26/03/2019 - 15:05

WA resources sector reaches $127.4bn record

26/03/2019 - 15:05

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Western Australia's resources industry experienced record sales in 2018, up 16 per cent from the year prior, thanks largely to a rise in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

WA resources sector reaches $127.4bn record
An 81 per cent increase in LNG sales value meant that the sector contributed $12 billion of the overall $17.8 billion increase.

Western Australia's resources industry experienced record sales in 2018, up 16 per cent from the year prior, thanks largely to a rise in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

According to statistics from the Department of Mines Industry Regulation and Safety, an 81 per cent increase in LNG sales value meant that the sector contributed $12 billion of the overall $17.8 billion increase in total mineral and petroleum sales.

This led to a total of $127.4 billion, with the previous highest calendar year record of $116 billion set in 2013.

LNG volumes increased by 34 per cent to a new record of 43.7 million tonnes, and the volume of lithium spodumene concentrate sales rose by 24 per cent to reach a new record of 2.1mt.

Figures show gold sales volumes increased for the third year in a row to reach 7.5 million ounces in 2018, their highest level since 1998.

The average number of workers in the WA minerals sector in 2018 was 120,437, an increase from 111,000 in 2017.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, almost $18 billion was invested in WA's mining industry in 2018, representing around 52 per cent of national expenditure.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said it was great to see growth in mining employment for a second year running.

"Together, the iron ore and gold sectors accounted for about 70 per cent of mineral sector jobs in 2018; it's also pleasing to see further growth in LNG and lithium,” he said.

"The state has about $113 billion of resource projects in the pipeline."

The Association of Mining & Exploration Companies chief executive Warren Pearce said the statistics should not come as a surprise.

“The Fraser institute survey saw WA rise to second in the world behind Nevada in the US, reflecting political stability, royalties and environmental regulation in the state,” he said.

“These results show that the WA resource sector is leading WA’s economic recovery and employing more people than ever before.

“We also saw growth in mineral exploration expenditure and metres drilled for the 2018 calendar year reflect the returning strength of the exploration sector.”

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