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8412.0 - Mineral and Petroleum Exploration, Australia, Dec 2004  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 16/03/2005   
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INQUIRIES

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



SUMMARY OF FINDINGS


MINERAL EXPLORATION (OTHER THAN FOR PETROLEUM)


TREND ESTIMATES

The trend estimate for total mineral exploration expenditure increased by 4.5% to $249.2m in the December quarter 2004. The estimate has risen in the last five quarters and is now 33.3% higher than the December quarter 2003 estimate.

Graph: Mineral Exploration (Time Series Estimate): Expenditure and Metres Drilled, ; Total deposits , Australia


Western Australia had the largest increase this quarter (of $8.2m or 5.8%), while Victoria had the largest decrease (of $1.5m or 12.2%).


The trend estimate for metres drilled has been increasing for the past five quarters. The current estimate is now 31.8% higher than the December quarter estimate for last year.



MINERAL EXPLORATION (OTHER THAN FOR PETROLEUM)


EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE

The seasonally adjusted estimate of mineral exploration expenditure decreased by $3.1m (1.3%) this quarter. Victoria had the largest decrease (of $4.2m or 29.8%), while Western Australia had the largest increase (of $1.5m or 1.0%).


In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure increased by $9.7m (3.9%). This increase was dominated by exploration on areas of new deposits, which increased by $9.4m (9.6%). Expenditure on areas of existing deposits increased by $0.3m (0.2%).


In original terms, the largest increase by minerals sought came from expenditure on nickel and cobalt exploration (up $12.4m or 22.9%, with most of the increase coming from Western Australia) and iron ore (up $5.3m or 17.8%). The largest decrease was for exploration on gold, which fell by $13.1m (11.9%).

Mineral Exploration Expenditure, Original series
Graph: Mineral Exploration: Expenditure and Metres Drilled, ; Australia , Total deposits




MINERAL EXPLORATION (OTHER THAN FOR PETROLEUM)


METRES DRILLED

In seasonally adjusted terms, total metres drilled decreased by 4.9% in the December quarter 2004 (down 14.3% in original terms). The seasonally adjusted downturn was due to a decrease in drilling in areas of new deposits (down 32.9%), while drilling in areas of existing deposits increased by 2.1%.

METRES DRILLED, Original Series
Graph: Mineral Exploration: Expenditure and Metres Drilled, ; Australia , Total




PETROLEUM EXPLORATION EXPENDITURE


OVERVIEW

Expenditure on petroleum exploration for the December quarter 2004 increased by $76.1m (36.2%) to $286.6m.


Expenditure on exploration on production leases decreased (by $4.0m), while exploration on all other areas increased significantly by $80.1m or 53.0% this quarter.


Offshore exploration had a strong increase of $74.8m (54.7%), while onshore exploration expenditure increased by $1.4m (1.9%).

Graph: Petroleum Exploration Expenditure



REGIONAL DATA

In the December quarter 2004 most states showed a rise in petroleum exploration expenditure. Victoria had the largest rise of $49.0m. Western Australia recorded the largest decrease of $16.6m (12.8%).

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