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8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Sep 2003  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 17/12/2003   
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ABBREVIATIONS

ABSAustralian Bureau of Statistics
GSTGoods and Services Tax
JPDAJoint Petroleum Development Area
LPGliquefied petroleum gas
UNTAETUnited Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
WSTwholesale sales tax
ZOCZone of Cooperation


FURTHER INFORMATION

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070 or Didier Rivet on Sydney 02 9268 4357.


SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE (OTHER THAN PETROLEUM)

Trend Estimates
    The trend estimate for total mineral exploration expenditure decreased by 0.6% to $182.8m in the September quarter 2003, the first decrease after five consecutive quarters of growth. However the trend estimate is still 8.1% higher than in the September quarter 2002.


    MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, Trend and Seasonally Adjusted estimates
    September 1995 to September 2003

    Graph - Mineral exploration expenditure, Trend and seasonally adjusted estimates, September 1995 to September 2003



    South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania recorded slight increases this quarter with Victoria recording its eighth consecutive increase in the series. The remaining states all recorded slight decreases with Queensland recording its first decrease after nine consecutive quarterly increases.

    The trend estimate for metres drilled increased for the fourth consecutive quarter, by 2.0%. The current estimate is 22.3% higher than the corresponding estimate for the previous year.

    Overview

    In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure decreased by $24.0m (11.8%) in the September quarter 2003 (down 5.5% in seasonally adjusted terms). Expenditure on production leases decreased by $2.3m (4.6%), whereas expenditure on all other areas decreased by $21.7m (14.2%).

    All states contributed to the overall decrease in the September quarter 2003 except for Tasmania (up $0.2m or 20%). The largest decrease was recorded by Queensland (down $9.7m or 27.2%), with a reduction on exploration for Coal the main reason for this decrease. In seasonally adjusted terms both South Australia and Tasmania recorded slight increases with all other states decreasing expenditure. New South Wales and Queensland recorded the largest decreases, $4.4m (28.8%) and $3.5m (11.4%), respectively.

    In terms of minerals sought, all commodities recorded a decrease in original terms in the September quarter 2003, except for Iron Ore (up $2.9m or 28.4%) and Uranium (up $1.8m or 105.9%). The largest decreases were in Coal (down $6.8m or 25.5%), Nickel and cobalt (down $6.6m or 31.4%), Selected base metals (down $14.8m or 35.3%) and Silver, lead and zinc (down $5.1m or 46.8%).


    MINERAL EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE, by mineral sought
    December 2001 to September 2003

    Graph - Mineral exploration expenditure, by mineral sought, December 2001 to September 2003



    Metres Drilled

    In original terms, total metres drilled decreased by 7.5% in the September quarter 2003 (down 2.3% in seasonally adjusted terms).

    Metres drilled on production leases decreased by 9.7% and metres drilled on all other areas decreased by 6.6%.

    MINERAL EXPLORATION, metres drilled
    December 2001 to September 2003

    Graph - MINERAL EXPLORATION, metres drilled



    PETROLEUM EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE

    Overview

    In the September quarter 2003, expenditure on petroleum exploration fell by $9.4m or (3.9%) to $230.7m, which is still 5.8% higher than the September quarter in the previous year. There was a significant increase in exploration on production leases (up $22.6m or 94.6%) which was offset by a decrease in exploration on all other areas (down $32.0m or 14.8%).

    Onshore exploration expenditure decreased slightly by $1.4m (3.4%). Offshore exploration expenditure was down $8.1m (4.1%)


    PETROLEUM EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE
    December 2001 to September 2003

    Graph - PETROLEUM EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE



    Regional Data

    In the September quarter 2003, Western Australia (up $26.6m or 17.6%) and Northern Territory (up $3.7m or 68.5%) recorded increases in petroleum exploration expenditure. This was offset by South Australia which recorded a substantial decrease for the quarter (down $30.9 or 73.7%), resulting in an overall decrease from the June quarter 2003.



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