8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Sep 2004  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/12/2004   
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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.


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 expenditure

Covers all expenditure (capitalised and non-capitalised) during the exploratory or evaluation stages in Australia, Australian waters, JPDA and Areas B and C of the original ZOC. 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.

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.


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 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.


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.


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

Retention licence

Is 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.

Selected base metals

Are made up of the following minerals: copper, silver, lead-zinc, nickel and cobalt.

Type of deposit

Classification used:

      Existing deposits - 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 deposits - Exploration on 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.

Type of expenditure

Classification used:

      Drilling expenditure - includes 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 expenditure - includes 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.

Type of lease

Classifications used:

      Production lease - is an area on which development to extract coal, minerals, liquids or gaseous materials is underway or where extraction/mining of these substances is already occurring. See also mining licence/lease.
      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.