Industry outlook positive

Continuing strong demand for minerals and energy commodities and projects worth $67.3 billion provides a positive outlook for the Australian mining industry, but the global economic downturn may still have an effect, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics (ABARE) acting executive director Karen Schneider said.

Continuing strong demand for minerals and energy commodities and advanced projects worth $67.3 billion provide a positive outlook for the Australian mining industry, but the global economic downturn may still have an effect, Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics (ABARE) acting executive director Karen Schneider said.

Despite a 4% drop in total capital expenditure on advanced projects from April this year, total spending remains relatively high at 16% above levels from October 2007.

In 2007-08 expenditure on exploration in Australia’s minerals and energy sector was $5.5 billion, the highest on record and more than twice the annual average expenditure of the past 25 years.

According to Schneider however, these numbers are still subject to a fall.

“Given the significant changes in the global economic outlook, there is still the chance that some projects may be deferred, modified or even cancelled,” she said.

“It’s still too early to tell at this stage.”

The $67.3 billion in minerals and energy projects represents 85 advanced developments.

Thirty one new projects have been added to the list since April 2008, while 22 have been completed.

Western Australia accounts for almost two-thirds of the capital expenditure on advanced projects, including six oil and gas projects valued at $22.3 billion and 11 iron ore projects valued at $12.3 billion.

Queensland accounts for a further 18% ($12 billion) of capital expenditure, more than half of which is in coal mining and related infrastructure projects.

Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resources Economics (ABARE)

02 6272 2000

tgleeson@abare.gov.au

www.abareconomics.com

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