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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2006  
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Contents >> Chapter 16 - Mining >> Mineral, oil and gas resources

MINERAL, OIL AND GAS RESOURCES

The statistics of available mineral resources provided in table 16.8 are obtained from the annual publication Australia's Identified Mineral Resources produced by Geoscience Australia. They provide an indication of the extent of mineral resources available for extraction with the main focus being on economic demonstrated resources (EDR).

EDR is a measure of the resources that are established, analytically demonstrated or assumed with reasonable certainty to be profitable for extraction or production under defined investment assumptions. Classifying a mineral resource as EDR reflects a high degree of certainty as to the size and quality of the resource and its economic viability.

Australia has the world's largest EDR of brown coal (recoverable), lead, rutile, zircon, nickel, tantalum, uranium and zinc, and ranks second in the world for bauxite, copper, gold, ilmenite and silver. In addition, Australia's EDR for industrial diamonds and manganese ore are rated the fourth largest in the world. Table 16.8 shows the importance, in a global sense, of the main mineral resources in Australia.

16.8 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES OF MAJOR MINERALS - December 2004

Mineral
Quantity
Australia
World
Australia's percentage
of world EDR
Australia's
ranking in

world holdings
of EDR

Bauxite
Gt
5.7
23
25
2nd
Black coal
In situ
Gt
57.4
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Recoverable
Gt
40.4
(a)743
5
6th
Brown coal
In situ
Gt
41.7
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Recoverable
Gt
37.5
(a)156
24
1st
Copper(b)
Mt Cu
42.1
490
9
2nd
Diamond
Gem and near gem(c)
Mc
53.4
n.a.
n.a.
n.a.
Industrial
Mc
55.6
580
10
4th
Gold(b)
t Au
5,589
42,000
13
2nd
Iron ore
Gt
14.6
160
9
5th
Lead(b)
Mt Pb
22.9
70
33
1st
Lithium(b)
kt Li
170
4,110
4
(d)
Manganese ore
Mt
133
1,175
11
4th
Mineral sands
Ilmenite
Mt
217.2
1,088
20
2nd
Rutile
Mt
20.2
52
39
1st
Zircon
Mt
30
74
41
1st
Nickel(b)
Mt Ni
22.6
61.8
37
1st
Silver(b)
kt Ag
41.4
280
15
2nd
Tantalum(b)
kt Ta
53
56
95
1st
Uranium(b)(e)
kt U
701
(f)1,743
40
1st
Zinc(b)
Mt Zn
41.0
222
18
1st

(a) Geoscience Australia estimate.
(b) Quantity measured in contained metal.
(c) Detailed data are not available on world resources of gem/near gem diamond but Australia has one of the largest stocks for this category.
(d) According to United States Geological Survey estimates, Chile holds about 73% of the world's lithium resources, followed by China 13%, Brazil 4.5% and Australia with just over 4%. However, resource data are not available for some important producing countries including Argentina and Russia. Lithium brine resources, now the dominant feedstock for lithium carbonate production, are produced dominantly by Chile. Canada and Australia have the most significant hard-rock resources of lithium.
(e) Refer to Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2005 for comparison of resource categories in the national scheme with those of the international scheme for classifying uranium resources.
(f) Source: OECD/NEA & IAEA (2004). Compiled from the most recent data for resources recoverable at <US$40/kg U. Data for USA is not available for this category.


Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Australia's Identified Mineral Resources 2005'.


During the 12-month period ended December 2004 significant increases in Australia's EDR were recorded for tantalum (29%), lead (19%), zinc (18%) and iron ore (18%) (table 16.9). The increase in Australia's tantalum EDR is due to a reclassification of the Brockman rare earth resource in Western Australia. The main factor contributing to the increase in Australia's lead EDR was additional resource definition and reclassification at Mt Isa in Queensland. Reclassification of resources and improved grades at Mt Isa and George Fisher, both in Queensland, were the main reasons for the increase in EDR for zinc. A reclassification of several magnetite deposits from subeconomic to economic due to increasing prices was the main factor behind the increase in iron ore EDR.


The significant decrease (26%) for Australian diamond EDR was due to Argyle mine production and the introduction of a new resource model and revised mine plan, which resulted in some ore reserve being classified as mineral resource.

16.9 ECONOMIC DEMONSTRATED RESOURCES OF SELECTED MINERALS

Australia
World


Mineral
Quantity
2003
2004
% change
2003
2004
% change

Bauxite
Gt
5.5
5.7
3.6
23.0
23.0
-
Coal(a)
Gt
75.8
77.9
2.8
962.0
899.0
-6.5
Copper(b)
Mt Cu
40.1
42.1
5.0
490.0
490.0
-
Diamond(c)
Mc
75.1
55.6
-26.0
580.0
580.0
-
Gold(b)
t Au
5,382.0
5,589.0
3.8
43,000.0
42,000.0
-2.3
Iron ore
Gt
12.4
14.6
17.7
143.0
160.0
11.9
Lead(b)
Mt Pb
19.3
22.9
18.7
71.0
70.0
-1.4
Lithium(b)
kt Li
167.0
170.0
1.8
4,107.0
4,110.0
0.1
Manganese ore
Mt
124.0
133.0
7.3
967.0
1,175.0
21.5
Mineral sands(d)
Mt
262.3
267.4
1.9
753.0
1,214.0
61.2
Nickel(b)
Mt Ni
22.8
22.6
-0.9
62.8
61.8
-1.6
Silver(b)
kt Ag
42.9
41.4
-3.5
284.0
280.0
-1.4
Tantalum(b)
kt Ta
41.0
53.0
29.3
43.6
56.0
28.4
Uranium(b)
kt U
675.0
701.0
3.9
1,716.0
1,743.0
1.6
Zinc(b)
Mt Zn
34.8
41.0
17.8
222.0
222.0
-

(a) Includes recoverable black and brown coal.
(b) Quantity measured in contained metal.
(c) Industrial diamond only. Data are not available on world resources of gem/near gem diamond but Australia has stocks amongst the largest for this category.
(d) Includes ilmenite, rutile and zircon.

Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Australia's Identified Mineral Resources', 2004 and 2005 issues.


Australia's oil and gas resources encompass crude oil, condensate, naturally occurring liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and natural gas. EDR for oil and gas are resources which are judged to be economically extractable and for which the quantity and quality are computed partly from specific measurements, and partly from extrapolation for a reasonable distance on geological evidence. Subeconomic demonstrated resources (SDR) are similar to EDR in terms of certainty of occurrence but are considered to be potentially economic only in the foreseeable future.


The information presented in table 16.10 is obtained from the annual publication Oil and Gas Resources of Australia, produced by Geoscience Australia. The table shows over 2000 to 2004, EDR for crude oil reserves fell by 15% while reserves for sales gas increased (EDR by 17%, SDR by 24%) due mainly to discoveries of major gas resources off north western Australia. Discoveries of crude oil reserves had not been sufficient to offset the reduction in crude oil reserves through production. The increase in crude oil reserves from 1 January 2003 to 1 January 2004 was predominantly due to heavy oil discoveries in the Carnarvon Basin. Production has been the main contributor to the decline in the EDR for condensate reserves.

16.10 OIL AND GAS RESOURCES - 1 January

Crude oil
Condensate
LPG
Sales gas




gigalitres
million
barrels
gigalitres
million
barrels
gigalitres
million
barrels
billion
cubic
metres
trillion
cubic
feet

Economic demonstrated resources
2000
219
1,378
283
1,780
274
1,726
2,105
74
2001
194
1,222
300
1,889
292
1,835
2,203
78
2002
206
1,295
289
1,821
293
1,845
2,667
94
2003
176
1,108
276
1,737
274
1,726
2,528
89
2004
186
1,168
247
1,554
210
1,323
2,462
87
Subeconomic demonstrated resources
2000
55
345
61
384
75
471
1,173
41
2001
87
546
119
749
86
540
1,618
57
2002
68
427
115
724
79
499
1,499
53
2003
68
426
109
683
79
498
1,518
54
2004
65
409
112
707
78
493
1,459
52

Source: Geoscience Australia, 'Oil and Gas Resources of Australia', 2001, 2002 and 2003 issues.


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