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Latest Statistics Release

An overview of the latest key information on the performance of the State's resources industry.

Mineral And Petroleum Industry 2014–15 Review

The value of Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry in 2014–15 was $99.5 billion. This represents a fall of 19 per cent from 2013-14’s record of $122 billion.

A weakening Australian dollar helped to offset falling commodity prices and averaged 83.6 cents for the period (a nine per cent decrease). Traditionally perceived as a commodity currency, the Australian dollar decreased in line with falling commodity prices and therefore shielded producers to some extent from lower prices. Increased output, the result of considerable investment in resource projects, particularly iron ore, also helped the end result.

As at September 2015, Western Australia has an estimated $171 billion worth of resource projects under construction or in the committed stage of development. A further $110 billion is identified as planned or possible projects. However, these investment statistics need to be interpreted with caution. The outlook for major projects will decline sharply during the next 18 months as several major (and high value) projects are completed. For example, the Roy Hill iron ore and Gorgon LNG projects are expected to be completed later this year, resulting in almost $80 billion worth of major projects dropping out of the major project figures. A further $73 billion in projects in the under construction or committed category are expected to be completed in 2016.

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Mineral sector highlights

Iron ore remained the State’s highest value commodity, accounting for $54 billion (71 per cent) of total mineral sales in 2014–15. Project expansions, together with strong demand led by China supported iron ore in achieving record levels of export quantities.

A total of 719 million tonnes was exported, an increase of 15 per cent on the previous financial year. However the low iron ore price resulted in a decrease of 27 per cent in the value of iron ore sales for the year.

The US dollar gold price remained weaker throughout 2014–15 compared to the previous period and averaged US$1224 an ounce, down six per cent. In Australian dollar terms it averaged A$1464, a rise of four per cent. This resulted in total sales of $9 billion for
2014–15, an increase of 1.5 per cent over the previous financial year making gold the second most valuable mineral sector.

Alumina was the third most valuable mineral in 2014–15 reaching over $5 billion,
a 20 per cent increase over the previous year. The quantity sold was up marginally to 13.8 million tonnes. In US dollar terms, alumina prices rose by around seven per cent and 18 per cent in Australian dollar terms.

Nickel was the State’s fourth most valuable mineral sector. The weakening Australian dollar resulted in an increased price of around ten per cent to producers. However, the quantity of nickel sales fell by almost 13 per cent to 183 thousand tonnes. This resulted in the total value of nickel sales falling seven per cent, from $3.4 billion in 2013–14 to
$3.2 billion in 2014-15.

The overall value of base metals (copper, lead and zinc) decreased by 11 per cent to just under $1.7 billion in 2014–15. Copper dominates this group with total sales of $1.3 billion, down 16 per cent on the previous financial year. Sales value of lead also decreased, from $178 million to $138 million. However, zinc output increased, by 43 per cent and its total sales value rose from $118 million in 2013–14 to $197 million in 2014–15.

The remaining mineral sales values were made up of:

  • mineral sands sales of $443 million (down six per cent);
  • salt sales of $384 million (down eight per cent);
  • diamond sales of $337 million (down 15 per cent);
  • coal sales of $301 million (up 14 per cent); and
  • cobalt sales, as a by-product of nickel mining, of $21 million (up 16 per cent).

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Petroleum sector highlights

Western Australia’s petroleum sector, which comprises crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG (butane and propane), was valued at $24 billion, a decrease of nine per cent on the previous year.
The value of the petroleum sector in 2014-15 was affected by declining crude oil prices which averaged US$85 per barrel for the first half of the financial year before falling to an average of US$53 per barrel during the second half. This meant that despite increased production across most petroleum products, the value of petroleum sales was actually less.

LNG was the most valuable petroleum product in the State in 2014–15 with output increasing marginally to reach a record 20.4 million tonnes. However, price affected the overall sales value of LNG which decreased by four per cent from last financial year to $13.8 billion. LNG production is forecast to grow in the period ahead with supply from new projects coming on stream including Gorgon and Wheatstone.

Production of crude oil, the second most valuable petroleum product in 2014 15, rose by seven per cent to 49 million barrels. However sales values fell 22 per cent to $4.5 billion. This decline in value is the result of a significant fall in crude oil prices in late 2014. Despite some small price recoveries, overall the crude oil price remains low compared to this time last year.

Similarly for condensate, its sales value decreased (by 14 per cent to $3.4 billion) despite output rising to over 42 million barrels.

In 2014–15 domestic natural gas sales were the only petroleum sector that experienced a rise in sales value. Production increased marginally, by one per cent, to 9.8 billion cubic metres and the value of sales rose seven per cent to $1.8 billion. This reflected an increase of six per cent to the average natural gas price achieved for the period.

Output of LPG (butane and propane) decreased by nine per cent with the sales value also decreasing to $415 million, down 29 per cent on the previous financial year.

Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum resources, in order of value for 2014 15, were:

Commodity $A Billion
Iron Ore 53.8
LNG 13.8
Crude Oil and Condensate 7.9
Gold 9
Alumina 5
Nickel 3.2
Others 6.8
Total 99.5

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