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Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia

Expenditure and metres drilled in exploration for minerals and petroleum. Classified by state and commodity, and onshore/offshore for petroleum

Reference period
December Quarter 2019
Released
2/03/2020

Mineral exploration

Total expenditure

  • The trend estimate for total mineral exploration expenditure increased 5.1% ($34.9m) to $717.1m in the December quarter 2019. The largest contributor to the increase in the trend estimate this quarter was Western Australia (up 5.1%, $21.6m). The current quarter estimate is 26.4% higher than the December quarter 2018 estimate.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for mineral exploration expenditure rose 5.6% ($38.3m) to $722.1m in the December quarter 2019. The largest contributor to the rise this quarter was Western Australia (up 3.3%, $14.2m).
     
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  • In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure rose 4.9% ($35.7m) to $760.5m in the December quarter 2019. Exploration on areas of existing deposits rose 8.1% ($34.3m) and expenditure on areas of new deposits rose 0.5% ($1.4m).
  • In original terms, the largest increase by minerals sought came from expenditure on Gold (up 7.5%, ($21.1m).
     
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Metres drilled

  • The trend estimate for metres drilled rose 0.9% in the December quarter 2019. Compared with the December quarter 2018 estimate, the current quarter rose 1.2% (29.7km) to 2608.5km.
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for metres drilled rose 3.9% in the December quarter 2019.
     
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  • In original terms, metres drilled fell 2.0%. Drilling in areas of new deposits fell -18.0% and drilling in areas of existing deposits rose 8.7%.
     
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Petroleum exploration

Total expenditure

  • The trend estimate for total petroleum exploration expenditure rose 11.0% ($40.8m) to $410.1m in the December quarter 2019. Exploration expenditure on production leases rose 37.6% ($30.7m) and exploration expenditure on all other areas rose 2.3% ($6.7m).
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for total petroleum exploration expenditure rose 8.6% ($32.1m) to $405.0m in the December quarter 2019. Exploration expenditure on production leases rose 61.7% ($48.0m) and exploration expenditure on all other areas fell 5.4% (-$15.9m).
  • The largest contributor to the rise in the trend estimate was Queensland (up 21.5%, $10.6m) and the largest contributor to the rise in the seasonally adjusted estimate was Northern Territory (up 63.6%, $30.0m).
     
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Onshore

  • The trend estimate for onshore petroleum exploration expenditure rose 24.4% ($39.6m) to $201.6m in the December quarter 2019. Expenditure on drilling rose 21.4% ($22.7m) and other onshore petroleum exploration expenditure rose 28.1% ($15.7m).
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for onshore petroleum exploration expenditure rose 36.3% ($57.3m) to $215.2m in the December quarter 2019. Expenditure on drilling rose 6.3% ($7.5m) and other onshore petroleum exploration rose 127.0% ($49.8m).
     
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Offshore

  • The trend estimate for offshore petroleum exploration expenditure rose 0.3% ($0.7m) to $208.0m in the December quarter 2019. Expenditure on drilling rose 3.9% ($4.0m) and other offshore petroleum exploration expenditure fell 3.3% (-$3.4m).
  • The seasonally adjusted estimate for offshore petroleum exploration expenditure fell 11.7% (-$25.2m) to $189.8m in the December quarter 2019. Expenditure on drilling fell 23.3% (-$28.1m) and other offshore petroleum exploration expenditure rose 3.1% ($2.9m).
     
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Data downloads

Table 1. Private exploration, actual and expected expenditure

Table 2. Mineral exploration, (other than for petroleum) - expenditure and metres drilled

Table 3b. Mineral exploration, (other than for petroleum) - expenditure by type of deposit

Table 4. Mineral exploration, (other than for petroleum) - expenditure by state and territory

Table 5. Mineral exploration, (other than for petroleum) - expenditure by mineral sought

Table 6a. Petroleum exploration, expenditure by onshore and offshore

Table 6b. Petroleum exploration, expenditure by type of lease

Table 7. Petroleum exploration, expenditure by state and territory