WA resources sector’s biggest year ever powering nation through COVID

Delivers record $210b petroleum and mineral sales for 2020-21
Date: Monday, 11 October 2021
  • Record 149,400 people employed in WA’s resources sector, up from 135,000 the previous year
  • WA has kept the resources sector safely open throughout the pandemic
  • Local economy the strongest of any State, growing by 5.7 per cent since the onset of COVID-19
  • Western Australia accounted for well over half of national goods exports in 2020-21

Western Australia continues to carry the national economy in the face of COVID-19 with the State’s resources sector delivering a record $210 billion of sales and its highest-ever job numbers over the past financial year.

The remarkable results defy the economic turmoil seen around much of the world and emphasise the significance of the State’s work to keep the sector running safely throughout the pandemic.

Minerals and petroleum sales in WA grew by $38 billion to $210 billion from 2019-20 to 2020-21.

Jobs supported by the sector increased from 135,000 in 2019-20 to 149,400 in 2020-21.

These results follow the State’s strong economic performance throughout the pandemic, where WA’s domestic economy has grown by 5.7 per cent between the December quarter 2019 and the June quarter 2021.

This is the strongest of the States and almost double the rest of the nation when WA is excluded (2.9 per cent).

Western Australia accounted for well over half (56.2 per cent) of national goods exports in 2020-21.

Iron ore sales reached a record $155 billion. Gold sales were valued at $16.6 billion, up four per cent from 2019-20, while nickel sales were valued at $3.5 billion - the industry’s highest sales value in seven years.

Alumina and bauxite activities also made significant contributions to the sector’s growth.

Mineral exploration hit $2.1 billion in 2020-21, an increase of 21 per cent from $1.7 billion in 2019-20, with WA’s share of national mineral exploration expenditure increasing to 65 per cent.

Almost $21 billion was invested into Western Australia’s mining and petroleum sector, up from $19 billion in 2019-20 - and a five-year high.

Western Australia has around $127 billion of resources projects in the development pipeline.

For more information, visit http://dmp.wa.gov.au/About-Us-Careers/Latest-Statistics-Release-4081.aspx

Comments attributed to Premier Mark McGowan:

“WA is continuing to do the heavy lifting for the Australian economy, as we have throughout the pandemic.

“Our efforts to crush the virus quickly and keep our economy and mining industry open has not only benefited Western Australians but the nation more broadly, with WA continuing to provide the largest per capita financial contribution to the Federation.

“While the economies of the larger States are expected to contract given their extended lockdowns, the WA economy continues to punch well above its weight in supporting the nation.

“We resisted calls to shut down the resources sector at the height of the pandemic and these results demonstrate the significance of that decision.

“We have not only protected tens of thousands of Western Australian resources jobs but created an additional 14,400 this financial year.

“These strong results will continue to power the national economy as the larger States work to emerge from their extended lockdowns.”

Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:

“Never has the importance of the sector’s economic contribution been so clearly demonstrated than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While other major mining jurisdictions suffered protracted shutdowns, WA’s miners operated and traded uninterrupted throughout the crisis.

“The sector’s success in trading, largely uninterrupted by the pandemic, has enhanced our global reputation as a reliable and safe supplier, and is set to position WA with a significant competitive advantage as the world’s economy recovers.”