Australia needs more greenfields mineral exploration “to find the mines of tomorrow,” the acting chief executive of the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies said on Monday, in the wake of new national figures showing a slight lift in spending on mining exploration.
Graham Short welcomed the jump in mineral exploration spending (excluding petroleum), which rose 9.9 per cent in the June quarter to an estimated $437.7 million on a seasonally adjusted basis. The new Australian Bureau of Statistics figures also showed a smaller increase, of 4.7 per cent, in petroleum exploration expenditure to $355.6 million.
The ABS figures showed that while mineral exploration spending (excluding petroleum) was up $90 million on June last year, it was far below the levels seen in the June quarter of 2011 and 2013, when activity was estimated at about $600 million on a seasonally adjusted basis.
And it was dwarfed by spending levels reached in the June quarter of 2012, when exploration spending was estimated at close to $1 billion. Mr Short said that despite the growth in exploration activity the proportion of greenfields mineral exploration measured by metres drilled remained fixed at 30 per cent.
“Nearly 70 per cent of mineral exploration activity in Australia is extending existing deposits or drilling nearby an existing deposit,” he said.