Exploration spending skyrocketing

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Exploration for coal and iron ore has hit record highs, according to new figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

Seasonally adjusted mineral exploration spending rose 6.9 per cent to $921.7 million in the September quarter.

Boom states Queensland and Western Australia drove the figures, with the regions up 12.5 per cent ($27.7 million) and 3.8 per cent ($16.4 million) respectively.

The largest rise was in coal exploration spending, which jumped 12.2 per cent or 24.7 million, with the largest rise occurring in New South Wales.

Iron ore came second, up 9.3 per cent or $20 million.

The figures will come as good news for the Gillard Government, showing growth in coal and iron ore despite the minerals being the targets of the mining tax.

But with the MRRT yet to be introduced it remains to be seen if the strong results will continue into next year.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said previously in parliamentary debate that the mining tax was “almost guaranteed to kill the mining boom stone dead”.

In seasonally adjusted terms total metres drilled rose two per cent in the September quarter.

Drilling in areas with new deposits rose six per cent while rising 11.8 per cent in areas of existing deposits.

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