Australian exploration activity continues downward trend

The latest mineral exploration data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) show that activity in Australia continues to fall.

According to Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC) chief executive officer Simon Bennison, the ABS data show that greenfields and brownfields mineral exploration metres drilled and expenditure are continuing a long-term downward trend.

“Reversing this trend and increasing Australian mineral exploration is crucial for the future of Australian mining and driving the next cycle,” Bennison said.

“In original terms, total metres drilled fell 13.7 per cent. Greenfields drilling fell 26.6 per cent and brownfields fell 5.6 per cent in the March 2017 quarter.”

“In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure fell 16.2 per cent ($65.5 million) to $337.6 million in the March quarter 2017. Expenditure on greenfields exploration fell 21.4 per cent ($28 million) and expenditure in brownfields area’s fell 13.8 per cent ($37.5 million).”

Bennison said lifting greenfields exploration was vital to discovering the mines of tomorrow.

“There are vast areas of Australia that have never been explored, or are under explored and still highly prospective. The economic opportunities from discovering new mines to replace those that are coming to an end, are enormous. But, discovery will come from drilling holes in the ground,” Bennison explained.

“The government’s decision to axe the Exploration Development Incentive from the budget removed an incentive designed to increase investment in greenfields mineral exploration in the long term. It effectively increased the after-tax cost of exploration by 30 per cent for many Australian junior greenfield explorers.”

Economic growth and jobs are at stake for future generations of Australians for what is a small and sensible investment, Bennison concluded.

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