Australia’s resource industry continues to be recognised for its resilience despite the COVID-19 pandemic, with mining investment in the June 2020 quarter rising 1.3 per cent over the previous quarter and almost 8 per cent on the same period in 2019.

“The mining industry bucked the national trend to see a 0.2 per cent increase in output during the June quarter, which is also a 1.1 per cent rise on the same period last,” Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said.

He added that while it was devastating to see the nationwide job losses caused by the impact of the pandemic, the resources industry continued to employ over 200,000 people and supported the jobs of well over a million others, which made it well-placed to help lead Australia’s economic recovery.

“It will be all about job creation as we emerge from the pandemic and mining will be in a good position to do just that, particularly for regional Australia” Pitt said.

“The extra measures the resources industry have taken to keep workers and communities safe and healthy is paying dividends for Australia now, and will pay even greater dividends when we reach the other side of the COVID-19 pandemic.”


Mineral exploration expenditure on the rise

Further evidence of the strength of the resources industry came from the 11.9 per cent increase in mineral exploration expenditure to $683.3m in the June quarter, according to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The bulk of the increase was on existing deposits, which saw a 17.5 per cent increase while spending on new deposits rose by 2.4 per cent, or $5.3m.

This was also reflected in the number of metres drilled, which rose by 10.8 per cent.

Drilling in areas of new deposits rose 5.6 per cent and drilling in areas of existing deposits rose 13.7 per cent.


But petroleum spending is down

In contrast, exploration expenditure in the petroleum industry dived 25.7 per cent to $219.4m in the June quarter.

Most of this fall was due to a 47 per cent fall in expenditure on all areas outside of production leases.

Spending in the offshore sector plummeted 53 per cent to $66.6m while onshore petroleum exploration expenditure slipped 0.6 per cent to $152.7m.