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Back in the hunt: Miners start to dig for green economy minerals


The mining industry is back in the hunt for new projects with spending on exploration for minerals used in transition to at its highest level since the end of the mining boom.

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Exploration expenditure across the Queensland sector rose by 24 percent over the past 12 months to reach $708 million since March 2020. For the March quarter, $110 million was spent on mineral exploration, the highest quarterly result since 2013.  About $411 million was spent for the 12-month period.

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said that in spite of the global pandemic, Queensland’s resources sector had surged ahead, particularly in petroleum and minerals.

“The latest data is the first time we’ve been able to look at how the exploration industry has performed over a 12-month period since the onset of COVID, and the news is very good for the Queensland economy and for regional jobs,” he said.

“Annual expenditure on petroleum exploration in Queensland has risen by almost 60 percent since March 2020 to reach $297 million, compared to $188 million for the previous 12-month period.

“Queensland minerals exploration expenditure has also kept increasing throughout COVID, rising by seven percent over the past 12 months to reach $411 million.”

Copper exploration has boomed with 13 percent since March last year, gold is up 33 percent and selected base metals and coal are steady. The demand for copper has been increasing in recent years because of its use in the renewable energy sector.

Macfarlane said while coal exploration expenditure was flat over the period, the good news is that demand for Australian coal is still very strong.

“Queensland Treasury analysis highights Queensland’s future coal demand will continue to be linked to key economies in north-east and south-east Asia, and demand for our metallurgical coal in particular hinges on the world’s two largest coal consumers, China and India,” he said.



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