Mineral exploration spending in Australia has hit a six year low, dropping lower than the Global Financial Crisis levels of 2009.
The seasonally adjusted figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics show expenditure fell 13.9 per cent, from $373.8 million to $322 million in the June quarter.
South Australia was the worst performer with a 57 per cent drop in spending (-$14.6 million) while Western Australia fell the average rate of 13.9 per cent (-$30.2 million).
However, greenfields exploration is not painting such a bleak picture with an increase of 25.3 per cent, or $23 million.
In original terms, total mineral exploration expenditure rose 8.5 per cent or $27 million to $344 million for the June quarter.
Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Simon Bennison said despite the increase in greenfields exploration spending, this was showed the usual seasonal change from the slower exploration in summer.
“The increase from the March quarter in original terms for mineral exploration on existing and new deposits is reflective of the lower levels of drilling that take place in January to March,” he said.
“There is still a long way to go to return to the levels of mineral exploration seen during 2011 and 2012.
“However, compared with the June 2014 quarter, metres drilled on new deposits is up 42% in original terms whilst expenditure is down 21%.
“This indicates the cost of exploration is coming down as would be expected in the current market conditions.”
“This is good news for explorers and will hopefully mean we will continue to see an increase in metres drilled.
Bennison said the Exploration Development Incentive (EDI) had become available, which would assist with encouraging greenfields mineral exploration.
“Territory and State exploration incentive schemes have also been crucial in encouraging exploration,” Bennison said.
“They are highly regarded by the industry and have demonstrated significant economic returns to the jurisdictions.
“AMEC continues to work with all levels of Government to ensure Australia is internationally competitive to attract investment in mineral exploration in order to discover the mines of tomorrow.”