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8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Mar 2005  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/06/2005   
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INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Fiona Cotsell on Sydney (02) 9268 4357.



SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


MINERAL EXPLORATION (OTHER THAN FOR PETROLEUM)


TREND ESTIMATES

The trend estimate for total mineral exploration expenditure increased by 4.4% to $265.5m in the March quarter 2005. The estimate has risen in the last six quarters and is now 31.6% higher than the March quarter 2004 estimate.

Graph: Mineral Exploration (Time Series Estimate): Expenditure and Metres Drilled, ; Total deposits , Australia


Western Australia had the largest increase this quarter (of $7.0m or 4.7%). All states showed stable or increasing expenditure levels this quarter.


The trend estimate for metres drilled has been increasing for the past six quarters. The current estimate is now 21.2% higher than the March quarter estimate for last year.



MINERAL EXPLORATION (OTHER THAN FOR PETROLEUM)


EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE

The seasonally adjusted estimate of mineral exploration expenditure increased by $23.5m (9.5%) this quarter. Western Australia had the largest increase (of $11.7m or 8.0%), followed by South Australia with an increase of $3.4m (20.2%).


In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure decreased by $35.0m (13.4%). This decrease was driven by exploration on areas of new deposits, which decreased by $23.7m (22.0%). Expenditure on areas of existing deposits decreased by $11.3m (7.4%).


In original terms, the largest decrease by minerals sought came from expenditure on gold exploration (down $14.9m or 15.4%, with most of the decrease occurring in Western Australia) and iron ore (down $7.8m or 22.2%).


The largest increase was for expenditure on nickel and cobalt exploration, which rose by $2.9m (7.2%).

Mineral Exploration Expenditure, Original series
Graph: Mineral Exploration: Expenditure and Metres Drilled, ; Australia , Total deposits




MINERAL EXPLORATION (OTHER THAN FOR PETROLEUM)


METRES DRILLED

In seasonally adjusted terms, total metres drilled increased by 4.7% in the March quarter 2005. In original terms total metres drilled fell by 13.2%, due to a decrease in drilling in both areas of new deposits (down by 11.6%) and areas of existing deposits (down by 14.1%).

Metres Drilled, Original Series
Graph: Metres Drilled Original Series




PETROLEUM EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE


OVERVIEW

Expenditure on petroleum exploration for the March quarter 2005 decreased by $17.4m (6.1%) to $269.2m.


Expenditure on exploration on production leases decreased (by $21.1m or 38.1%), while exploration on all other areas increased slightly by $3.7m or 1.6% this quarter.


There was a small increase of $5.2m (2.5%) in offshore exploration, while onshore exploration expenditure decreased by $22.6m (30.1%).

Graph: Petroleum Exploration Expenditure



REGIONAL DATA

Petroleum exploration expenditure varied across the states this quarter. Western Australia and Northern Territory increased, while Victoria, Queensland and South Australia showed decreases following high expenditure in the previous quarter. Western Australia had the largest rise of $41.2m (36.4%). South Australia recorded the largest decrease of $23.4m (70.5%).

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