Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia

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Quarterly statistics on mineral and petroleum exploration expenditure by private organisations in Australia

Reference period
March 2021

Mineral exploration

Total expenditure

  • Rose 13.7% (+$102.0m) to $843.9m

Mineral exploration, original series

  • Fell 4.5% (-$34.9m) to $735.1m 
  • Existing deposits fell 6.6% (-$34.7m)
  • New deposits fell 0.1% (-$0.2m)
  • Gold recorded the largest fall (down 6.4%, -$24.5m)

Metres drilled

  • Rose 10.6%

Metres drilled, original series

  • Fell 6.8%
  • New deposits fell 16.6%
  • Existing deposits fell 1.7%

Petroleum exploration

Total expenditure

  • Rose 7.3% (+$19.4m) to $283.4m
  • Production lease areas rose 49.8% (+$48.2m)
  • All other areas fell 17.2% (-$28.8m)


  • Rose 26.0% (+$36.7m) to $178.0m


  • Fell 14.0% (-$17.2m) to $105.4m


​​​​​​​Suspension of trend series

The trend series attempts to measure underlying behaviour in exploration expenditure and metres drilled. Due to Covid-19, in the short term this measurement will be significantly affected by changes to regular patterns. If the trend estimates in this publication were to be calculated without fully accounting for this irregular event, they would likely provide a misleading view of underlying exploration expenditure and metres drilled.

It may be some time before the underlying trend in exploration expenditure and metres drilled can be accurately estimated. The exploration expenditure and metres drilled trend series has therefore been suspended from March quarter 2020 onwards. The trend series will be reinstated when more certainty emerges in the underlying trend.

Data downloads

Time series spreadsheets

Data files

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 8412.0.

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