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
Globally, political tensions provided commodity markets cause for concern throughout the year, but this was not enough to offset a bumper year for Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry.
Locally, the Australian dollar was down slightly from an average of 77 US cents in 2017 to 75 US cents in 2018. Generally, global commodity prices held up well with the calendar year average price of most commodities increasing on the gains made in 2017. Iron ore (62% Fe) was an exception to this trend.
In 2018, Western Australia’s (WA) mineral and petroleum industry reported record sales of more than $127 billion. This eclipsed the previous calendar year record value of $116 billion set in 2013 and was greater than the financial year record of $123 billion set in 2013-14. The bulk of the almost $18 billion year-on-year increase was attributed to higher liquefied natural gas (LNG) volumes and prices.
Mineral sector highlights
Mineral commodities still dominate the State’s resources sector, accounting for 72 per cent, or $92 billion, of total sales value. Iron ore remains by far the most valuable commodity, accounting for 69 per cent of mineral sales and 50 per cent of overall sales.
Iron ore recorded sales valued at $64 billion in 2018, up slightly (less than one per cent) on last year. Marginally higher prices, especially for lower grade (58% Fe) iron ore, offset lower sales volumes (811 million tonnes) from WA producers.
Gold sales volumes increased for the third year in a row to reach a 212 tonnes (7.5 million ounces) in 2018 – their highest level since 1998. Increased volumes combined with strong gold prices to deliver a three per cent increase in the value of the sector, from $11.1 billion in 2017 to $11.5 billion in 2018.
The value of the alumina and bauxite sector increased 35 per cent to $7.9 billion in 2018 on the back of stronger alumina prices. Overall sales volumes increased more than two per cent year–on–year, attributable to a substantial increase in bauxite sales. As a result, alumina and bauxite sales accounted for 8.6 per cent of mineral sales in 2018 up from 6.8 per cent in 2017.
While WA’s nickel sector has struggled in recent years, and sales were lower again in 2018, higher nickel prices delivered a 16 per cent increase in the value of the sector from $2.3 billion in 2017 to $2.6 billion in 2018.
The remaining minerals sales values comprised:
- Base metal sales of $1.6 billion (up 1%)
- Coal sales of $327 million (down 3%)
- Cobalt sales of $507 million (up 33%)
- Diamond sales of $259 million (down 3%)
- Mineral sands sales of $432 million (up 25%)
- Salt sales of $304 million (up 11%)
- Spodumene sales of $1.6 billion (up 34%).
Petroleum sector highlights
The petroleum sector, which comprises crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), accounted for 28 per cent of the total value of WA’s mineral and petroleum sales in 2018. This made it the second most valuable sector after iron ore.
The sector was valued at a record $35.5 billion in 2018, an increase of 63 per cent from $21.7 billion in 2017.
LNG remains WA’s most valuable petroleum product, accounting for more than 21 per cent of all mineral and petroleum sales in 2018. The value of LNG sales value rose by more than $12 billion to $27 billion in 2018.
The volume of LNG produced in WA increased 79 per cent during the five years to 2017 and a further 34 per cent in 2018. This follows the start-up of several new LNG projects over the period marking the last of this wave of “mega” LNG investment projects to reach production.
Increased condensate production (up 34 per cent to 8.4 gigalitres) and higher prices received by WA producers, contributed to a 77 per cent increase in the value of condensate sales from $2.6 billion in 2017 to $4.5 billion in 2018.
The value of crude oil sales was down 4 per cent, with lower sales volumes offsetting improved oil prices.
For an overview of how Western Australia performed against key activity indicators, please see the 2018 review of mineral and petroleum activity. The review covers employment, investment, exploration and royalty growth for 2018.
For more information on Statistics Digest
For more information on the Annual Report