8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Sep 1999  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/12/1999   
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December 22, 1999
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Exploration expenditure still in decline

Mineral exploration expenditure has declined for the ninth consecutive quarter, and is at the lowest level in six years according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

During the September quarter 1999, the trend estimate for mineral exploration expenditure fell $15m to $169m. Quarterly mineral exploration expenditure has fallen 44% since the peak of $302m reached in the June quarter 1997.

Gold was again the main contributor to the decrease in mineral exploration. Gold exploration expenditure fell by 10% in the September quarter 1999 to $102m. This was $33m (24%) lower than the expenditure reported in the September quarter 1998.

The trend estimate for the number of metres drilled was also down, with 1.6 million metres reported during the September quarter, the lowest estimate since the March quarter 1993.

Expenditure on petroleum exploration increased by 8% to $207 million in the September quarter 1999. This was 7% ($13m) higher than the September quarter 1998.

Results from a survey of drilling methods used in mineral exploration during 1998-99 show that diamond drilling accounted for the highest expenditure with 42% ($131m) of the total. In terms of the number of metres drilled, reverse circulation was the most used drilling method. This method was used to drill 2.9 million metres or 35% of the total during 1998-99.

Further details can be found in Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, September Quarter 1999 (cat. no. 8412.0) available from ABS bookshops. This publication was previously titled Actual and Expected Private Mineral Exploration, Australia.

If you wish to purchase a copy of this publication telephone 02 6252 5249.