8415.0 - Mining Operations, Australia, 2001-02 and 2002-03  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/11/2004   
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1 This publication, Mining Operations, Australia, 2001-02 and 2002-03 (cat. no. 8415.0), is the first to present mining industry data compiled from the 2001-02 and 2002-03 collections, together with some revised and comparative statistics for 2000-01. This is also the first issue where the Australian Business Number (ABN) is the primary basis for the statistical units used to collect the data. (As a consequence, the scope of the collection has been expanded to include non-employers, although this has not had a significant effect upon the statistics presented.) For the last published survey (2000-01), the employing ABS 'management unit' was the sole statistical unit used to collect data. For more information about these changes to the annual mining collection and how they affect data outputs, see Appendices 1 and 2.

2 Mining, as specified in Division B of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (cat. no. 1292.0), 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 briquetting, or dressing/beneficiating ores or other minerals (by crushing, milling, screening, washing, flotation, chemical beneficiation, etc.) 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. The division also includes exploration for minerals, the provision of a wide variety of services to mining and mineral exploration, as well as mining units under development.

3 The mining collection is conducted on an annual basis as a component of the Economic Activity Survey (EAS):

  • A sample of mining businesses (approximately, 800 for 2001-02 and 750 for 2002-03) were asked to provide employment details and data obtained from statements of financial performance and position, mainly by mail out questionnaires. Businesses were asked to supply key details of their operations by state and territory, enabling the production of the state/territory estimates contained in table 2.16.
  • For each year, key financial data for nearly 2,450 mining businesses, which had been supplied by them to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on business income tax returns (BIT data), were then used to supplement the ABS's directly collected information.
For details, see Appendix 1 paragraphs 5-12.

4 Mineral production data, as published in Chapter 4, are not collected as part of the annual mining collection (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 36-38 for further detail).


5 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR) to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. Within large and diverse business groups, the units model is used also to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

6 In mid 2002, to better use the information available as a result of The New Tax System (TNTS), the ABS changed its economic statistics units model. The new units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations. The vast majority of businesses are in what is called the ATO maintained population, while the remaining businesses are in the ABS maintained population. Together, these two sub-populations make up the ABSBR population.

ATO maintained population

7 Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN), and are then included on the whole-of-government register of businesses, the Australian Business Register (ABR), which is maintained by the ATO. Most of these businesses have simple structures; therefore, the unit registered for an ABN will satisfy ABS statistical requirements. For these businesses, the ABS has aligned its statistical units structure with the ABN unit. The businesses with simple structures constitute the ATO maintained population, and the ABN unit is used as the statistical unit for all ABS economic collections.

ABS maintained population

8 For the population of businesses where the ABN unit is not suitable for ABS statistical requirements, the ABS maintains its own units structure through direct contact with the business. These businesses constitute the ABS maintained population. This population consists typically of large, complex and diverse businesses. The new statistical units model described below has been introduced to cover such businesses.

Enterprise group: This is a unit covering all the operations in Australia of one or more legal entities under common ownership and/or control. It covers all the operations in Australia of legal entities which are related in terms of the current Corporations Law (as amended by the Corporations Legislation Amendment Act 1991), including legal entities such as companies, trusts and partnerships. Majority ownership is not required for control to be exercised.

Enterprise: The enterprise is an institutional unit comprising:
(i) a single legal entity or business entity, or
(ii) more than one legal entity or business entity within the same enterprise group and in the
same institutional sub-sector (i.e. they are all classified to a single Standard Institutional Sector Classification of Australia (SISCA) sub-sector).

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.

9 For more information about the effects of the introduction of the new economic statistics units model, refer to Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System] (cat. no. 1372.0).

Comparison over time

10 For the 2000-01 year, the mining collection used the management unit as the statistical unit. For 2001-02 and later years, the statistical unit is the ABN unit for businesses with simple structures, and the TAU for businesses with complex structures. In most cases, ABN units / TAUs will concord with the management units used prior to the 2001-02 year.


11 The scope of the 2001-02 and 2002-03 mining collections comprises all businesses (including non-employing businesses) on the ABSBR at time of selection, whose industry is classified to ANZSIC Division B MINING. This division comprises the following subdivisions and their component groups and classes:

11 Coal mining
110 Coal mining
1101 Black coal mining
1102 Brown coal mining
12 Oil and gas extraction
120 Oil and gas extraction
1200 Oil and gas extraction
13 Metal ore mining
131 Metal ore mining
1311 Iron ore mining
1312 Bauxite mining
1313 Copper ore mining
1314 Gold ore mining
1315 Mineral sand mining
1316 Nickel ore mining
1317 Silver-lead-zinc ore mining
1319 Metal ore mining n.e.c.
14 Other mining
141 Construction material mining
1411 Gravel and sand quarrying
1419 Construction material mining n.e.c.
142 Mining n.e.c.
1420 Mining n.e.c.
15 Services to mining
151 Exploration
1511 Petroleum exploration (own account)
1512 Petroleum exploration services
1513 Mineral exploration (own account)
1514 Mineral exploration services
152 Other mining services
1520 Other mining services

12 Industry statistics in Chapters 1-3 of this publication are presented at the subdivision level for all subdivisions except ANZSIC Subdivision 13 METAL ORE MINING, which is presented at the class level.

13 The ANZSIC-based industry statistics presented in this publication are compiled differently from activity statistics. Each ABN unit or TAU on the ABSBR has been classified (by the ATO and the ABS respectively) to a single industry irrespective of any diversity of activities undertaken. The industry class allocated is the one which provides the main source of income. A mining business is one predominantly engaged in mining activities, but the data collected for it cover all activities of the business (including non-mining activities). Conversely, there are some businesses predominantly engaged in non-mining activities which also undertake limited mining activities; these are excluded from the collection.

14 Businesses mainly engaged in refining or smelting of minerals or ores (other than preliminary smelting of gold), or in the manufacturing of such products of mineral origin as coke, cement and fertilisers, are excluded, as they are engaged in activities classified to ANZSIC Division C MANUFACTURING.

15 Businesses engaged in providing contract mining services are not always within the scope of the annual mining collection. Under ANZSIC principles, only contract mining organisations responsible for all facets of the mining operation are classified to MINING. Businesses which contract to provide selected services are classified on the basis of the (predominant) activity they are performing, rather than to the industry they are serving. For example, businesses that are contracted to perform tasks such as mine site preparation (and/or construction), and removal of overburden, are classified to ANZSIC Division E CONSTRUCTION and are, therefore, outside the scope of the mining collection.

16 Some mining businesses engage, in a significant way, in activities which are normally carried out by different industries. For example, a predominantly mining business may also undertake significant amounts of manufacturing. Similarly, a mining business may produce significant volumes of goods which are normally produced in different mining industries. Where a business makes a significant economic contribution to industries classified to different ANZSIC subdivisions, the ABS includes the business in the ABS maintained population, and 'splits' the TAU's reported data between the industries involved. Significance is determined using total income.

17 A TAU's reported data will be split if the inclusion of data relating to the secondary activity in the statistics for the industry of the primary activity distorts (by overstating or understating) either the primary or secondary industry statistics at the ANZSIC subdivision level by:

  • 3% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in the same ANZSIC division
  • 2% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in different ANZSIC divisions.

18 Unincorporated joint ventures (UJVs) within the mining industry are arrangements which allow the sharing of expertise, resources and risk associated with the development of mineral deposits. This occurs through the participation of a number of organisations (by investment) in a mining operation. Some of these organisations may not otherwise be involved in the mining industry.

19 The mining collection includes mining businesses which are operators and/or participants in UJVs. Generally, each participant supplies data on their share of income and assets, while the operator reports all expenses and employment.

20 The ABS attempts to obtain data for those businesses which ceased operation during the year, but it is not possible to obtain data for all of them.


21 The period covered by the collection is, in general, the 12 months ended 30 June. Where businesses are unable to supply information on this basis, an accounting period for which data can be provided is used for data other than that relating to employment.

22 Financial data presented incorporate all units in scope of the mining collection that were in production stage at any time during the year. They also include any temporarily inactive units, i.e. those units which were in the development stage or which were not in production, but which still existed and held assets and liabilities and/or incurred some non-operating expenses (e.g. depreciation, administration costs).


23 For information on this subject, see Technical Notes 1 and 2.


24 This publication presents a wide range of data that can be used to analyse business and industry performance.

25 Differences in accounting policy and practices across businesses and industries can lead to some inconsistencies in the data input to the statistics. While much of the accounting process is subject to standards, there is still a great deal of flexibility left to managers and accountants in the accounting policy and practices they adopt. For example, acceptable methods of asset valuation include historical cost, replacement cost and current market value. The timing of asset revaluations also varies considerably across businesses. The way profit is measured is affected by management policy on such issues as depreciation rates, bad debt provisions and write off, and goodwill write off.

26 A range of performance measures, usually expressed as ratios, can be produced from the data available from businesses' statements of financial performance and position. The ratios presented in this publication comprise:

  • income ratios, which indicate the efficiency of selling activities (including the sale of services as well as goods)
  • profitability ratios, which measure rates of profit on sales, funds and assets
  • liquidity ratios, which measure the ability of businesses to meet short-term financial obligations, i.e. how quickly selected assets can be converted into cash
  • debt ratios, which indicate the extent to which debt is used as an alternative to financing through equity and the ability of businesses to meet the cost of such financing
  • labour ratios, which measure the relative profitability and costs of labour
  • capital expenditure ratios, which indicate the capacity for and extent of business investment in capital assets.

27 A further explanation of each ratio can be found in the Glossary.

28 Those ratios compiled from a combination of flow and level items need to be treated with additional caution. The information contained in statements of financial position indicate the level of assets and liabilities at a point in time. Information contained in statements of financial performance summarise the flows (or transactions) which have taken place during the past financial year. Ratios which include both level and flow items in their derivation may be volatile due to the timing differences involved. It may, therefore, be preferable to base any analysis on a range of data presented rather than focusing on one variable.

29 The varying degree to which businesses consolidate their accounts may also affect the ratios calculated.

30 The above limitations are not meant to imply that analysis based on these data should be avoided, only that they should be borne in mind when interpreting the data presented in this publication.


31 State and territory summary estimates for selected mining (i.e. Total mining excluding ANZSIC Subdivision 15 SERVICES TO MINING) are presented in table 2.16. To enable the production of these estimates, businesses which received the mail out questionnaire were asked to report data for employment, wages and salaries, and sales of goods and services for each state and/or territory in which they operated, if more than one. The relevant data for all other businesses, including those whose contribution was sourced from BIT data, were allocated to their state/territory of operations as recorded on the ABSBR. Further statistical modelling enabled the production of state and territory estimates for industry value added.

32 State and Northern Territory mineral production statistics are presented in Chapter 4 (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 36-38 for details).


33 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR. The effects of these adjustments on Australian estimates of sales and service income are:

  • for 2001-02, an increase of 1.4%
  • for 2002-03, an increase of 0.6%.

34 Most states and territories and most industries were affected to a similar degree.


35 Employment estimates (and related ratios) have been excluded from this issue, due to reliability problems with the modelling of ATO BIT data intended to provide employment estimates for non-sampled ABN units. When these problems are resolved, estimates will be made available.


36 Chapter 4 of this publication presents details of the quantity and value of minerals produced during the years ended 30 June 2002 and 30 June 2003.

37 These data are sourced from annual publications and other information supplied by the various state and Northern Territory departments responsible for the collection of these statistics. The tables presented cover production of metallic minerals, coal, oil and gas, construction materials, and other non-metallic minerals. The presentation of these data is designed to give users an overview of the level of mining activity within each state and the Northern Territory. The tables have been footnoted to provide an indication of conceptual differences. As the footnotes relate to specified commodity definitions and valuation methodologies, they should not be considered as an exhaustive list of these differences. For further information, users should consult the data sources indicated in the following paragraph.

38 Users requiring detailed information about the level and type of commodities produced in each state and the Northern Territory are encouraged to refer to the respective departments' web sites and publications:

      New South Wales: Department of Mineral Resources,
      Quantity and value of major mining products in New South Wales
      Victoria: Department of Primary Industries,
      Minerals and Petroleum Victoria, Statistical Review
      Queensland: Department of Natural Resources and Mines,
      Queensland Minerals and Energy Review
      South Australia: Department of Primary Industries and Resources,
      Resource Production Statistics, biannual
      Western Australia: Department of Industry and Resources,
      Western Australian Statistics Digest, Mineral and Petroleum Production
      Tasmania: Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources,
      Mineral Resources Tasmania, Annual Review
      Northern Territory: Department of Business, Industry and Resource Development,
      Annual Production Report


39 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


40 The ABS produces industry estimates for a range of selected industries (including Mining) and these results are to be available in Australian Industry, 2001-02 and 2002-03 (cat. no. 8155.0) to be released on 20 December 2004. National estimates of income, expenditure, assets and liabilities and associated ratios will be available at the ANZSIC division level. Data presenting greater detail are considered experimental at this stage, while the methodology used to produce them is reviewed and improved. These consist of national estimates of income, expenses, operating profit before tax (OPBT), and wages and salaries, at the ANZSIC group level, and state/territory estimates of these items at the ANZSIC division level.

41 Users may also wish to refer to the following publications:

      Australian Industry, 2000-01, cat. no. 8155.0, released on 27 August 2003 - Annual publication
      Australian Labour Market Statistics, cat. no. 6105.0 - Quarterly publication
      Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, cat. no. 5206.0 - Quarterly publication
      Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2002-03, cat. no. 5220.0, released on 12 November 2003 - Annual publication
      Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2000, cat. no. 5216.0, released on 21 December 2000 - Irregular publication
      Business Indicators, Australia, cat. no. 5676.0 - Quarterly publication
      Business Operations and Industry Performance, Australia, 2000-01, cat. no. 8140.0, released on 6 December 2002 - Final issue
      Directory of Mining Statistics, cat. no. 8416.0, released on 29 October 1999 - Irregular publication
      Electricity, Gas, Water and Sewerage Operations, Australia, 2001-02 and 2002-03, cat. no. 8226.0, expected to be released on 25 November 2004 - Annual publication
      Environment Protection, Mining and Manufacturing Industries, Australia, 2000-2001, cat. no. 4603.0, released on 4 September 2002 - Irregular publication
      Information Paper: ABS Statistics and The New Tax System, 2000, cat. no. 1358.0, released on 26 April 2000 - Irregular publication
      Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System], cat. no. 1372.0, released on 6 May 2002 - Irregular publication
      International Merchandise Trade, Australia, March quarter 2003,
      cat. no. 5422.0 - Final publication
      International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, cat. no. 5368.0 - Monthly publication
      International Trade Price Indexes, Australia, cat. no. 6457. 0 - Quarterly publication
      Job Vacancies, Australia, cat. no. 6354.0 - Quarterly publication
      Labour Costs, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 6348.0.55.001, released on 11 June 2004 - Irregular electronic publication
      Labour Price Index, Australia, cat. no. 6345.0 - Quarterly publication (renamed from Wage Cost Index, Australia)
      Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, cat. no. 8412.0 - Quarterly publication
      Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia, cat. no. 5625.0 - Quarterly publication
      Producer Price Indexes, Australia, cat. no. 6427.0 - Quarterly publication
      Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 8104.0, released on 6 September 2004 - Annual publication
      Wage Cost Index, Australia, cat. no. 6345.0 - renamed, from September Quarter 2004 issue. See Labour Price Index, Australia
      Year Book Australia, 2004, cat. no. 1301.0, released on 27 February 2004 - Annual publication

42 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or on this site. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

Non-ABS data

43 The following organisations also publish mining and related statistics for Australia:
ABARE, web site http://www.abareconomics.com
Australian Commodities (forecasts and issues)
Australian Commodity Statistics
Australian Mineral Statistics
Geoscience Australia, web site http://www.ga.gov.au
Australia's Identified Mineral Resources
Oil and Gas Resources of Australia
Minerals Council of Australia, web site http://www.minerals.org.au
Minerals Industry Survey Report, 2003
United States Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey, web site
Mineral Commodity Summaries
The Mineral Industry of Australia


44 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


45 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items.

46 Proportions, ratios and other calculated figures shown in this publication have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, calculations based on the rounded estimates.