Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/02/2004   
   Page tools: Print Print Page RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product  
Contents >> Mining >> 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 or 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 in Australia during the last five years on mineral exploration other than for petroleum and water is summarised in table 16.10.

Mineral exploration expenditure in 2001-02 was $641m. This was $426m (40%) lower than in 1997-98, and $43m (1%) lower than in 2000-01 reflecting a worldwide decline in exploration expenditure. Western Australia, Queensland and New South Wales, with expenditure lower by $279m (42%), $41m (31%) and $40m (45%) respectively, were the main contributors to the fall between 1997-98 and 2001-02. Western Australia continued to account for the majority (60-62%) of the exploration expenditure over this period, followed by Queensland (11-15%).

16.10 MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By state and territory

1997-98
1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
Change from 1997-98
to 2001-02
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

New South Wales
88.2
65.6
56.1
57.2
48.2
-45.4
Victoria
43.1
37.0
33.8
32.7
33.9
-21.3
Queensland
133.2
93.8
82.6
83.1
92.6
-30.5
South Australia
45.0
41.9
22.6
29.6
32.1
-28.7
Western Australia
660.4
523.1
415.0
424.1
381.1
-42.3
Tasmania
20.7
11.9
8.8
9.2
4.0
-80.7
Northern Territory
75.9
64.5
57.5
47.5
48.5
-36.1
Australia
1,066.8
837.8
676.3
683.3
640.6
-40.1

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

Most of the expenditure between 1997-98 and 2001-02 was related to exploration for gold, as shown in table 16.11. In this period, gold exploration expenditure accounted for 52-63% of total mineral exploration expenditure. Its decline from $648m to $331m (down 49%) was the main contributing factor to the fall in mineral exploration expenditure. The long-term decline in gold prices was the principal reason for the decrease in gold exploration expenditure. Expenditure on selected base metals also fell by $94m (42%) while expenditure on uranium fell by 61%, the largest fall recorded for this period. Exploration expenditure for mineral sands increased by 137%, growing steadily over the period.

16.11 MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By mineral sought

1997-98
1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
Change from 1997-98
to 2001-02
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Selected base metals
227.1
176.9
156.8
165.4
132.8
-41.5
Copper
n.a.
n.a.
28.4
32.8
41.5
. .
Silver, lead-zinc
n.a.
n.a.
55.4
59.8
37.7
. .
Nickel, cobalt
n.a.
n.a.
73.0
72.8
53.7
. .
Gold
648.4
486.1
374.8
370.2
331.3
-48.9
Iron ore
30.0
41.5
29.7
23.4
25.2
-16.0
Mineral sands
14.0
19.0
21.5
23.6
33.2
137.1
Uranium
22.2
15.4
11.7
8.4
8.7
-60.8
Coal
64.8
39.9
35.4
41.3
50.4
-22.2
Diamonds
42.8
40.9
29.8
31.8
35.4
-17.3
Other(a)
17.5
18.0
16.7
19.3
23.5
34.3
Australia
1,066.8
837.8
676.3
683.3
640.6
-40.0

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

Table 16.12 shows the overseas exploration expenditure reported in the Minerals Industry Surveys undertaken by the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) for 1997-98 to 2001-02. 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 1996-97 when $506m was spent. Between 1997-98 and 2001-02, expenditure fell by 71%. This mainly reflected the fall in exploration expenditure for gold and platinum which accounted for most of the overseas exploration expenditure in the earlier years. By 2001-02, expenditure overseas on gold and platinum exploration, was only 19% of the level achieved in 1997-98. Gold and platinum's share of total overseas exploration expenditure declined from 53% in 1997-98 to 34% in 2001-02, below base metals' share of 39%.

16.12 OVERSEAS MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By mineral sought

1997-98
1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
Change from 1997-98
to 2001-02
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Gold and platinum
239.4
177.8
117.3
77.2
45.3
-81.1
Base metals
131.1
154.0
82.8
61.8
51.5
-60.7
Mineral sands
10.5
3.1
1.8
2.4
2.4
-77.1
Diamonds
26.5
33.8
26.3
33.1
31.1
17.4
Coal
5.6
1.0
11.8
0.0
0.0
-100.0
Other
37.2
48.2
10.0
6.1
3.0
-91.9
Australia
450.2
417.9
250.0
180.7
132.4
-70.6

Source: Minerals Council of Australia, Minerals Industry Survey reports of 1998-99 to 2001-02.

Over the period 1997-98 to 2001-02, expenditure on petroleum exploration fell by 3.9% ($36m) in spite of a sharp upsurge of 46% ($324m) in 2000-01 (table 16.13). This overall decline was due to a decrease in onshore expenditure of 29% ($68m). With offshore exploration expenditure increasing by 4.7%, onshore exploration's share of total expenditure fell from 25% in 1997-98 to 19% in 2001-02.

16.13 PETROLEUM EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE

1997-98
1998-99
1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
Change from 1997-98
to 2001-02
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Onshore
232.3
182.4
110.1
176.9
164.6
-29.1
Offshore
685.9
669.4
590.6
847.9
718.1
4.7
Total
918.2
851.8
700.7
1,024.8
882.7
-3.9

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


Previous PageNext Page


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window


Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.