The amount of mineral exploration in Queensland grew during the September quarter, according to figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
While mineral exploration expenditure fell in New South Wales by 21 per cent, by 8.6 per cent in Victoria and 17 per cent in Tasmania, it rose in Queensland by 21 per cent, in South Australia by 7.6 per cent and in Western Australia by 3 per cent.
The ABS figures show that compared to the previous quarter, metres drilled for mineral exploration throughout Australia rose 6 per cent, with greenfields exploration rising 7.2 per cent and brownfields 5.8 per cent.
Total Australian mineral exploration expenditure rose 2.5 per cent, or $14.3 million, to $582.1 million in the September quarter.
Nationally, greenfield’s mineral exploration expenditure was up 13 per cent, or $25.7 million, but expenditure on brownfields exploration expenditure fell by 2 per cent, or $7.5 million.
“Mineral exploration is the lifeblood of the mining industry (and) greater exploration will lead to longer mine lives and future mines,” chief executive officer of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies, Warren Pearce, said.
“The rise in exploration in Queensland and Western Australia lifted national mineral exploration but masked falls in New South Wales and Victoria.
“Most mineral exploration expenditure was spent pursuing gold, which was up 8.5 per cent, or $18.8 million, compared to the June quarter, and unsurprisingly over 60 per cent of Australia’s mineral exploration occurred in Western Australia.
“The September quarter also saw a record $174 million spent on gold exploration in Western Australia (and) 48 per cent of the state’s mineral exploration was spent on gold.
“The significant disproportion between greenfields and brownfields exploration remains, with 62 per cent of drilling in already explored brownfield locations.”
Mr Pearce said that imbalance had to be addressed if Australia was to find the future mines needed to sustain its industry.