The number of committed mining and energy projects in Australia has increased by 21 per cent over the past year.
A rise in copper, gold, nickel and other minor commodity prospects has lifted the amount of overall committed projects to 47, according to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science’s latest Resources and Energy Major Projects report.
Publicly announced projects (58), as well as projects moving to the feasibility stage (139), also increased over the past 12 months, in line with higher exploration expenditure and higher resource and energy commodity prices, the report added.
“While the past few years have been characterised by cutting costs to ensure the commercial viability of existing assets, 2017 has seen some renewed optimism for market conditions and increased producer interest in brownfield expansions and new projects,” the report explained.
Australia’s gold sector added several newly committed projects in 2017, including Dacian Gold’s Mt Morgans project in Western Australia, Gascoyne Resources’ Dalgaranga project in WA and Diversified Minerals’ Dargues Reef project in New South Wales.
Two copper projects were also approved — OZ Minerals’ Carrapateena project in South Australia and Capricorn Copper’s Mount Gordon project in Queensland.
Coal, meanwhile, has the highest number of committed projects amongst Australia’s key mining commodities with nine — all of which are in Queensland and NSW.