8415.0 - Mining Operations, Australia, 2003-04  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 22/06/2006   
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1 This publication, Mining Operations, Australia, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8415.0), presents data of the economic and financial performance of the mining industry and the production of mining commodities. These data are obtained from ABS surveys and, in the case of the commodity data, as statistics from state and Northern Territory government departments.

2 Mining, as specified in Division B of the 1993 edition of the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) (cat. no. 1292.0), relates to the extraction of minerals occurring naturally as solids such as coal and ores, liquids such as crude petroleum, or gases such as natural gas, by such processes as underground mining, open-cut extraction methods, quarrying, operation of wells or evaporation pans, dredging or recovering from ore dumps or tailings. Activities such as briquetting, or dressing/beneficiating ores or other minerals (by crushing, milling, screening, washing, flotation, chemical beneficiation, etc.) are included, because they are generally carried out at or near mine sites as an integral part of mining operations. Natural gas absorption and purifying plants are also included. The division also includes exploration for minerals and the provision of a wide variety of services to mining and to mineral exploration, as well as mining units under development.

3 The mining collection is conducted annually as a component of the ABS's Economic Activity Survey (EAS):

  • A sample of approximately 660 mining businesses were asked by the ABS to provide employment details and data obtained from their financial statements, mainly via mail out questionnaires. Businesses were also asked to supply key details of their operations by state and territory, enabling the production of the state/territory estimates contained in table 3.1.
  • Key financial data for nearly 3,890 mining businesses, which had been supplied by them to the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) on business income tax returns (BIT data), were then used to supplement the ABS's directly collected information. Section 16(4)(ga) of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936 provides for the ATO to pass information to the Australian Statistician for the purposes of the Census and Statistics Act 1905.

4 Commodity production data, as published in Chapter 4, are not collected as part of this annual mining collection (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 37-39 for further detail).


5 Statistical units are those entities from which statistics are collected, or about which statistics are compiled. In ABS economic statistics, the statistical unit is generally the business. All businesses in the EAS are recorded on the ABS Business Register (ABSBR).

6 The ABS uses an economic statistics units model on the ABSBR to describe the characteristics of businesses, and the structural relationships between related businesses. Within large and diverse business groups, the units model is used also to define reporting units that can provide data to the ABS at suitable levels of detail.

7 This units model allocates businesses to one of two sub-populations:

  • Most businesses and organisations in Australia need to obtain an Australian Business Number (ABN). The vast majority of these businesses are simple in structure and are allocated to the population which is maintained by the ATO. These are termed (by the ABS) ABN units.
  • The remaining businesses are in the ABS maintained population, and are termed type of activity units, or TAUs.

8 Together, these two sub-populations (of ABN units and TAUs) make up the ABSBR population, from which the EAS samples are taken.

9 For details about the ABSBR and how ABN units and TAUs contribute to the industry statistics in this publication, see Technical Note 1.


10 The scope of the 2003-04 mining collection comprises all businesses (including non-employing businesses) on the ABSBR at time of selection, whose industry is classified to ANZSIC Division B Mining. This division comprises the following subdivisions and their component groups and classes:

11 Coal mining
110 Coal mining
1101 Black coal mining
1102 Brown coal mining
12 Oil and gas extraction
120 Oil and gas extraction
1200 Oil and gas extraction
13 Metal ore mining
131 Metal ore mining
1311 Iron ore mining
1312 Bauxite mining
1313 Copper ore mining
1314 Gold ore mining
1315 Mineral sand mining
1316 Nickel ore mining
1317 Silver-lead-zinc ore mining
1319 Metal ore mining n.e.c.
14 Other mining
141 Construction material mining
1411 Gravel and sand quarrying
1419 Construction material mining n.e.c.
142 Mining n.e.c.
1420 Mining n.e.c.
15 Services to mining
151 Exploration
1511 Petroleum exploration (own account)
1512 Petroleum exploration services
1513 Mineral exploration (own account)
1514 Mineral exploration services
152 Other mining services
1520 Other mining services

11 Industry statistics in Chapters 1-3 of this publication (excluding tables 1.2 and 3.2) are presented at the subdivision level for all subdivisions except ANZSIC Subdivision 13 Metal ore mining, which is presented at the class level.

12 The ANZSIC-based industry statistics presented in this publication are compiled differently from activity statistics. Each ABN unit or TAU on the ABSBR has been classified (by the ATO and the ABS respectively) to a single industry irrespective of any diversity of activities undertaken. The industry class allocated is the one which relates to those activities that provide the main source of income. A mining business is one predominantly engaged in mining activities, but the data collected for it cover all activities of the business (including any non-mining activities). Conversely, there are some businesses predominantly engaged in non-mining activities which also undertake limited mining activities; these are excluded from the collection.

13 Businesses mainly engaged in refining or smelting minerals or ores (other than preliminary smelting of gold), or in manufacturing such products of mineral origin as coke, cement and fertilisers, are excluded, as they are engaged in activities classified to ANZSIC Division C Manufacturing.

14 Businesses engaged in providing contract mining services are not always within the scope of the annual mining collection. Under ANZSIC principles, only those contract mining organisations responsible for all facets of a mining operation are classified to Mining. Businesses which contract to provide selected services are classified to the (predominant) activity they are performing, rather than to the industry they are serving. For example, businesses contracted to perform tasks such as mine site preparation (and/or construction), and removal of overburden, are classified to ANZSIC Division E Construction and are, therefore, outside the scope of the mining collection.

15 Some mining businesses engage, to a significant extent, in activities which are normally carried out by different industries. For example, a predominantly mining business may also undertake significant amounts of manufacturing. Similarly, a mining business may produce significant volumes of goods which are normally produced in different mining industries. Where a business makes a significant economic contribution to industries classified to different ANZSIC subdivisions, the ABS includes the business in the ABS maintained population and 'splits' the TAU's reported data between the industries involved. Significance is determined using total income.

16 A TAU's reported data will be split if the inclusion of data relating to the secondary activity in the statistics for the industry of the primary activity distorts (by overstating or understating) either the primary or secondary industry statistics at the ANZSIC subdivision level by:

  • 3% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in the same ANZSIC division
  • 2% or more, where the industries of the primary and secondary activities are in different ANZSIC divisions.

17 Unincorporated joint ventures (UJVs) within the mining industry are arrangements which allow the sharing of expertise, resources and risk associated with the development of mineral deposits. This occurs through the participation of a number of organisations (by investment) in a mining operation. Some of these organisations may not otherwise be involved in the mining industry.

18 The mining collection includes mining businesses which are operators and/or participants in UJVs. Generally, each participant supplies data of its share of income, while the operator reports all expenses and employment.

19 The ABS attempts to maintain a current understanding of the structure of the large, complex and diverse business groups that form the ABS maintained population on the ABSBR, through direct contact with those businesses. Resultant changes in their structures on the ABSBR can affect:

  • the availability of such businesses (or units within them) for inclusion in the annual economic collections,
  • the delineation of the units, within those groups, for which data are to be reported.

20 The ABS attempts to obtain data for those businesses which ceased operation during the year, but it is not possible to obtain data for all of them.


21 The period covered by the collection is, in general, the 12 months ended 30 June. Where businesses are unable to supply information on this basis, an accounting period for which data can be provided is used for data other than that relating to employment. Such businesses make a substantial contribution to some of the estimates presented in this publication. As a result, the estimates can reflect trading conditions that prevailed in periods outside the twelve months ended June in the relevant year. In particular, this should be taken into account when considering those measures expressed as values per person employed.

22 Financial data presented incorporate all units in scope of the mining collection that were at the production stage at any time during the year. They also include any temporarily inactive units, i.e. those units which were in the development stage or which were not in production, but which still existed and held assets and liabilities and/or incurred some non-operating expenses (e.g. depreciation, administration costs).


23 For information about this subject, see Technical Notes 2 and 3.


24 This publication presents a wide range of data that can be used to analyse business and industry performance.

25 Differences in accounting policy and practices across businesses and industries can lead to some inconsistencies in the data input to the statistics. Although much of the accounting process is subject to standards, there is still a great deal of flexibility left to managers and accountants in the accounting policy and practices they adopt. For example, the way profit is measured is affected by management policy on such issues as depreciation rates, bad debt provisions and write off, and goodwill write off.

26 A range of performance measures, usually expressed as ratios, can be produced from the data available from businesses' financial statements. Others, relating to labour inputs, can be derived by expressing financial or economic variables on a per person employed basis. The performance measures presented in this publication comprise:

  • profitability ratios, which measure the rate of profit on sales
  • debt ratios, which indicate the ability of businesses to meet the cost of debt financing
  • labour measures, which relate output, labour costs and employment
  • capital expenditure ratios, which indicate the extent of business investment in capital assets.

27 Explanations of each ratio can be found in the Glossary.

28 Those ratios compiled from a combination of flow (whole period) and level (beginning or end of period) items need to be treated with additional caution. Ratios which include both level and flow items in their derivation may be volatile due to the timing differences involved. It may, therefore, be preferable to base any analysis on a range of data presented rather than focusing on one variable.

29 The varying degree to which businesses consolidate their accounts may also affect the ratios calculated.

30 The above limitations are not meant to imply that analysis based on these data should be avoided, only that they should be borne in mind when interpreting the data presented in this publication.


31 The data of capital expenditure, disposals of assets and net capital expenditure presented in this issue (tables 2.8 to 2.10) include intangible assets for the first time. This aligns the presentation of these data for the Mining industry with that used elsewhere in ABS industry statistics. Any analysis of Mining capital expenditure data over time should take this change into account. Data on a comparable basis for 2001-02 and 2002-03 are available on-line.


32 The presentation of the components of industry value added (tables 2.5 to 2.7) has been slightly changed from that of previous issues of this publication. Capitalised purchases are no longer separately shown in these tables, but are included with current purchases in the item 'Purchases of goods and materials'. Consequently, the remaining 'minus' item has been respecified as 'Other intermediate input expenses' to exclude current purchases. The previous item 'Intermediate input expenses' had included them. These changes align the presentation of industry value added for the Mining industry with that used elsewhere in ABS industry statistics, and have no effect on the derivation of industry value added itself. Estimates of the value of capitalised purchases continue to be available from tables 2.2 to 2.4.


33 State and territory summary estimates for selected mining (i.e. total Mining excluding ANZSIC Subdivision 15 Services to mining) are presented in table 3.1. To enable the production of these estimates, businesses included in the mail out survey were asked to report data for employment, wages and salaries, and sales of goods and services, for each state and/or territory in which they operated, if more than one. The relevant data for all other businesses, including those whose contribution was sourced from BIT data, were allocated to their state/territory of operations as recorded on the ABSBR. Further statistical modelling enabled the production of state and territory estimates for industry value added.

34 The design of the mining collection does not take into account the state/territory in which businesses are based or in which they operate. As a result, these state and territory estimates are particularly subject to variation from year to year because of rotation of businesses into and out of the sample.

35 State and Northern Territory commodity production statistics are presented in Chapter 4 (see Explanatory Notes paragraphs 37-39 for details).


36 Data in this publication have been adjusted to allow for lags in processing new businesses to the ABSBR. The effect of these adjustments is an increase of 0.6% on the Australian estimate of sales and service income for total Mining.


37 Chapter 4 of this publication presents details of the quantity and value of minerals produced during the year ended 30 June 2004.

38 These data are based on annual publications and other information supplied by the various state and Northern Territory departments responsible for the collection of these statistics. The tables presented cover production of metallic minerals, coal, oil and gas, construction materials, and other non-metallic minerals. The presentation of these data is designed to give an overview of the level of mining activity within each state and the Northern Territory. The tables have been footnoted to provide an indication of conceptual differences. As the footnotes relate to specified commodity definitions and valuation methodologies, they should not be considered as an exhaustive list of these differences. For further information, please consult the data sources indicated in the following paragraph.

39 Users requiring detailed information about the level and type of commodities produced in each state and the Northern Territory are encouraged to refer to the respective departments' web sites and publications:

      New South Wales: NSW Department of Primary Industries,
      <http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au /minerals >
      Quantity and value of major mining products in New South Wales
      Victoria: Department of Primary Industries,
      Minerals and Petroleum Victoria, Statistical Review
      Queensland: Department of Natural Resources and Mines,
      Queensland Minerals and Energy Review

      South Australia: Department of Primary Industries and Resources,
      Resource Production Statistics, biannual
      Western Australia: Department of Industry and Resources,
      Western Australian Statistics Digest, Mineral and Petroleum Production
      Tasmania: Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources,
      Mineral Resources Tasmania, Annual Review
      Northern Territory: Department of Primary Industries, Fisheries and Mines,
      Annual Production Report


40 ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available. Information received by the ABS is treated in strict confidence as required by the Census and Statistics Act 1905.


41 The ABS produces industry estimates for a range of selected industries (including mining) and these results are to be available in Australian Industry, 2003-04 (cat. no. 8155.0) expected to be released in July 2006.

42 National estimates of employment, income, expenditure and associated ratios will be available at the ANZSIC division level (with a greater range of data available via the ABS web site in spreadsheet form). Some data presenting greater detail are considered experimental at this stage, while the methodology used to produce them is reviewed and improved. These consist of national estimates of income, expenses, operating profit before tax (OPBT), and wages and salaries, at the ANZSIC class level, and state/territory estimates of these items at the ANZSIC division level.

43 The following publications and electronic releases also contain information about the mining industry:

      Australian Bureau of Statistics Business Register, Counts of Businesses - Summary Tables, cat. no. 8161.0.55.001, released on 7 October 2005 - Annual release
      Australian Industry, 2001-02 and 2002-03, cat. no. 8155.0, released on 7 February 2005 - Annual publication
      Australian Labour Market Statistics, cat. no. 6105.0 - Quarterly publication
      Australian National Accounts: National Income, Expenditure and Product, cat. no. 5206.0 - Quarterly publication
      Australian National Accounts: State Accounts, 2004-05, cat. no. 5220.0, released on 9 November 2005 - Annual publication
      Australian System of National Accounts: Concepts, Sources and Methods, 2000, cat. no. 5216.0, released on 21 December 2000 - Irregular publication
      Business Indicators, Australia, cat. no. 5676.0 - Quarterly publication
      Directory of Mining Statistics, cat. no. 8416.0, released on 29 October 1999 - Irregular publication
      Electricity, Gas, Water and Sewerage Operations, Australia, 2003-04, cat. no. 8226.0, released on 21 December 2005 - Annual publication
      Environment Protection, Mining and Manufacturing Industries, Australia, 2000-2001, cat. no. 4603.0, released on 4 September 2002 - Irregular publication
      Information Paper: ABS Statistics and The New Tax System, 2000, cat. no. 1358.0, released on 26 April 2000 - Irregular publication
      Information Paper: Improvements in ABS Economic Statistics [Arising from The New Tax System], cat.no. 1372.0, released on 6 May 2002 - Irregular publication
      International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia, cat. no. 5368.0 - Monthly publication
      International Trade Price Indexes, Australia, cat. no. 6457. 0 - Quarterly publication
      Job Vacancies, Australia, cat. no. 6354.0 - Quarterly publication
      Labour Costs, Australia, 2002-03, cat. no. 6348.0.55.001, released on 11 June 2004 - Irregular electronic publication
      Labour Price Index, Australia, cat. no. 6345.0 - Quarterly publication
      Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, cat. no. 8412.0 - Quarterly publication
      Mining Indicators, Australia, cat. no. 8417.0 - Quarterly electronic publication
      Private New Capital Expenditure and Expected Expenditure, Australia, cat. no. 5625.0 - Quarterly publication
      Producer Price Indexes, Australia, cat. no. 6427.0 - Quarterly publication
      Research and Experimental Development, Businesses, Australia, 2003-04, cat. no. 8104.0, released on 28 September 2005 - Annual publication
      Year Book Australia, 2006, cat. no. 1301.0, released on 20 January 2006 - Annual publication

44 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The Catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site <https://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.

Non-ABS data

45 The following organisations also publish mining and related statistics for Australia:
ABARE, web site <
Australian Commodities (forecasts and issues)
Australian Commodity Statistics
Australian Mineral Statistics
Geoscience Australia, web site <http://www.ga.gov.au>
Australia's Identified Mineral Resources
Oil and Gas Resources of Australia
Minerals Council of Australia, web site <http://www.minerals.org.au>
Minerals Industry Survey Report, 2004
United States Department of the Interior, US Geological Survey,
web site <http://www.geology.usgs.gov>
Mineral Commodity Summaries
The Mineral Industry of Australia


46 As well as the statistics included in this and related publications, the ABS may have other relevant data available on request and for a charge. Inquiries should be made to the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


47 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and the sums of the component items. Due to data being adjusted for lags in processing new businesses to the ABS Business Register (see paragraph 36), this 'rounding rule' also applies to employment estimates.

48 Proportions, ratios and other calculated figures shown in this publication have been calculated using unrounded estimates and may be different from, but are more accurate than, calculations based on the rounded estimates.