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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
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Contents >> Chapter 16 - Mining >> Expenditure on mineral and petroleum exploration

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, 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 during the past five years on mineral exploration other than for petroleum and water is summarised in table 16.11.

Mineral exploration expenditure in 2003-04 was $787m. This was $110m (16%) higher than in 1999-2000 and $54m (7%) higher than in 2002-03. Exploration expenditure in South Australia increased by 85% ($19m) between 1999-2000 and 2003-04, the highest rate of increase for this period. Western Australia continued to account for the majority (58-62%) of the exploration expenditure over this period, followed by Queensland (12-16%).

16.11 MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By state and territory

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
Change from
1999-2000 to 2003-04
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

New South Wales
56.1
57.2
48.2
58.8
50.5
-10.0
Victoria
33.8
32.7
33.9
46.2
53.5
58.3
Queensland
82.5
83.1
92.6
114.2
125.2
51.8
South Australia
22.6
29.6
32.1
36.7
41.7
84.5
Western Australia
415.0
424.1
381.1
423.6
465.8
12.2
Tasmania
8.7
9.1
4.0
4.3
7.5
-13.8
Northern Territory
57.5
47.6
48.5
49.0
42.5
-26.1
Australia
676.4
683.3
640.6
732.8
786.7
16.3

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


Most of the expenditure between 1999-2000 and 2003-04 was related to exploration for gold (table 16.12). In this period, gold exploration expenditure accounted for 50-55% of total mineral exploration expenditure. The greatest increase recorded for this period was for coal exploration, up $46m (130%), which was the main contributor to the increase in total exploration in the same period.


In 2003-04, mineral exploration expenditure was 7% higher than in 2002-03, mainly due to increases in iron ore, gold and nickel and cobalt exploration.

16.12 MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By mineral sought

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
Change from
1999-2000 to 2003-04
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Selected base metals
156.8
165.4
132.9
142.3
151.8
-3.2
Copper
28.4
32.8
41.6
39.7
37.8
33.1
Silver, lead-zinc
55.4
59.8
37.6
36.6
29.7
-46.4
Nickel, cobalt
73.0
72.8
53.7
65.9
84.2
15.3
Gold
374.8
370.2
331.3
378.4
397.1
5.9
Iron ore
n.p.
23.4
25.2
44.4
63.7
n.a.
Mineral sands
21.5
23.6
33.2
27.3
23.8
10.7
Uranium
n.p.
n.p.
8.8
6.9
10.5
n.a.
Coal
35.4
41.3
50.3
77.9
81.5
130.2
Diamonds
29.8
31.8
35.4
29.8
25.8
-13.4
Other(a)
n.p.
n.p.
23.4
25.8
32.5
n.a.
Total
676.4
683.3
640.6
732.8
786.7
16.3

(a) Includes tin, tungsten, scheelite, wolfram and construction materials.

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


Table 16.13 shows the overseas exploration expenditure reported in the Minerals Industry Surveys undertaken by the Minerals Council of Australia for 1999-2000 to 2003-04. 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 1997-98 when $450m was spent. Between 1999-2000 and 2003-04, expenditure fell by 63%.


In 2003-04 exploration expenditure for gold and platinum more than doubled to $69m (up $41m) from the level achieved in 2002-03, while base metals fell by 78% (down $61m) in the same period.

16.13 OVERSEAS MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, By mineral sought

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
Change from
1999-2000 to 2003-04
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Gold and platinum
117.3
77.2
45.3
28.0
69.1
-41.1
Base metals
82.8
61.8
51.5
78.5
17.5
-78.9
Mineral sands
1.8
2.4
2.4
1.0
0.2
- 88.9
Diamonds
26.3
33.1
31.1
-
-
-100.0
Coal
11.8
-
-
-
-
-100.0
Other
10.0
6.1
3.0
4.2
6.3
-37.0
Total
250.0
180.7
133.3
111.6
93.1
-62.8

Source: Minerals Council of Australia, Minerals Industry Survey Reports, 2000 to 2004.


Between 1999-2000 and 2003-04, expenditure on oil and gas exploration rose by 35% ($243m) (table 16.14) due to increases in both offshore and onshore expenditure of 21% ($123m) and 109% ($120m) respectively. These increases have resulted in onshore oil and gas exploration increasing its share of total oil and gas exploration expenditure from 16% to 24% over this period with a corresponding decrease in offshore from 84% to 76%.

In 2003-04, offshore oil and gas exploration expenditure was lower by 11% ($90m) compared with the previous year while onshore exploration was 20% ($39m) higher.

16.14 OIL AND GAS EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE

1999-2000
2000-01
2001-02
2002-03
2003-04
Change from
1999-2000 to
2003-04
$m
$m
$m
$m
$m
%

Onshore
110.1
176.9
164.5
191.3
230.5
109.4
Offshore
590.6
847.8
718.1
803.7
713.5
20.8
Total
700.7
1,024.7
882.6
995.0
944.0
34.7

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


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