8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Mar 2002  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/06/2002   
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June 19, 2002
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Exploration expenditure declines

Mineral exploration expenditure declined by 2% to $156million (m) in trend terms during the March quarter 2002, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In the last year the trend estimate for mineral exploration expenditure has declined by 9%.

In original terms mineral exploration expenditure for the March quarter 2002 decreased by 24% ($41m) to $130m, reflecting the normal seasonal downturn. This was mainly attributed to a 23% ($31m) decrease in expenditure reported on 'all other areas' (i.e. areas other than production leases). Overall, Western Australia was the main contributor to the March quarter 2002 decrease, down $26m. Seasonally adjusted data however only fell by 5% ($5m).

Mineral exploration expenditure for gold decreased by $10m (12%), nickel and cobalt by $7m (41%) and diamonds by $5m (47%). A total of 0.9 million metres were drilled for mineral exploration, 28% lower than the December quarter 2001.

Expenditure on petroleum exploration declined by 25% ($66m) to $202m during the March quarter 2002. The decline in total petroleum exploration expenditure was a result of a 38% ($58m) decrease in offshore drilling expenditure due to some significant exploration being completed.

Regional data for petroleum exploration expenditure for the March quarter 2002 are available for Victoria, 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 96% to total petroleum exploration expenditure in the March quarter 2002.

Further information can be found in Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia March Quarter 2002 (cat. no. 8412.0).