Exploration spend sets records for June quarter

4th September 2023

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown that mineral exploration expenditure in Australia rose to record highs in the June quarter.

In original terms, quarter on quarter, Australian mineral exploration rose by 19.4%, or A$174-million, to A$1069.9-million in the June 2023 quarter. Greenfields exploration rose by 15.3%, or A$42.2-million, to A$318.3-million, while brownfield exploration rose 21.3%, or A$131.8-million, to A$751.6-million. 

“Australian mineral exploration had a record June quarter in 2023, A$8-million higher than the previous record of June 2012. As well as the second highest value to date for overall expenditure at A$1069.9-million, only being surpassed by September 2022, at A$1099.3-million,” Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (Amec) CEO Warren Pearce said.  

“Nationally, copper was the big performer for the June quarter, recording a record high A$176-million in expenditure. 

“This is off the back of record copper expenditure in both New South Wales and South Australia, with A$24-million, up 15% quarter on quarter, and A$43.9-million, up 33% respectively. 

“New South Wales mineral exploration rose 25% to A$97.9-million, recording the state’s highest levels of mineral exploration expenditure to date. 

“While Western Australian mineral exploration rose quarter on quarter to $648.5-milion, it did not quite reach the high of June 2022, at A$674.8-million. However, investment in ‘other minerals’ exploration recorded its highest expenditure at A$127.1-million, an increase of 21%. 

“South Australia saw exploration rising 15% in the June quarter to A$72.1-million led by the hunt for copper. Victorian mineral exploration fell slightly by 9% to A$43-million, while still recording strong expenditure for mineral sands. 

“Queensland exploration rose by 29% quarter on quarter to A$147.8-million, with exploration for copper up 35% to A$44.8-million, and gold rising, up 30% to A$23.9-million. 

“As is the trend for June, quarter on quarter, mineral exploration rose by 27% to A$48.6-million in the Northern Territory, with the wet season coming to an end making it possible to get rigs on the ground,” said Pearce.

“The meters drilled in the June quarter increased 16.8%, or 407.8 km, to 2 840.5 km. Greenfield drilling increased by 30.1% and brownfield drilling by 12.3%.” 

While mineral exploration expenditure rose, the ABS noted that petroleum exploration expenditure fell by 3.7% in seasonally adjusted terms, by A$8.9-million, to around A$234.3-million.

In seasonally adjusted terms, onshore expenditure fell by 1.9%, or A$2.9-million, to A$152-million, while offshore exploration spend fell by 6.9%, or A$6.1-million, to A$82.2-million.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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