Qld’s latest exploration figures continue to surge forward

The latest exploration data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is out, and it’s great news for Queensland.

The state’s total exploration expenditure for the past financial year has risen by 11 percent to reach $708 million, compared to $638 million in 2019-2020, which is Queensland’s strongest result since 2014-15.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said very strong September and March quarters had more than made up for a slight drop in expenditure in the June quarter.

“These latest figures show our explorers have managed to continue to expand their exploration programs over the past 12 months in spite of Covid-19’s impact on their ability to recruit skilled workers and source equipment from overseas and interstate,” he said.

“This demonstrates the continuing strength and ingenuity of the resources sector, which benefits every Queenslander in terms of job opportunities and our industry’s ongoing economic contribution to the state budget.”

The good news coming out of today’s ABS data continues, with Queensland petroleum exploration expenditure up 27 percent over the past financial year to reach $296 million.

Minerals’ exploration expenditure experienced a more modest rise, increasing by two percent year-on-year to reach $412 million.

Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) Chair Kim Wainwright said the stand-out areas of exploration expenditure for Queensland minerals were gold, which experienced a 43 percent jump, and copper which rose 20 percent compared to 2019-20.

Selected base metals expenditure – which includes copper, silver, lead, zine, nickel and cobalt – was up 10 percent on 2019-20, although coal exploration expenditure fell by 20 percent.

Ms Wainwright said despite the fall in coal expenditure, the recent surge in metallurgical and thermal coal prices and a two percent increase in the June quarter exploration expenditure are signs of better news to come.

“The QEC looks forward to seeing stable growth in exploration expenditure in future quarters and this positivity reflected in our Exploration Scorecard Sentiment Survey, which will be released in December,” she said.

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