Exploration booming across the board, ABS finds

Gold, iron ore, copper and minerals have all seen increased exploration expenditure in 2021, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) which affirmed a positive outlook for the Australian mining industry.

According to research conducted by BIS Oxford Economics principal economist Nicholas Fearnley, there’s much to be excited for Australia’s mining sector.

Fearnley found gold exploration grew by 41 per cent year on year to $430 million over 2021’s June quarter.

This comes as Australia surpassed China for gold output, owing to increased productivity on new and existing operations.

Iron ore exploration increased by 53 per cent year on year to $151 million over the June quarter of 2021, supported by booming global demand as countries implement their COVID-19 economic recovery strategies.

Copper exploration increased 44 per cent year on year to $120 million over the same period, with prices setting records across the Australian mining industry.

Speaking on the copper boom in May, QMines executive chairman Andrew Sparke said 11 straight months of decreased copper supply in Chile and COVID-19-related labour issues in South America had raised demand.

While gold, iron ore and copper have enjoyed exploration successes, Australian coal production continues to decline, falling by 37 per cent year on year to $55 million over the June quarter.

Much of the turbulence in the coal demand has been caused by China, who account for over half of global demand. In response, Australian exporters have shifted their coal shipments to other markets such as India and Japan.

Mineral exploration increased 33 per cent year on year over the June quarter to $912 million, up from $658.7 million last year.

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