8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Dec 2001  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 20/03/2002   
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March 20, 2002
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
Petroleum exploration up, mineral exploration stead

Expenditure on petroleum exploration rose by 16% ($37m) to $268m during the December quarter 2001, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). However, expectations for the first half of 2002 suggest this may be only a temporary increase.

The rise in total petroleum exploration expenditure was a result of a 21% ($40m) increase in offshore expenditure.

Regional data for petroleum exploration expenditure for the December quarter 2001 are available for Queensland, Western Australia, the Northern Territory/Ashmore and Cartier Islands and the Joint Petroleum Development Area formerly known as the Zone of Cooperation Area A. Combined, these regions contributed 88% to total petroleum exploration expenditure in the December quarter 2001.

The trend estimate for mineral exploration expenditure fell for the December quarter 2001, with the estimate being 2% lower than that for the September quarter 2001.

In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure for the December quarter 2001 increased by 2% ($3m) to $171m. The increase was due to a 5% ($7m) increase in expenditure reported on 'all other areas' (i.e. areas other than production leases). Overall, Queensland was the main contributor to the December quarter 2001 increase, up $3m.

Mineral exploration expenditure for iron ore increased by $3m (57%) and coal by $3m (21%), while gold decreased by $2m (2%). A total of 1.3 million metres were drilled for mineral exploration, 7% lower than the September quarter 2001.

Further information can be found in Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia December Quarter 2001 (cat. no. 8412.0).