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 2018-19
Commodity markets were on a rollercoaster for much of 2018–19 with the US-China trade tensions entering its third year. The end of 2018 saw political tensions play a part in weakening prices before most prices recovered in the first quarter of 2019 on the back of the resumption of trade negotiations and a series of supply shocks to some commodities including the Vale dam accident in Brazil (iron ore, nickel); heavy floods in Chile (copper); protests in Peru (copper); smelter restrictions in response to environmental concerns in China (lead, zinc); and export restrictions in Indonesia (tin).
Locally, the Australian dollar was down almost eight per cent from an average of 77 US cents in 2017–18 to 72 US cents in 2018–19. Generally, global commodity prices held up well with the financial year average price of most commodities increasing on the gains made in 2017–18. Iron ore rebounded strongly on the back of the losses it recorded in the financial year prior.
On the back of these changes, Western Australia (WA) remains one of the world’s top contributors to the global commodity market. According to United States Geological Survey data, WA ranked amongst the top five countries for the production of eight different major minerals and in the top ten of a further three minerals.
Overall in 2018–19, WA’s mineral and petroleum industry reported record sales of $145 billion. The bulk of the $30 billion increase on 2017–18 was the result of improved iron ore prices and increasing LNG volumes as projects continue to move towards capacity.
Mineral sector highlights
Mineral commodities still dominate the State’s resources sector, accounting for 74 per cent, or $107 billion, of total sales value. Iron ore was by far the most valuable commodity, accounting for 73 per cent of mineral sales and 54 per cent of overall sales.
Iron ore recorded sales valued at $78.2 billion in 2018–19, up 26 per cent on the previous year and a new record for iron ore sales values. This was largely achieved on the back of improved iron ore prices as the volume of iron ore sold actually declined from 839 million tonnes (Mt) to just less than 794 Mt.
Gold sales volume decreased for the first time since 2014–15, however, continued gold price strength saw the value of the sector reach a new high of almost $12 billion, a five per cent increase on 2017–18 value.
Alumina and bauxite sales accounted for almost 8 per cent of mineral sales and six per cent of total sales. Sales volumes increased more than four per cent year–on–year, chiefly due to increased bauxite sales rather than alumina sales. This meant that the value of the sector increased 25 per cent from to $6.6 billion in 2017–18 to $8.3 billion in 2018–19.
WA’s nickel sector was relatively stable for the period with prices supporting a small (one per cent) increase in sales value to almost $2.7 billion despite a six per cent decline in nickel sales volumes.
The remaining minerals sales values comprised:
- Base metal sales of slightly less than $1.6 billion (down 6six per cent)
- Coal sales of $319 million (down four per cent)
- Cobalt sales of $331 million (down 35 per cent)
- Mineral sands sales of $529 million (up 39 per cent)
- Salt sales of $303 million (down less than one per cent)
- Spodumene sales of $1.55 billion (down two per cent).
Petroleum sector highlights
The petroleum sector, which comprises crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG, accounted for 26 per cent of the total value of WA’s mineral and petroleum sales in 2018–19. This made it the second most valuable sector after iron ore.
The sector was valued at $38.4 billion in 2018–19, an increase of 45 per cent from $26.5 billion in 2017–18.
LNG remains WA’s most valuable petroleum product, accounting for 20 per cent of all mineral and petroleum sales in 2018–19. The value of LNG sales rose more than $10 billion from $18.9 billion in 2017–18 to $28.9 billion in 2018–19.
In 2018–19, crude oil volumes were down 34 per cent to 3.2 gigalitres (GL), while condensate production increased almost 60 per cent to 11GL.
For an overview of how Western Australia performed against key activity indicators, please see the 2018-19 review of mineral and petroleum activity. The review covers employment, investment, exploration and royalty growth for 2018-19.
For more information on Statistics Digest
For more information on the Annual Report