PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The resources sector in Western Australia reported record sales of A$172-billion in the 2019/20 financial year, new statistics from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has shown.
Iron-ore sales reached a record A$103-billion on increased output and an eight-year price high, while gold sales also soared to an all-time high of almost A$16-billion, with prices averaging more than A$2 300/oz.
Mineral exploration expenditure hit A$1.7-billion, an increase of 17% from A$1.4-billion in 2018/19, while oil sales increased to A$2.6-billion on higher volumes, despite lower prices across the first half of 2020, while nickel sales recovered to more than A$3.1-billion, a four-year high.
"These record results underpin the importance and resilience of the resources sector as Western Australia recovers from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston.
"It is particularly pleasing to see strong growth in exploration expenditure, which has been achieved despite the difficulties caused by the global pandemic.
"Maintaining our support of the state's mining and petroleum industries is a key part of the government's recovery plan to keep Western Australia in a strong economic position."
A record average of 135 000 people were employed in the resources sector during 2019/20, up from 128 374 the previous year, with iron-ore and nickel construction activities accounted for most of the growth, while exploration employment also increased 12%.
Almost A$19-billion was invested in Western Australia's resources sector, up from A$17-billion in 2018/19.
Johnston said that 2019/20 also represented the first year-on-year increase in mining and petroleum investment since the 2012-13 iron-ore and liquefied natural gas boom, noting that there were currently more than A$100-billion worth of projects in the pipeline.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of Western Australia said the results demonstrated the sector’s critical role in the recovery of the state’s economics from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our members have worked incredibly hard during Covid-19 to establish practices that have not only ensured the health and safety of their workforces and regional communities but also enabled operations within the sector to continue to grow despite the pandemic,” said CME CEO Paul Everingham.
“Total royalty revenue received by the Western Australian government for 2019/20 reached a record high of A$9.29-billion, a 42% increase on the previous financial year.
“This contribution is a lifeblood of the Western Australian economy and allows the state government to continue to maintain its services and invest in schools, hospitals, major transport projects and other key initiatives vital to communities across the state.
“Overall investment in the sector was up to A$19-billion from A$17-billion in 2018/19, the first year-on-year increase since 2012/13.”