The Western Australian mining and petroleum industry has gone against the slow world economic recovery to record another good year of growth.
Mines Minister George Cash, releasing the annual report of the Department of Minerals and Energy today, said WA continued to attract the lion's share of exploration expenditure in Australia.
"During the past year, more than half of the $793 million spent in Australia on mineral exploration was in this State," Mr Cash said.
"Of an estimated $506 million on petroleum exploration, 43 per cent was in WA.
"This sort of investment firmly underpins growth in the State's economy, providing more than 70 per cent of exports and contributing more than $390 million to the State Government from royalties and lease rents."
Mr Cash said more than 300 projects in the State produced 35 per cent of world production of all mineral sands, 40 per cent of diamonds, 21 per cent of alumina, 12 per cent of iron ore, eight per cent of gold and six per cent of the world's nickel.
Petroleum production came from 31 oil and gas fields including Australia's largest natural resource project, the North West Shelf. Western Australia produced about eight per cent of the world's liquified natural gas.
Mr Cash said the mining industry had also demonstrated a commitment to improving safety and environmental practices in the past year.
"The mining and petroleum sectors aimed to improve safety records as they worked towards reducing the number of accidents and injuries," he said.
"The substantial reduction of lost time due to injury reflected the emphasis placed on safety by the industry and the department."
During the year a number of amendments were made to the Mining Act to ensure that environmentally acceptable mining practices were followed.
Environmental inspectors now work with companies to monitor the use of such practices and onshore petroleum explorers must submit environmental management plans before seismic surveys and drilling start. Rehabilitation reports are also required on completion of operations.
Mr Cash said WA's efforts to encourage high standards of environmental protection and rehabilitation had received international recognition, with the department's Environmental Awards process receiving recognition by the United Nations.
Copies of the 1993-94 annual report are available from the Department of Minerals and Energy, Mineral House, 100 Plain Street, East Perth, or by telephoning (09) 222 3589.
Media contacts: Carole O'Dwyer (DOME) 222 3660
Tony Robertson 222 9595