THE WA resources sector’s double-digit growth increases of recent years slowed during the 2002 to 2003 financial year to record a more sustainable figure of 4 per cent overall growth.
An appreciating Australian dollar and falling global commodity prices for some of the State’s key exports was attributed to the smaller growth rate.
According to the Department of Industry and Resources preliminary mineral and petroleum sales in 2002-03, the total value of the resource sector grew from $26.69 billion the previous year to almost $28 billion.
Renewed global price performances by some of WA’s old favourites, including oil, gold and nickel, and record-breaking output by other WA resources, helped to counter the higher value of the Australian dollar.
The Department of Industry and Resources welcomed the overall outcome, saying the increased value of the Australian dollar against the US currency and the industry’s extra-ordinarily high growth rates in recent years were key factors in the sector’s overall performance.
In terms of winners in the sector, the lucrative petroleum industry continued to hold the mantle for 2002 to 2003.
Crude oil and liquefied natural gas were petroleum stand outs.
Crude oil recorded a sales increase of 2 per cent to $4,296 million on the back of a 24 per cent increase of oil prices, despite a fall in production and the volume of crude oil sold.
LNG was WA’s second most valuable petroleum product with sales increasing 5 per cent to 7.8 million tonnes.
Nickel and gold also returned to some past glory.
WA nickel sales increased by 23 per cent to set a new record of $2,460 million and volume record of 191,863 tonnes.
This was on the back of a rise in world nickel of an average 29 per cent over the year.
Six million ounces of gold was produced in WA, reversing what had been four years of decreasing output and causing a 1 per cent increase in production.
However, more significantly, the Department of Resources says gold has regained its eminence as WA’s third largest resources industry, behind petroleum and iron ore by sales, after a 16 per cent average increase in the world gold price pushed WA’s gold sales to $3,444 million.
Sales of diamonds and salt also recorded substantial boosts.
The losers in terms of sales for the 2002 to 2003 period were iron ore, for which sales remained static at $5,194 million. Alumina sales were down $380 million or 11 per cent, and mineral sands experienced a 1 per cent drop in sales.
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