Western Australia has achieved record sales and employment in its mineral and petroleum industry in 2020 despite the hard border impacts brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to data from Western Australia’s Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS), the state’s resource sector delivered $174 billion in sales during 2020, compared with the previous record of $173 billion in 2019-20.
The DMIRS stated that the sales were primarily driven by iron ore, which peaked at their highest prices since 2011, delivering $116 billion in sales.
Gold and nickel sales were also major driving forces behind the record sales.
Gold sales reached an all-time high of $17 billion for the same period due to a record average gold price of $2500 per ounce.
Nickel sales also reached their highest value in six years, increasing to $3.3 billion.
Copper sales fell by 15 per cent to $1.4 billion due to lower sales volumes across major Western Australia copper mines and the suspension of the Nifty copper mine, the DMIRS stated.
Western Australia mining sector employment also reached a record 140,940 people for 2020.
Western Australia Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston welcomed the record sales and employment figures.
“Western Australia and its resources sector have successfully navigated the pandemic to deliver these impressive figures,” he said.
“Creating and supporting jobs is one of the McGowan Government’s top priorities, so it’s great to see mining employment grow for the fourth year in a row.
“It was especially pleasing to see exploration expenditure and employment continue to strengthen given the important role the sector plays in finding the next big resource discovery.
“With around $140 billion of resource projects in the pipeline, Western Australia’s future continues to look promising.”
Over $20 billion in investments were injected into Western Australia’s mining and petroleum sector, representing its highest figure since 2017.