THE DRILL SERGEANT: It appears explorers are out doing what they’re best known for – that being exploring, according to the latest Mineral and Petroleum Exploration census from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The boffins in the counting house released their Mineral and Petroleum June 2019 Quarterly Statistics that show total mineral exploration expenditure increased 5.2 per cent ($31.3 million) to $629.6 million for the June 2019 quarter.
The ABS mineral exploration expenditure report shows that drilling activity and associated spending rose in every single state and territory of Australia.
However, followers of the industry based on the country’s western girt would not be surprised that Western Australia took the number one podium position as the largest contributor to the increase in the trend estimate (up 6.2 per cent, $22.9 million).
Of particular significance is the current quarter estimate being 16.5 per cent higher than the same time last year for the June quarter 2018 estimate.
Interestingly, metres drilled fell 1.2 per cent compared to the previous quarter, but were still 4.7 per cent higher than the June quarter estimate for 2018.
In short what this means is the exploration companies have money to drill and they are doing just that.
The seasonally adjusted estimate for mineral exploration expenditure was up 6.9 per cent ($41.5 million) to $639.6 million in the June quarter with the largest contributor to the rise being WA (up 4.2 per cent, $15.7 million).
The all-important greenfield mineral exploration expenditure figure maintained its rage with another quarter of growth from all states except for Victoria where it fell by $1.6 million, which is the third consecutive quarter of decline for AFL headquarters.
WA was in a drilling frenzy recording $184.3 million of exploration expenditure, resulting in the second highest on record.
Although its greenfield drilling was down, Victoria did increase its look at brownfields, with mineral exploration expenditure up by $4.3 million.
The upward brownfield trend continued around the country, mainly in traditional mining states of Queensland ($19.9 million, WA ($35 million) and Tasmania ($1.6 million).
The song remained the same in New South Wales, but dropped off in South Australia and Northern Territory.
“Australia needs greater greenfields mineral exploration, and the significant growth in greenfields mineral exploration expenditure right across the country reflects the returning strength of the exploration sector,” Association of Mining and Exploration Companies Chief Executive Officer Warren Pearce said in response to the report.
“It has been a challenging environment for mineral exploration companies, however the statistics are now supporting better growth in the industry.
“Australia needs to continue to invest in mineral exploration to find the mines of the future and unlock the jobs and growth still waiting to be discovered.”