Exploration continues to rise in Australia

EXPLORATION continued to surge in the September quarter, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
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Staff reporter

Exploration expenditure rose 6.1% quarter-on-quarter to a seasonally adjusted $702.1 million.

In original terms, exploration expenditure was up 9% to $744.9 million.

Gold exploration was the standout, jumping 17% to $356.1 million, the highest level in at least eight years.

Exploration on existing deposits rose 7.3%, while exploration at new deposits rose 12.4%.

Metres drilled rose 14.1%, seasonally adjusted, or 18.8% in original terms.

Strong growth in exploration expenditure in Western Australia, the Northern Territory, Queensland and Tasmania offset weaker results from Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, which were more impacted by COVID-19.

"The continued increase in greenfield mineral exploration expenditure this quarter comes off the back of significant capital raisings in the June quarter with $1.34 billion raised across the exploration sector, supporting new exploration programs," Association of Mining and Exploration Companies CEO Warren Pearce said.

"The ability of Australian mineral exploration and mining companies to continue operating where possible, in adherence with COVID-19 restrictions, has driven interest in mineral exploration following a number of recent promising discoveries in multiple jurisdictions.

"Western Australia's minerals sector continues to lead the nation's emergence from COVID-19 constraints. Total expenditure grew by $70.9 million to $483.3 million. For context, the previous year (September 2019) saw a $44.6 million growth quarter on quarter.

"Today's figures should give further confidence to investors that Australia's mineral exploration companies continue to work hard to discover new mines."