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8412.0 - Actual and Expected Private Mineral Exploration, Australia, Mar 1998  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/06/1998   
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MEDIA RELEASE

June 26, 1998
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
67/98
Mineral exploration expenditure continues to fall

Mineral exploration expenditure in Australia has fallen for the third consecutive quarter according to figures released today by the ABS.

Recent falls have coincided with falls in average world prices for many of the major mineral commodities.

Between the December quarter 1997 and the March quarter 1998 the trend estimate fell 7.5 per cent ($20.9 million) to $256.2 million. This was 12.4 per cent ($36.3 million) lower than the corresponding March quarter 1997.

The most significant fall in absolute terms occurred in Western Australia where the estimate decreased by 6.2 per cent ($10.3 million), followed by Queensland a decrease of 13.8 per cent ($4.9 million). The trend estimate for Tasmania fell by 45.3 per cent ($2.9 million).

Exploration expenditure for gold in the March quarter 1998 was $136.1million, 17.0 per cent ($27.8 million) lower than the December quarter 1997, and 9.3 per cent ($14.0 million) lower than the March quarter 1997.

Total expenditure on Petroleum exploration was $264.3 million in the March quarter 1998. This was an increase of 10.8 per cent ($25.8 million) from the December quarter 1997, and 49.1 per cent ($87.0 million) higher than the March quarter 1997.

Offshore exploration expenditure rose 22.4 per cent ($39.1 million) from the December quarter 1997 to $214.0 million in the March quarter 1998. This is an increase of $67.5 million (up 46.1 per cent) compared to March quarter 1997.

Onshore expenditure decreased by 20.9 per cent to $13.3 million in the March quarter 1998, but is 63.8 per cent ($19.6 million) higher compared to March quarter 1997.

Details are in Actual and Expected Private Mineral Exploration, Australia, March Quarter 1998 (cat. no. 8412.0) available from ABS bookshops.

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