1367.5 - Western Australian Statistical Indicators, Jun 2007  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/07/2007   
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Image: Mining MINING


Expenditure on mineral exploration (trend) in Western Australia rose 9.2% ($18 million) to $217 million in the March quarter 2007, the 5th successive quarterly rise since the December quarter 2005 ($145 million). During this period, mineral exploration expenditure grew at an average rate of 8.5% per quarter, significantly higher than the rate recorded during the exploration boom of the mid-1990s (5.1% per quarter over the 8 quarters to June 1997). The current level ($217 million) of Western Australia's mineral exploration expenditure is $34 million higher than the previous peak of $183 million in the June quarter 1997.

Graph: Mineral Exploration Expenditure, Total minerals

In original terms, Western Australia's mineral exploration expenditure rose 48.1% ($58 million) to $180 million through the year to March quarter 2007. Growth was recorded across all major minerals, with the largest increases in iron ore (up $19 million or 60.0%), nickel, cobalt (up $18 million or 89.8%) and gold (up $10 million or 18.6%). Increases in mineral exploration activity have coincided with rising world commodity prices over the 12 months to March 2007, especially for nickel (up 211.0%) and gold (up 17.6%). The state's petroleum exploration expenditure more than doubled to $320 million through the year to March quarter 2007 (up 133.2% or $183 million).


Between the March quarters of 2006 and 2007, production increased across most mineral and energy commodities in Western Australia. Minerals recording increases were nickel (up 14.3%), iron ore (up 10.7%), bauxite (up 9.6%) and ilmenite (up 5.9%). In contrast, zinc (down 37.5%), diamonds (down 31.7%) and gold (down 5.0%) production declined. Energy production in Western Australia rose for crude oil (up 35.1%), electricity (up 6.9%) and natural gas (up 6.4%) through the year.