Latest Statistics Release
An overview of the latest key information on the performance of the State's resources industry.
Mineral and Petroleum Industry 2012-13 Review
The value of Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry in 2012–13 was $102 billion. Although the value of the industry fell by 3.8 per cent from 2011–12, this value was the second highest on record and the third consecutive year above $100 billion.
The strong Australian dollar maintained an average exchange rate in excess of US$1 over this period. This played a part in lowering received prices for Western Australian producers. Traditionally perceived as a commodity currency, the Australian dollar did not decrease in line with falling commodity prices and therefore did not shield producers from lower prices. It was not until May 2013 that the exchange rate fell below parity providing some relief to falling prices.
The value of sales overall, however, was maintained by an increase in quantities sold.
Iron ore and gold together accounted for $65.3 billion (84 per cent) of all mineral sales in 2012–13.
Iron ore remained the State’s highest value commodity, accounting for $56.4 billion (73 per cent) of total mineral sales in 2012–13. With strong demand, led by China, the sector achieved record levels of export quantities. This resulted in 513 million tonnes being exported an increase of 13 per cent on the previous financial year. Lower prices however, resulted in a decrease of 7.3 per cent in the value of iron ore sales.
The gold price continued to climb in the first half of 2012–13, but started to weaken in December 2012 and continued its downward trend to June 2013. This resulted in total sales of just under $9 billion for 2012–13, a fall of 4.6 per cent over the previous financial year.
The petroleum sector, which includes crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG (butane and propane) was valued at $24.5 billion, an increase of 2.9 per cent on the previous year. This increase was due to the Pluto LNG project coming on stream which countered falls in crude oil, LPG and domestic gas.
Mineral and petroleum exports comprised 89 per cent of the State’s total merchandise exports, representing the major contribution to Western Australia’s 47 per cent share of the nation’s total merchandise exports. China remains our major trading partner taking 47 per cent of merchandise exports followed by Japan at 19 per cent.
ABS figures showed that investment activity in Western Australia strengthened during 2012–13, with the State’s mining industry investing a record $48 billion, a seven per cent increase compared to 2011–12. Western Australia remained the nation’s leading mining investment destination, attracting 51 per cent of total national capital spending valued at a record $95 billion. Fuelled by strong demand for resource commodities from Asia, new capital expenditure by the State’s mining industry has grown at an annual rate of 23 per cent during the five years to 2012–13.
The dominance of the resources sector in the nation’s economy is expected to continue given the number of projects which have been expanded or developed, in particular iron ore and LNG. However, investment levels in the State’s resources industry have begun to decline as major projects under construction now near completion and transition to the operational phase. Recent falls in commodity prices have also caused some mining companies to re-evaluate their investment positions.
As at September 2013, Western Australia had an estimated $146 billion worth of resource projects under construction or in the committed stage of development. A further $97 billion has been identified as planned or possible projects in coming years.
Highlights in 2012-13
Iron ore remains the State's most valuable sector of the mining industry, accounting for $56.4 billion (73 per cent) of the mineral sector’s total sales. Although this result was 7.3 per cent lower than the 2011–12 year, increased output of 13 per cent (58 million tonnes) helped to offset weaker prices and a strong Australian dollar. In total 513 million tonnes were exported in 2012–13.
Gold was the second most valuable mineral sector, with total sales of just under $9 billion, representing 12 per cent of the mineral sector’s total sales. The gold price continued its’ upwards momentum in the first half of 2012–13, however started to weaken in December 2012 and continued a downward trend to June 2013. The quantity sold fell slightly from 5.8 million ounces in 2011–12 to 5.7 million ounces.
Alumina and nickel maintained their long-held positions as the State’s third and fourth most valuable mineral sectors. Prices for both commodities were negatively impacted this financial year. The quantity of nickel sales increased by 9.5 per cent to a record 228 thousand tonnes, however the total value decreased by 2.3 per cent, from $3.7 billion in 2011–12 to $3.6 billion this financial year. The total value of alumina decreased by 1.3 per cent to $3.9 billion however the quantity sold increased by 8.9 per cent. The alumina price fell some nine per cent during the period.
The overall value of base metals (copper, lead and zinc) increased by 22 per cent to just under $1.6 billion in 2012–13. This increase was due to the commencement of shipments from the Paroo Station Lead project and Sandfire’s DeGrussa-Dulgunna copper–gold project. Copper is by far the most significant base metal with total sales of $1.4 billion, up 24 per cent on the previous financial year. Sales of lead increased sharply from $12.9 million to just under $47 million. Zinc output levels fell by 12 per cent, with the total value of sales falling from $121 million in 2011–12 to $100 million in 2012–13.
The total value of mineral sands sales fell by just under 16 per cent to $756 million. Sales revenues were impacted by lower sales tonnages in ilmenite, synthetic rutile and zircon.
The value of salt sales rose by around eight per cent to $382 million in 2012–13 while volumes fell by three per cent to 12.4 million tonnes.
In 2012–13, diamond sales volumes rebounded by 10.6 per cent to 9.6 million carats. Increased tonnages and higher grades from the Argyle underground mine accounted for this improvement in sales.
Coal prices remained static, whilst output and values increased by a little over seven per cent to reach 7.5 million tonnes and $311 million respectively.
Output for cobalt, as a by-product of nickel mining, increased by 31 per cent to 6383 tonnes but weaker prices translated into only a ten per cent increase in sales value which reached $160 million.
Petroleum, which includes crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG (butane and propane) was valued at a record $24.5 billion. The increase can be attributed to the Pluto LNG project coming on stream which countered falls in crude oil, LPG and domestic gas.
LNG was the most valuable petroleum product in the State in 2012–13 with output increasing by almost 29 per cent to reach a record 19.8 million tonnes. The value of sales increased by 25 per cent to a record $12.5 billion. LNG production is forecast to grow in the period ahead due to increased demand from Asia and supply from new projects including Wheatstone and Gorgon.
Production of crude oil, the second most valuable petroleum product in 2012–13, decreased by 24 per cent to 54 million barrels, with sales values decreasing to $6 billion. Crude oil is continuing its downward trend due to maturing fields.
The value of condensate increased by two per cent to $3.9 billion and output rose by four per cent to 38 million barrels. Most of this increase can be attributed to Pluto and North Rankin.
In 2012–13 domestic natural gas sales decreased by four per cent to 8.7 billion cubic metres while the value of sales was steady at $1.4 billion. Output of LPG (butane and propane) decreased by ten per cent with the sales value also decreasing to $639 million, down 13 per cent on the previous financial year.
Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum resources, in order of value for 2012–13, were:
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