Norman Moore

Norman Moore


Minerals and energy sales top $21 billion for State [Audio]

12/09/2000 5:00 AM

Western Australia’s minerals and energy sector hit a new high in 1999-2000, with advance release statistics from the Department of Minerals and Energy revealing sales values up 27.7 per cent to nearly $21.3 billion.

Mines Minister Norman Moore said the performance was all the more outstanding given the industry, in sales value terms, contracted by 6.5 per cent the previous year.

“While most of the State’s minerals and energy industries recorded growth in sales, this phenomenal performance can be attributed to a general and sustained improvement in commodity prices, in addition to better than expected results for the petroleum sector,” he said.

In 1999-00, on the back of strong oil prices and higher sales volumes, the value of petroleum sales increased by about 88 per cent or $3.6 billion to a new high of $7.6 billion.

The alumina and diamond sectors also both broke records recording sales of $2.7 billion and $704 million respectively (increases of 12 and 15 per cent).

A higher output and improved prices led to a 103 per cent increase in the value of nickel sales to $1.8 billion.

Value of sales of heavy mineral sands increased by 8 per cent to $732 million while the value of base metal sales (copper, lead and zinc) increased by 43 per cent to $332 million for the period.

“Record sales for the mining and petroleum sectors have boosted exports and will improve the growth prospects in the overall State economy,” Mr Moore said.

“It confirms the minerals and petroleum sector as the cornerstone of our State’s economy, responsible now for just over 30 per cent of Gross State Product.

“However, last year was not all good news for the mining industry.”

Mr Moore said that lower output and depressed prices saw the value of gold industry sales fall 9 per cent to $2.9 billion.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures for March quarter 2000 also showed WA expenditure on mineral exploration totalled only $85 million, down 16 per cent for the March 1999 quarter, and the lowest nominal quarterly expenditure in seven years.

Although mineral exploration was currently at a low ebb, the Minister said the Government would continue to encourage the search for minerals and petroleum in Western Australia.

Mr Moore emphasised the Government had allocated $47 million for this purpose since 1993 and had recently opened a new $9 million drill core library in Kalgoorlie, with another on the drawing board for Perth.

It was hoped that Western Australia would continue to attract about 10 per cent of the world’s mineral exploration.

“The latest 1999 data shows our State supplied about 18 per cent of the world’s alumina production, 43 per cent of diamonds (mainly industrial grade), 8 per cent of gold, 25 per cent of ilmenite, 14 per cent of iron ore, 12 per cent of nickel and 9 per cent of liquefied natural gas (LNG),” he said.

Mr Moore said these advance release statistics could be found at the statistics section of the Department's website at along with other statistics on iron ore, coal and salt. The statistics will also be available in the Statistics Digest due to be released in a hard copy format in November.

The Statistics Digest provides a comprehensive review of the State’s resource commodities, exploration and expenditure figures, an overview of what social and political factors may affect the industry and the value of exports.

Media contacts:
Hartley Joynt, Minister’s office, 9321 1444
James Bowie, Department of Minerals and Energy, 9222 3527

It's very good news to have these sort of figures but we want to make sure these figures stay on well into the future... that can only happen if we get an increase in exploration expenditure. [315kb/7.018secs]