Mineral Exploration Spending Hits Record High

Mineral exploration spend reaches record high

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has reported that the country’s mineral exploration expenditure reached a record high in the March quarter.

Total mineral exploration expenditure amounted to $910.4 million for the quarter, despite a decline in both greenfield and brownfield exploration.

Spending on greenfield exploration, which aims to discover new deposits, fell by 23 percent to $278.6 million, while brownfield exploration, focusing on expanding existing sites, decreased by 16 percent to $789.4 million.

These figures are typical for the March quarter, as the wet season limits exploration activity across much of Northern Australia.

South Australia recorded its highest-ever value of greenfield expenditure at $47.2 million, surpassing the previous quarter’s high of $44.4 million. Much of this increase is due to efforts to define the copper resource at BHP’s Oak Dam, one of the world’s most significant deposits of copper, gold, and uranium.

Warren Pearce, chief executive officer of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, commented on the findings.

“Following December’s record quarter, a new March record shows a two percent ($14.5 million) year-on-year growth,” he said. “However, (it) more accurately portrays the impact of rising costs within the exploration sector. Continually strong investment to discover critical and base metals highlights the importance of Government co-funded investment programs and the diversity of investor demands.”