Latest Statistics Release

An overview of the latest key information on the performance of the State's resources industry.

The series of resources data files published by DMP have been revamped in terms of format and the depth of information they provide.  Please contact DMP statistics if you would like to make any comments on the resource data files.

Resources data files

2015-16 Economic indicators resources data - 946 Kb

2015-16 Economic indicators resources data

2015-16 Major commodities resources data - 2151 Kb

2015-16 Major commodities resources data

2015-16 Spatial and regional data - 327 Kb

2015-16 Spatial and regional data

Mineral and Petroleum Industry 2015-16 review

Across the board it was another challenging year for commodity markets. Globally, surplus stock combined with weaker demand for raw materials, kept prices on the downward trend.

Locally, Australian producers were insulated slightly by the difference between the US and Australian dollars.  The Australian dollar averaged 72.8 cents in 2015-16, down from 83.6 cents in 2014-15.  This was the lowest annual average exchange rate since 2003-04. However, given the scale of global commodity price falls this was insufficient to protect Australian producers from decreased prices.

As a result, the value of Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry in 2015-16 was $87.9 billion, down 12 per cent from 2014-15.  Compared with the value of the industry in 2005-06 at $43 billion, it shows that the industry’s current value remains more than twice what it was ten years ago.

The mineral sector accounted for almost 80 per cent or $69.5 billion of Western Australia’s resources industry value in 2015-16, up from 76 per cent in 2014-15

Iron ore is the State’s highest value commodity, accounting for $48 billion (71 per cent) of total mineral sales in 2015–16.  Production volumes increased by five per cent over the financial year, assisted by the Roy Hill project commencing production.  Western Australia is now producing a total of 756 million tonnes of iron ore (up from 719 million tonnes in 2014-15), cementing its position as the world’s largest exporter.

The gold sector again bucked the trend and increased in value for the second consecutive year.  The value of the sector rose just over ten per cent in 2015-16 to reach a record $10 billion.  This was largely attributable to the Australian dollar price of gold continuing to rise from an average of $1479 in 2014-15 to an average of $1613 in 2015-16. Production volumes rose slightly over the period from 193 tonnes in 2014-15 to just under 195 tonnes in 2015-16.

In 2015-16, alumina was Western Australia’s third most valuable mineral sector at $4.9 billion (down by 1.6 per cent from $5 billion in 2014-15).  There was a small increase in alumina production, from 13.7 million tonnes in 2014-15 to 13.9 million tonnes in 2015-16, however this was not enough to offset the fall in the alumina price which finished the financial year at A$345.99 per tonne, down 5.5 per cent on the previous year.

Rounding out Western Australia’s top four most valuable minerals is the nickel sector which was valued at $2.2 billion in 2015-16.  Globally, the nickel market has been in excess supply over a number of years and this is continuing to place downwards pressure on nickel prices.  In 2015-16 the price fell 30 per cent from an average of A$18,388 per tonne to an average of A$12,800 per tonne.  Some supply is starting to drop out of the market, with Western Australian production decreasing just over four per cent for the year from 183 thousand tonnes to 176 thousand tonnes.

The overall value of base metals (copper, lead and zinc) decreased by close to 16 per cent to just under $1.4 billion in 2014–15.  Copper dominates this group with total sales of $1.2 billion, down nine per cent on the previous financial year.  Sales value of lead also decreased, from $137 million to $14.6 million while the value of zinc sales was down 3.8 per cent from last year. This was despite a three per cent increase in zinc production.

The remaining mineral sales values comprised:

  • mineral sands - $538 million (up ten per cent);
  • salt - $336 million (down ten per cent);
  • diamond - $353 million (up three per cent);
  • coal - $336 million (up ten per cent); and
  • cobalt, as a by-product of nickel mining, - $174 million (down 17 per cent).

Petroleum sector highlights

In 2015-16, the value of Western Australia’s petroleum sector, which comprises crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG (butane and propane), was again affected by declining crude oil prices, which averaged US$76.70 per barrel in 2014-15, falling to an average of $45.05 in 2015-16.  As a result the value of the petroleum sector decreased by almost 24 per cent to $18.4 billion in 2015-16.

LNG remains the State’s most valuable petroleum product with output increasing marginally to reach a record 20.9 million tonnes.  As can be expected price affected the overall sales value of LNG, which decreased by 22 per cent from last financial year to $10.8 billion.

Production of crude oil, the second most valuable petroleum product in 2015-16, fell by three per cent to 48 million barrels, but sales value fell 33 per cent to $3 billion.  This decline in value is the result of the continued drop in crude oil prices.

Similarly for condensate, sales value decreased by 32 per cent to $2.4 billion, despite output rising to over 42 million barrels.

In 2015-16, domestic natural gas was the only petroleum sector that experienced a rise in sales value.  Production increased marginally, by 3.5 per cent, to 10.2 billion cubic metres and the value of sales rose just short of five per cent to $1.9 billion.

Output of LPG (butane and propane) decreased by four per cent with the sales value also decreasing to $249 million, down 39 per cent on the previous financial year.

Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum resources, in order of value for 2014–15, were:

Western Australia’s principal mining and mineral processing projects (2015-16)

Commodity $A Billion
Iron Ore 48.4
LNG 10.8
Gold 10
Crude Oil and Condensate 5.4
Alumina 4.9
Nickel 2.2
Others 6.2
Total 87.9

For more information on Statistics Digest

For more information on the DMP Annual Report