A record number of advanced minerals and energy projects, valued at $29.4 billion, will add significantly to the sector's production and export capacity in the short to medium term, according to ABARE.In a new report, Minerals and Energy: Major Development Projects, released today by Dr BrianFisher, Executive Director of ABARE it is revealed that there are a total of 241 major projects considered'advanced' (under construction or committed to).'This is a record number of advanced projects and, at $29.4 billion, the total value of theseadvanced projects is also a record. The total of Australian mineral exploration expenditure andcapital expenditure in 2004-05 was the highest since 1997-98, which bodes well for futuredevelopment in the sector,' Dr Fisher commented.The list is compiled and updated every six months. The October 2005 list contains details of 241major projects spanning most minerals and energy commodities.Dr Fisher noted that factors such as shortages of skilled labor and increased construction costs haverecently caused delays and cost increases for some projects. 'With the exceptionally large numberof advanced projects, these project delays and cost pressures are unlikely to ease in the short term.'Petroleum and coal projects account for over 51 per cent (or $15.1 billion) of the estimated capitalcost of $29.4 billion for all of the advanced projects. Investment interest is also strong in iron oreand alumina, which account for a further 19 per cent and 9 per cent, respectively, of the estimatedtotal capital cost.There are 157 projects listed that are at less advanced stages. 'These are mainly projects that are stillundergoing feasibility studies. While not all of these projects will necessarily proceed todevelopment, they provide a useful indication of the nature and extent of the platform for futuresectoral development,' Dr Fisher said.Of the record total of 241 projects in ABARE's list, 74 are new to the list since October last year.'This is a relatively large number compared with earlier years and is another indication ofsignificant investment interest in the sector,' Dr Fisher said.
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