorded significant increases. The increase in Queensland exploration expenditure was mainly driven by Coal and for both Northern Territory and South Australia the increase was spread across various commodities.

In seasonally adjusted terms, the biggest increase was in Queensland, up $2m (6.8%).

In terms of expenditure by minerals sought, most commodities recorded an increase in the June quarter 2003. The largest increases came from Gold (up $15m or 17.4%), Coal (up $13m or 90.7%) and Nickel and Cobalt (up $9m or 70.7%).

September 2001 to June 2003

Graph - Mineral Exploration Expenditure, by mineral sought.  September 2001 to June 2003.

Metres Drilled

In original terms, total metres drilled increased by 41.1% in the June quarter 2003 (up 0.8% in seasonally adjusted terms).

Metres drilled on production leases increased by 53.2% and metres drilled on all other areas increased by 36.3%.

September 2001 to June 2003

Graph - Mineral Exploration, metres drilled. September 2001 to June 2003.



In the June quarter 2003, expenditure on petroleum exploration fell by $26m or 9.9% to $240m, which is still 33.0% higher than the June quarter 2002. There was a significant increase in exploration on production leases (up $14m or 136.6%) which was more than offset by a decrease in exploration on all other areas (down $40m or 15.7%).

While onshore exploration expenditure increased significantly by $11m (36.1%), offshore exploration decreased by $37m (15.7%), with drilling activity contributing strongly to the offshore decrease.

Sept 2001 to June 2003

Graph - Petroleum Exploration Expenditure.  September 2001 to June 2003.

Regional Data

In the June quarter 2003, Western Australia (down $40m or 21.0%), Victoria (down $23m or 59.2%) and Northern Territory (down $8m or 60.3%) recorded significant decreases in exploration expenditure, mainly due to decreased offshore drilling activity by a small number of companies. The remaining states recorded increases, with Queensland increasing by $10m (85.8%).

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