Western Australia has retained its title as Australia’s top state for resources exploration and investment, attracting 65 per cent of the nations total mineral exploration expenditure.
WA’s mineral and petroleum industry recorded sales of $94.8 billion in 2016, according to recent data from the WA Department of Mines and Petroleum (DMP).
This is a four per cent increase from 2015, mainly due to increases from major commodities such as iron ore, gold and petroleum products.
The state’s mineral commodities lead the resources industry, accounting for 79 per cent, or $74.9 billion, of the total sales value.
Iron ore remains the state’s most valuable commodity, with a price increase in the fourth quarter of 2016 causing an eight per cent rise in sales for the year to $54 million.
In the petroleum sector, liquefied natural gas (LNG) was the highest performing commodity, accounting for 67 per cent of the $19.8 billion petroleum sales.
“Despite a decrease in national expenditure, WA continues to attract the majority share of mineral and petroleum investment, and exploration activity,” WA mines and petroleum minister Bill Johnston said.
“While the number of people directly employed in the mining sector has trended downwards since its peak in 2013, the average number of people employed across the industry is still double what it was 10 years ago.”
Johnston also said the value of the gold sector grew by 10 per cent in 2016 to reach 10.6 billion, attracting 48 per cent of the state’s total mineral exploration expenditure.
DMP general manager, policy and coordination, Richard Borzodin, said the statistics highlighted WA’s resources industry as the nation’s leader in global commodity prices.
“The mining industry has experienced substantial growth over the years and in particular the iron ore and gold sectors have generated substantial employment opportunities within WA,” he said.
“The gold sector has gone against the employment trend for the second year in a row, with a 20 per cent increase in direct employees.”
As of March this year, Western Australia had an estimated $101 billion worth of resource projects or in development including Woodside’s Persephone 1 gas project, Tianqi Lithium’s lithium processing plant and Dacian’s Mt Morgans gold project.
Borzodin added that an additional $52 billion of planned or possible projects are on the way; a 12 per cent rise since September 2016.