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Australia’s minerals exploration on a stronger footing than a year earlier

Australia’s mineral exploration sector has had a stronger start to 2019 than 2018, despite recording a quarter-on-quarter decrease in expenditure and metres drilled during the first three months of the year.

Mineral exploration expenditure fell by 16.1% to A$497.5-million for the March quarter, with metres drilled down by 12% quarter-on-quarter.

Greenfield metres drilled fell by 20.9% and brownfield metres drilled fell by 6.6%. Greenfield exploration expenditure reduced by nearly one-quarter, or A$57.5-million, and brownfield mineral exploration expenditure fell by 10.5%, or A$37.8-million.

“In original terms, mineral exploration numbers are lower than the previous quarter,” according to Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO, Warren Pearce.

However, compared with the March 2018 quarter, the March quarter for this year had total expenditure that was 13% higher (A$58-million), and 18.3% higher metres drilled.

In this March quarter, greenfield expenditure was 21% higher than a year earlier, and brownfield expenditure was 9.6% higher than the March 2018 quarter.

2018 was a strong year for mineral exploration with total exploration expenditure growing by 19.3% across the year in original terms compared with 2017.

Pearce indicated that while March’s mineral exploration statistics were lower across the board than the end of last year, 2019 has started stronger than 2018.

He highlighted that following the Federal election, there was a clear mandate for the government to grow mineral exploration and deliver on the Resources 2030 Taskforce Report, with this having received bipartisan support.

“Mineral exploration is the future of Australian mining", he said.

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