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Topics @ a Glance - Mining Statistics
Using Mining Statistics

This section provides definition of terms associated with ABS mining statistics. If you know what term you are looking for, please use any of our glossary section links;

Glossary - A to F

Glossary - G to M

Glossary - N to Z

ABN / ABN unit

The Australian Business Number (ABN) is a single identifier for all business dealings with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) and for dealings with other government departments and agencies. It is the number provided by ATO at the time of registration of the business. A business can have more than one ABN. The ABN unit is the business or the part of the business with an ABN. In most cases, the ABN unit represents the legal entity. This unit is suitable for ABS statistical needs when the business is simple in structure. For more significant and diverse businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical needs, the statistical unit used is the type of activity unit (TAU).

All other areas

This is one of the categories used in the Mineral and Petroleum Exploration Survey to classify the occurrence of exploration activities. All other areas are those areas outside the Production lease. These include areas under exploration licence/permit or retention licence, as well as non-licenced areas being assessed for exploration, e.g. through airborne surveys.

Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC)

A standard classification developed for use in Australia and New Zealand for the production and analysis of industry statistics. The classification is also aligned with international standards in industry classification. Industry value estimates, industry financial estimates and trade export estimates are all presented in terms of ANZSIC. ANZSIC Division B (Mining) is the broad level used by the Economic Activity Survey on mining. An example of a subdivision is Metal Ore Mining (08), which includes classes such as Bauxite Mining (0802), Copper Ore Mining (0803) and Mineral Sand Mining (0805).

For more information, click on this catalogue Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC), 2006 edition ( cat. no. 1292.0) to see a description and the contents the ANZSIC.


A collection which involves going to every unit of the population being studied. For example, Australia's population census involves asking information from each individual in the population.

Chain volume measures

Chain volume measures represent a replacement methodology for measuring changes in economic activities which are measured in dollar terms and then adjusted to remove the effects of price changes. These measures were previously known as constant price estimates. The "volume measures" part of the term simply means that they measure changes in volume of activity not value of activity. The "chain" part of the term means that the series is rebased every year as results of the annual mining survey become available and data for all periods covered by the series are benchmarked to the rebased values. The previous method involved rebasing the series only every five or so years. This meant that the quality of prices changes data tended to decay the more removed the current period became from the base year.

Company profits before income tax

Net operating profit or loss before income tax and extraordinary items and is net of capital profits or losses arising from the sale of businesses' own capital goods and dividends received.


Development phase usually following exploration where a prospective discovery (e.g. proven oil or gas field or concentrate or ore) is brought into production or for extending the life of a current mine or well. Activities may include preparing the ground by the removal of overburden, constructing shafts, drives and winzes; or by drilling and completing wells. All activities are for the purposes of commencing extraction/mining or extending production.

Employed persons (Labour Force Survey)

All persons aged 15 years and over who, during the reference week:

    • worked for one hour or more for pay, profit, commission or payment in kind in a job or business, or on a farm (comprising employees, employers and own account workers); or
    • worked for one hour or more without pay in a family business or on a farm (i.e. contributing family workers); or
    • were employees who had a job but were not at work and were:
- away from work for less than four weeks up to the end of the reference week; or
- away from work for more than four weeks up to the end of the reference week and received pay for some or all of the four week period to the end of the reference week; or
- away from work as a standard work or shift arrangement; or
- on strike or locked out; or
- on workers' compensation and expected to return to their job; or
    • were employers or own account workers, who had a job, business or farm, but were not at work.


    A person who works for a public or private employer and receives remuneration in wages, salary, commission, tips, piece-rates or pay in kind, or in their own business, either with or without employees, if that business was an incorporated business.

    (Economic Activity Survey)

    The number of working proprietors and working partners, plus all employees for whom pay as you go (PAYG) tax is deducted (including permanent, part-time, temporary and casual employees, and managerial and executive employees) during the last pay period ending in June. Employees absent on paid or prepaid leave are included, as are employees on workers' compensation who continue to be paid through the payroll system. Non-salaried directors, self-employed persons such as consultants and for whom PAYG tax is not deducted and volunteer workers are excluded.

    Environment protection expenditure

    Includes capital and current expenditure to protect the environment. Capital expenditure is the amount of outlays for the purchase of assets designed specifically to assist with environment protection. It includes expenditure on the acquisition of plant, machinery, equipment and land; and capitalised wages and salaries. Current expenditure generally relates to payments of a non-capital nature, for example payments to government agencies or private businesses for waste removal services, environmental audits, site cleaning and environmental impact assessments.

    Exploration expenditure

    Covers all expenditure (capitalised and non-capitalised) during the exploratory or evaluation stages in Australia, Australian waters and the Joint Petroleum Development Area. Costs include cost of exploration, determination of recoverable reserves, engineering and economic feasibility studies, procurement of finance, gaining access to reserves, construction of pilot plants and all technical and administrative overheads directly associated with these functions. Examples are costs of satellite imagery, airborne and seismic surveys, use of geophysical and other instruments, geochemical surveys and map preparation; licence fees, land access and legal costs; geologist inspections, chemical analysis and payments to employees and contractors. Cash bids for offshore petroleum exploration permits are also included.

    The ABS Mineral and Petroleum Exploration Survey use the following categories to collect and present data on exploration expenditure:

    Drilling expenditureincludes wages and salaries paid to employees; purchase, rental, hiring as well as operation and maintenance of drilling equipment together with activities associated with accessing the areas where drilling is to occur (e.g. road creation, vessel/transport hiring, site preparation and restoration). Also includes expenditure on drilling done by contractors.
    Other expenditureincludes all other exploration costs, other than those associated with drilling expenditure. This expenditure includes purchase of capital and non-capital items, rental or hiring fees, service fees relating to surveying and analysis, administrative and legal fees associated with obtaining licences/permits, land access, map preparation, feasibility studies, environmental impacts studies and restoration costs.

    Exploration licence/permit

    Is designed to cover the exploration phase of a project and confers exclusive rights to the exploration for and recovery of samples from the area designated. These rights are granted by relevant Commonwealth, State or Territory Governments.

    Exploration of mineral and petroleum

    Activity involves searching for concentrations of naturally occurring solid, liquid or gaseous materials and includes new field wildcat and stratigraphical and extension/appraisal wells and mineral appraisals intended to delineate or greatly extend the limits of known deposits by geological, geophysical, geochemical, drilling or other methods. This includes drilling of boreholes, construction of shafts and adits primarily for exploration purposes but excludes activity of a developmental or production nature. Exploration for water is excluded.

    Exploration can occur on existing or new deposits.

    Existing depositsexploration on existing deposits is exploration that is delineating or proving up an existing deposit, including extensions and infill, which has been classified as an Inferred Mineral Resource or higher.
    New depositsare previously unknown mineralisations or known mineralisations yet to be classified as an Inferred Mineral Resource or higher. They include:
    - Exploration resulting in finding mineralisation that was previously unknown.
    - Exploration on previously known mineralisation that has not been subjected to modern exploration.
    - Exploration within an existing mining tenement for the purpose of finding new sources of mineralisation that have not already been classified as at least an Inferred Mineral Resource

    Exports or imports classified to industry of origin

    This concept allocates internationally traded commodities back to the industry of origin rather than to the industries of the businesses actually undertaking the imports or exports. However, because it is not always known which industry actually produced a particular set of traded commodities, all commodities are allocated to the industry which produces most of that type of commodity i.e. the industry most likely to have been the source.

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    Gross value added (GVA)

    In national accounting terms, the contribution of an industry to the overall production of goods and services in an economy is measured by gross value added (GVA). GVA is the value of output minus the value of inputs used in production. GVA for an industry is the sum of GVA made by each producer in the industry. The sum of GVA across all industries plus taxes less subsidies on products equals Gross Domestic Product (GDP). See Measure of production for the difference between industry GVA and industry value added.

    Income from sales of goods and services

    This item includes income from sales of goods by the business and income from services provided such as commission income, repair and service income and fees, management fees, rent leasing and hiring income, delivery and installation charges, income from consulting services, sponsorship income, membership/subscription fees and royalties income. State/territory income from sales of goods and services is reported by businesses for the sales of goods and services from each state/territory in which the business operates.

    Data on this item produced by the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey is different from "sales and service income" produced by the Economic Activity Survey on mining. The Quarterly Business Indicators Survey includes royalty income in "income from sales of goods and services", but this is excluded from "sales and service income" in the Economic Activity Survey.

    Index of industrial production for mining

    The purpose of this index is to measure changes in production from a base period. The base value is normally represented by an index number of 100.0 (or 100). In the construction of the index of industrial production for mining, gross value added is used.

    Industry value added (IVA)

    IVA represents the value added by an industry to the intermediate inputs used by the industry. IVA is the measure of the contribution by businesses, in the selected industry, to gross domestic product. See Measure of production for the difference between industry GVA and industry value added.

    The derivation of IVA for individual businesses depends on whether they are classified as market or non-market producers. Non-market producers are those institutions which provide goods or services either free or at prices that are not economically significant. In other words, their prices are not significantly influenced by the amounts that producers are willing to supply, nor the amounts that users are willing to pay to purchase the goods or services being provided. Conversely, market producers provide goods and services at prices that are economically significant.

    For market producers, the derivation of IVA is as follows:

    Sales and service income
    plusFunding from federal, state or local governments for operational costs
    plusCapital work done for own use
    plusClosing inventories
    lessOpening inventories
    lessPurchase of goods and materials
    lessOther intermediate input expenses
    However, it should be noted that IVA is a measure of economic activity and is not equivalent to operating profit before tax (OPBT). Wage and salary expenses and most other labour costs are not taken into account in its calculation for market producers, and nor are most insurance premiums, interest expenses or depreciation and a number of lesser expenses (see the entry for total expenses for further details). On the income side, OPBT includes total income, whereas IVA only includes sales and service income.

    As a principle, the output of non-market production is valued at cost, including intermediate input expenses. As shown in the above derivation, purchases and other intermediate input expenses are deducted from output in order to arrive at IVA. Accordingly, the derivation of IVA for non-market producers can be described as follows:

    Selected labour costs
    plusDepreciation and amortisation

    Estimates of industry value added are obtained by summing the contributions of businesses classified to that industry, both market and (if any) non-market producers. Market producers predominate in most industries.

    Industry value added is related to, but different from, the national accounting variable gross value added. For national accounts purposes, gross value added is calculated by adjusting industry value added to include General government units and also to account for some other effects.


    All inventories of materials etc., work in progress and finished goods owned by the business, whether held at locations of the business or elsewhere. Inventories are recorded at book value at the end of the period.

    Management Unit (MU)

    The management unit is the highest level accounting unit within a business, having regard for industry homogeneity, for which accounts are maintained. In nearly all cases it coincides with the legal entity owning the business (i.e. company, partnership, trust, sole operator, etc.). However, in the case of large diversified businesses there may be more than one management unit, each coinciding with a 'Division' or 'line of business'. A division or line of business is recognised where separate and comprehensive accounts are compiled for it.

    Materials used in coal mining index

    The purpose of the index is to provide a measure of the price change of materials used in the removal of overburden, the extraction, washing and preparation and sorting of coal, and its transportation to the railhead . Prices measured are actual transaction prices, that is the actual prices paid by coal mines to suppliers for materials delivered to mine sites.

    Mine development

    Phase usually following exploration where a prospective discovery (e.g. proven oil or gas field or concentrate of ore) is brought into production or for extending the life of a current mine or well. Activities may include preparing the ground by the removal of overburden, constructing shafts, drives and winzes; or by drilling and completing wells. All activities are for the purposes of commencing extraction/mining or extending production.


    Are a naturally occurring inorganic element or compound having an orderly internal structure and characteristic chemical composition, crystal form, and physical properties. These, for example, comprise of metallic minerals such as copper, silver, lead-zinc, nickel, cobalt, gold, iron ore, mineral sands, uranium and non-metallic minerals such as coal, diamonds and other precious and semi-precious stones and construction materials (e.g. gravel and sand).


    Mining broadly relates to the extraction of minerals occurring naturally as solids such as coal and ores, liquids such as crude petroleum, or gases such as natural gas, by such processes as underground mining, open-cut extraction methods, quarrying, operation of wells or evaporation pans, dredging or recovering from ore dumps or tailings. Activities such as dressing or beneficiating ores or other minerals by crushing, milling, screening, washing, flotation or other processes (including chemical beneficiation) or briquetting, are included because they are generally carried out at or near mine sites as an integral part of mining operations. Natural gas absorption and purifying plants are also included.

    Mining licence/lease

    Covers the commercial mining phase of a project for the licenced area. This licence authorises both full recovery and further exploration to occur.

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    Net fixed capital expenditure

    The difference between total acquisitions and disposals of fixed tangible assets.


    Commences from the low water mark to three nautical miles out (referred to as coastal waters) under State and Northern Territory legislation and extends to those areas beyond coastal waters governed by the Commonwealth under the Petroleum (Submerged Lands) Act 1967.


    Includes all Australian territorial lands to the low water mark.

    Operating profit before tax (OPBT)

    OPBT is a measure of profit before extraordinary items are brought to account and prior to the deduction of income tax and appropriations to owners (e.g. dividends paid).


    Petroleum is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon or mixture of hydrocarbons. As oil or gas in solution (e.g. LPG), it is widespread in Australian sedimentary rocks.

    Private new capital expenditure

    Private new capital expenditure refers to the acquisition of new tangible assets, by private businesses, either on own account or under a finance lease and includes major improvements, alterations and additions. In general, this is expenditure charged to fixed tangible assets accounts excluding expenditure on second hand assets unless these are imported for the first time.

    Production lease

    This is one of the categories used in the petroleum component of the Mineral and Petroleum Exploration Survey to classify the occurrence of exploration activities. A production lease is defined as an area on which development to extract oil and gas is underway or where extraction/mining of these substances is already occurring. For the mineral component of the Survey, information on production leases ceased to be collected from September quarter 2004 and has been replaced with exploration expenditure on 'new deposits' and 'existing deposits'.

    Research and development (R&D)

    In the business context, R&D is systematic investigation or experimentation involving innovation or technical risk, the outcome of which is new knowledge, with or without a specific practical application or new or improved products, processes, materials, devices or services. R&D activity extends to modifications to existing products/processes. R&D activity ceases and pre-production begins when work is no longer experimental.

    Research and development expenditure

    Includes capital, labour costs and other current expenditure on research and development activity. Capital expenditure is the amount spent on the acquisition of fixed tangible assets such as land, buildings, vehicles, plant, machinery and equipment attributable to R&D activity. Labour costs include wages and salaries, overtime allowances, penalty rates, leave loadings, bonuses, commission payments, all paid leave, employer contributions to superannuation and pension schemes, payroll tax, fringe benefits tax, payments to contract staff on the payroll, severance, termination and redundancy payments and workers compensation insurance. Other current expenditures are expenditure on materials, fuels, rent and hiring, repairs and maintenance, data processing etc. and the proportion of expenditure on general services and overheads which is attributable to R&D activity.

    Retention licence

    An intermediate form of tenure between the exploration licence and mining licence allowing the holder of the exploration licence to retain title to the area for a limited time. It is designed to ensure the retention of rights pending the transition of a project from the exploration phase to the commercial mining phase.


    A part of a population selected for the purpose of studying certain characteristics of an entire population of interest.

    Sample Error

    Estimates in ABS sample surveys such as the Economic Activity Survey are based on information obtained from a sample drawn from the total mining population in scope of the collection. As such they are subject to sampling variability; that is, the estimate may differ from the figures that would have been produced if all mining businesses had been included in the collection. One measure of the likely difference is given by the standard error (SE), which indicates the extent to which an estimate might have varied by chance because only a sample was taken. There are about two chances in three that a sample estimate will differ by less than one SE from the figure that would have been obtained if all mining businesses had been included, and about nineteen chances in twenty that the difference will be less than two SEs.

    In publications such as Australian Industry, (cat. no. 8155.0), sampling variability of the estimates is measured by the relative standard error (RSE). The RSE is obtained by expressing the SE as a percentage of the estimate to which it refers. If an estimate is identified by a carrot (^) the RSE lies between 10 and 25%. For an estimate identified by a single asterisk (e.g. *2) the RSE lies between 25% and 50%. If an estimate is identified by a double asterisk (e.g. **1) the RSE is above 50%. Separate indication of the RSEs of all estimates is available on request.

    and service income

    Includes revenue from the sale of minerals and other goods and service income (e.g. minerals bought for re-sale, waste materials, repair and service income, contract, subcontract and commission income, installation charges) and rent, leasing and hiring income. Sales are valued net of sales tax, excise and other duties collected on behalf of governments (e.g. the coal export levy and petroleum production excise duty).

    Data on this item produced by the Economic Activity Survey on mining is different from "income from sales of goods and services" produced by the Quarterly Business Indicators Survey. The Quarterly Business Indicators Survey includes royalty income in "income from sales of goods and services", but this is excluded from "sales and service income" in the Economic Activity Survey.

    Sample survey

    A collection which involves gathering information from a subset or sample of the population being studied. The sample design is critical as it must be representative of the population or it will lead to false conclusions.

    Stratified sampling

    Sampling procedure in which the population units, before a sample is selected, are classified into mutually exclusive and exhaustive groups (called strata), and a sample is taken from each of these groups. For example, a National survey may be run by taking a sample from each of the states and territories. In this case the states and territories would be the strata. Note that one advantage of stratification is that different selection methods and different estimation methods may be used in separate strata.

    Taxes paid

    The taxes include mineral royalties, licence fees, income tax expense, land taxes and rates, payroll tax, fringe benefits tax and fuel excise and other taxes.

    Trading profit margin

    Derived by expressing total trading profit as a percentage of total sales and service income, i.e. (Trading profit/Sales and service income) x 100.

    Type of activity unit (TAU)

    The TAU is comprised of one or more business entities, sub-entities or branches of a business entity within an enterprise group that can report production and employment data for similar economic activities. When a minimum set of data items are available, a TAU is created which covers all the operations within an industry subdivision (and the TAU is classified to the relevant subdivision of the ANZSIC). Where a business cannot supply adequate data for each industry, a TAU is formed which contains activity in more than one industry subdivision. In most cases, TAUs concord with the management units used prior to the 2001-02 year.

    Unincorporated Joint Venture (UJV)

    An agreement between legal entities to jointly undertake a particular project. They share costs up to the stage of production or output, then each venturer deals with its share of output independently. Joint venturers usually come about due to the size of the project and/or specialist functions of the companies in the consortium.

    Wages and salaries

    Refers to payments made to all permanent, part-time and temporary employees on the payroll during the financial year. Such payments include severance, termination and redundancy payments, overtime earnings, penalty payments and shift allowances, all paid leave, leave loadings and bonuses. Also includes capitalised wages.

    Weighting up

    The process where each unit in a sample population has its response inflated to represent the response from all similar units in the population. The 'weight' conferred refers to the number of units in the population represented by each unit in the sample (e.g. in a 5% sample, the weight is 20).

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    Using Mining Statistics

    Themes - Mining

    Commonwealth of Australia 2008

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