An overview of the latest key information on the performance of the State's resources industry.
The series of resources data files published by the department have been revamped in terms of format and the depth of information they provide. Please contact statistics if you would like to make any comments on the resource data files.
Resources data files
Mineral and petroleum commodity review 2017–18
For much of 2017–18 optimism returned to the global commodity market, with the volatility of previous years easing across a number of commodities. However, political tensions played a part in the latter half of the year with the threat of a trade war between the US and China affecting the strength of some markets in mid-2018.
Since the US-China trade tensions began, the price of commodities like gold, nickel, copper have dropped between 8 and 16 per cent.
Locally, the Australian dollar was up slightly from an average of 75 US cents in 2016–17 to 77 US cents in 2017–18. Generally, global commodity prices held up well with the financial year average price of most commodities increasing on the gains made in 2016–17. Iron ore was one of the only exceptions to this trend.
In 2017–18, Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry reported sales of just less than $115 billion. The bulk of the $10 billion increase, up from $105 billion in 2016–17, was mainly attributed to increased LNG volumes and improvement in the petroleum sector more broadly.
Mineral sector highlights
Mineral commodities still dominate the State’s resources sector, accounting for 77 per cent, or $88 billion, of total sales value. Iron ore was by far the most valuable commodity, accounting for 70 per cent of mineral sales and 54 per cent of overall sales.
Iron ore recorded sales valued at $61.7 billion in 2017–18, down slightly (3 per cent) on last year. Record sales volumes of almost 826 million tonnes was not enough to offset the lower prices received by Western Australian producers.
Gold sales volumes increased for the third year in a row to reach a record 212 tonnes (7.5 million ounces) in 2017–18. Increased volumes combined with strong gold prices to deliver a 5 per cent increase in the value of the sector, from $10.8 billion in 2016–17 to $11.4 billion in 2017–18.
Alumina and bauxite sales accounted for 7.5 per cent of mineral sales and 6 per cent of total sales. Sales volumes increased more than 4 per cent year–on–year, attributable to a substantial increase in bauxite sales, which offset a decrease in alumina sales. This meant that the value of the sector increased 30 per cent to $6.6 billion in 2017–18.
Western Australia’s nickel sector has struggled in recent years, with the value of the sector declining year-on-year since 2010–11. However, in 2017–18, fortunes turned with the value of the sector increasing 26 per cent from $2.1 billion in 2016–17 to $2.6 billion in 2017–18.
The remaining minerals sales values comprised:
- Base metal sales of $1.6 billion (up 16 per cent)
- Coal sales of $332 million (down 2per cent)
- Cobalt sales of $514 million (up 115 per cent)
- Diamond sales of $250 million (down 7 per cent)
- Mineral sands sales of $358 million (down 3 per cent)
- Salt sales of $301 million (up 3 per cent)
- Spodumene sales of $1.6 billion (up 164 per cent)
Petroleum sector highlights
The petroleum sector, which comprises crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG, accounted for 23 per cent of the total value of Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum sales in 2017–18. This made it the second most valuable sector after iron ore.
The sector was valued at $26.6 billion in 2017–18, an increase of 39 per cent from $19.2 billion in 2016–17.
LNG remains Western Australia’s most valuable petroleum product, accounting for close to 17 per cent of all mineral and petroleum sales in 2017–18. The value of LNG sales value rose just over $6 billion from $12.7 billion in 2016–17 to $19.1 billion in 2017–18.
The volume of LNG produced in Western Australia increased 45 per cent during the five years to 2016–17 and a further 32 per cent in 2017–18. This follows the start-up of several new LNG projects over the period marking the last of the “mega” LNG investment projects to reach production.
In 2017–18, crude oil volumes were down 11 per cent to 4.8 gigalitres, while condensate production increased 18 per cent to 7.1 gigalitres. Improvements in the prices received by Western Australian producers contributed to the increase in the value of crude oil and condensate sales which rose for the first time in seven years from $4.3 billion in 2016–17 to $5.6 billion in 2017–18.
For an overview of how Western Australia performed against key activity indicators, please see Review of industry activity indicators 2017-18. The review covers employment, investment, exploration and royalty growth for 2017-18.
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