Mining and Heavy Industries

WA resources sector records biggest year ever

Money. Photo: Jim Wilson

The Western Australian resources sector has delivered a record-breaking $210 billion of sales and its highest ever job numbers over the past financial year.

Minerals and petroleum sales in WA grew by $38 billion to $210 billion from 2019-20 to 2020-21.

Jobs supported by the sector increased from 135,000 in 2019-20 to 149,400 in 2020-21.

Western Australia accounted for well over half (56.2 per cent) of national goods exports in 2020-21.

Iron ore sales reached a record $155 billion. Gold sales were valued at $16.6 billion, up four per cent from 2019-20, while nickel sales were valued at $3.5 billion – the industry’s highest sales value in seven years.

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Alumina and bauxite activities also made significant contributions to the sector’s growth.

Mineral exploration hit $2.1 billion in 2020-21, an increase of 21 per cent from $1.7 billion in 2019-20, with WA’s share of national mineral exploration expenditure increasing to 65 per cent.

Almost $21 billion was invested into Western Australia’s mining and petroleum sector, up from $19 billion in 2019-20 – and a five-year high.

Western Australia has around $127 billion of resources projects in the development pipeline.

WA Premier Mark McGowan said the state is doing the heavy lifting for the Australian economy.

“While the economies of the larger States are expected to contract given their extended lockdowns, the WA economy continues to punch well above its weight in supporting the nation,” McGowan said.

“We resisted calls to shut down the resources sector at the height of the pandemic and these results demonstrate the significance of that decision.

“We have not only protected tens of thousands of Western Australian resources jobs but created an additional 14,400 this financial year.

“These strong results will continue to power the national economy as the larger States work to emerge from their extended lockdowns.”

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