Mineral exports up by 17pc – Abare

NATIONAL earnings from mineral exports increased by 17 per cent to $106.5 billion in the 2006-07 financial year, according to the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics’ June quarter Australian Mineral Statistics report. Commodities to record large increases in export earnings in 2006-07 were led by nickel, which jumped in value by 145 per cent to $8.5 billion. Most of Australia’s nickel exports were from Western Australia, with the major players being BHP Billiton’s Nickel West division, Russian company Norilsk (following its acquisition of LionOre Mining), and Perth companies Minara Resources Ltd, Mincor Resources Ltd and Jubilee Mines NL. Other commodities to achieve strong growth included: zinc up 69 per cent to $4.3 billion; refined gold up 46 per cent to $10.3 billion; crude oil up 25 per cent to $8.1 billion; and iron ore up 21 per cent to $15.5 billion. Uranium ($660 million), lead ($1.5 billion), alumina ($6.2 billion) and LNG ($5.2 billion) also achieved solid growth. “This stronger performance reflects higher export prices for almost two-thirds of the minerals and energy commodities exported, along with increased export volumes for nearly three-quarters of the commodities,” Abare executive director Phillip Glyde said. The index of export prices of Australian mineral resources rose 9.4 per cent in 2006-07 as higher metal prices more than offset lower prices for energy minerals. Prices for metals and related minerals rose by 24 per cent, while energy minerals prices declined by 8.7 per cent. Mr Glyde noted that export earnings for some major export commodities declined during 2006-07. Earnings from coking coal were down 11 per cent to $15.1 billion and steaming coal were down 6 per cent) to $6.7 billion. “The decline in export earnings from coal in 2006-07 reflected the negative income effects of a stronger Australian dollar on steaming coal exports and lower prices for coking coal,” Mr Glyde said.

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