WA mining smashes employment, sales records
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Mining continues to be the lifeblood of Western Australia with the sector employing a record 124,010 people in the 2018-19 financial year, up more than 10 per cent from the 112,008 people employed in the previous financial year.
Iron ore operations accounted for almost half of all people employed by the sector, an unsurprising result given that iron ore sales reached a record $78.2 billion due to the Vale dam accident in Brazil that constrained supply and sent iron ore prices soaring.
Incidentally, iron ore sales also make up more than half the total sales of $145 billion reported by both the mineral and petroleum sectors.
The total sales figure is itself up $30 billion compared to the previous financial year due to improved iron ore prices and increased liquefied natural gas (LNG) volumes.
LNG sales rose more than 50 per cent to almost $29 billion due to the start-up of Shell’s Prelude floating LNG project and the ramp-up of production at Inpex’s Ichthys LNG project.
Record Australian gold prices, which averaged $1,958 per ounce in June, were responsible for gold sales reaching an all-time high of almost $12 billion.
Alumina and bauxite sales also benefited from increased exports with sales rising 25 per cent to a record $8.3 billion.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics added that almost $17 billion was invested in the state’s mining industry, about 51 per cent of total expenditure across Australia.
“These record figures across the mining sector reflect the strength of the McGowan government’s commitment to supporting industry investment in Western Australia and creating jobs,” Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum Bill Johnston said.
“Interest and investment in the resources sector remains strong, WA projects in the pipeline had an estimated value of $108 billion in September 2019.”
These include Australian Vanadium’s (ASX:AVL) $500m namesake vanadium project, stage one of Caravel Mineral’s (ASX:CVV) $480m copper mine and Red 5’s (ASX:RED) $218m King of the Hills gold mine.