With all the weeping and wailing from the mining industry you would think that the prospect of higher taxation had brought mineral exploration to a halt. What a surprise then to see this morning's figures on the subject from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
The trend estimate for total mineral exploration expenditure, reported the Bureau, rose $29.2m (5.1%) to $601.3m in the June quarter 2010. The current quarter estimate is 23.7% higher than the June quarter 2009 estimate.
The largest contribution to the rise in the trend estimate this quarter was in Western Australia (up $25.0m or 7.7%) followed by Queensland (up $2.2m or 2.0%). The trend estimate for metres drilled rose 2.1% this quarter. The current quarter estimate is 28.5% higher than the June quarter 2009 estimate.
In original terms, exploration on areas of new deposits rose $75.8m (43.7%), while expenditure on areas of existing deposits rose $102.0m (35.7%). In original terms, the largest rise by minerals sought came from expenditure on iron ore exploration (up $54.5m or 56.6%), with the largest rise occurring in Western Australia. The next largest rise came from expenditure on gold exploration (up $34.9m or 26.7%).