PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Western Australian resources sector has continued to set records in terms of revenues and sales, Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said on Thursday.
Johnston revealed that resources sales in 2020 set a new record of A$174-billion in Western Australia, with iron-ore sales leading the way at A$116-billion on the back of the highest iron-ore prices since 2011.
Gold sales for 2020 reached more than A$17-billion, an all-time record, as average gold prices reached around A$2 500/oz, while nickel sales also increased to A$3.3-billion, marking the highest sales value in six years.
Johnston noted that employment in the resources sector was a star performer, with an average of 140 940 people representing yet another record.
“Western Australia and its resources sector have successfully navigated the pandemic to deliver these impressive figures. Creating and supporting jobs is one of the government's top priorities, so it's great to see mining employment grow for the fourth year in a row,” the Minister said.
"It was especially pleasing to see exploration expenditure and employment continue to strengthen given the important role the sector plays in finding the next big resource discovery.
"With around A$140-billion of resource projects in the pipeline, Western Australia's future continues to look promising."
More than A$20-billion was invested in the Western Australian mining and petroleum sector, up from A$17-billion in 2019. This represents the highest level since 2017.
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) for Western Australia has welcomed the record employment and sales figures, with CEO Paul Everingham noting the figures underscored the sector’s vital contribution to the Western Australian and national economies.
“CME and its member companies are proud our sector has not only been able to continue operating safely and effectively throughout Covid-19 but provide such strong employment outcomes,” Everingham said.
“We have a strong focus on providing positive impacts in the communities in which we operate and across Western Australia as a whole, and record jobs figures are a good indication that we are achieving this.
“Ultimately, record sales are positive news for everyone in Western Australia. In the 2019/20 financial year, royalties paid by our sector totalled A$9.2-billion, which made up nearly 29% of all Western Australian government revenue.
“That revenue helps the Western Australian government fund education, healthcare and other key government services,” Everingham said.
“On a national level, the corporate taxes paid by mining and resources companies on record sales have helped fund vital Covid-19 support mechanisms such as JobKeeper and JobSeeker.
“As of March 2021, there are A$140-billion worth of resources sector projects in the development pipeline. To maintain momentum in growth, it is vital the Western Australian government continues its work to make it easier to do business in Western Australia.”