Friday 17th Aug, 2018

Greenfield expansions “bellwether” for confidence: QRC

Australian miners think Chinese coal testing is unfair. Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock

The Queensland Resources Council has noted a strong increase in investment in greenfield exploration across the state.

QRC boss Ian Macfarlane said the investment growth was a strong indicator of future growth in the resources sector.

Australian Bureau of Statistics data in the March 2018 quarter found greenfield exploration was up 39% in Queensland, compared to the same quarter in 2017.

“Exploration is an important indicator of confidence in the resources sector and greenfield exploration demonstrates the sector’s willingness to explore for larger deposits,” Macfarlane said.

“When greenfield exploration is successful, it can generate new projects, new industries and the potential to create hundreds of millions of dollars of royalties for the life of the project.”

The ABS figures show copper exploration grew 150% year-on-year, while exploration for base metals grew 139%.

Gold exploration expenditure was up 37%, and coal exploration was up 65%.

QRC says the growth was underpinned by a sustained lift in prices, and Queensland Exploration Council chair Brad John said Queensland’s mineral deposits include the resources needed for high-tech products.

“The increasing level of copper exploration reflects the resource as a key ingredient for future technologies such as electric vehicles and renewable energy,” John said.

It wasn’t all growth; petroleum exploration fell 20% over the quarter coming off many years of considerable investment.

But Macfarlane was positive the overall outlook for the resources sector in the state is incredibly positive.

“Momentum in Queensland’s resources sector continues to build,” Macfarlane said, “with three major announcements last week.

“South32 acquired a stake in Eagle Downs, BMA transacted its Gregory Crinum mine to Sojitz and Santos invested $400 million in its Arcadia project. In total, it’s around a $700 million investment and 600 jobs.”

QRC says mining now provides one in every six dollars in Queensland’s economy.