WA’s resources sector has record-busting year

WA’s resources sector achieves highest ever sales of $246 billion in 2022
Date: Monday, 24 April 2023
  • A record 117,970 full-time equivalent jobs in the mining industry
  • Exploration continues to prosper with critical minerals leading the way
  • Regional WA set to benefit from ongoing investment and construction

Western Australia’s resources industry achieved record sales of $246 billion in 2022 and delivered more jobs than ever before, underlining our State’s role as the driving force behind the national economy.

Resources sales for 2022 were up an impressive $15 billion from 2021 based on the latest annual data released today by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DMIRS).

Employment in the mining industry continued its remarkable run with a record 117,970 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in the 2021-22 financial year.*

Although down due to lower prices, the iron ore industry achieved historically strong sales of $126 billion on record production of 855 million tonnes. Spodumene concentrate was also at an all-time high with sales of $16.3 billion, which is six times the amount recorded in 2021.

Spodumene is the most widely used source of lithium, an essential mineral for a range of clean energy technologies.

High global prices and local production translated into record LNG production valued at $51 billion. This was almost $24 billion more than the LNG produced in 2021.

Gold continued to shine with record sales of $17.8 billion, nickel sales of $5.7 billion were the highest in 15 years and alumina delivered sales of $6.9 billion.

Domestic gas and condensate delivered their best ever sales of $2.2 billion and $9 billion respectively, while crude oil sales returned an eight-year high of $4.1 billion.

Activity in WA’s exploration industry continued to grow in 2022 with record-breaking expenditure of $2.54 billion. Spending on the search for critical minerals continued to impress with nickel-cobalt ($267 million), copper ($195 million) and ‘other minerals’ which are dominated by lithium and rare earth elements ($293 million).

WA remained the leading destination for exploration investment in Australia, accounting for 63 per cent of the national spend.

Investment in the mining and petroleum sector continued its outstanding run with almost $26 billion invested in the State last year. WA has now seen 14 continuous quarters of increased investment spending.

Projects under construction or committed had an estimated capital cost of $60 billion.

For more information, visit http://www.dmp.wa.gov.au/Investors/Resource-statistics-1431.aspx

*In previous years, DMIRS’ jobs statistics reported ‘Number of Individuals’ employed in the sector. The department’s job statistics now report FTE employment with the 2021-22 financial year data being the latest available.

Comments attributed to Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston:

“Western Australia’s resources sector has delivered yet another exceptional performance and we are running out of superlatives to describe these record-breaking results.

“Creating and supporting jobs is one of the McGowan Government’s top priorities, so it’s great to see there is now more employment in the resources sector than ever before.

“Investment in the sector and project construction will continue to deliver benefits to local communities and underpin economic growth in regional WA for years to come.

“The strong interest in the search for critical minerals is encouraging as the McGowan Government is working hard to ensure WA plays a central role in decarbonising the world’s economies.”