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 2016–17
There was volatility in many commodities during 2016–17 with political and economic events reshaping these markets.
Political and economic developments in the US, escalating tensions in North Korea and uncertainty over European elections caused fluctuations in exchange rates and commodity prices. Locally, weak inflation data and lower than expected retail sales, effected the strength of the Australian dollar.
Despite this, the Australian dollar was up slightly from an average of 73 US cents in 2015–16 to 75 US cents in 2016–17. Similarly, global commodity prices generally held up well. Some of major commodities experienced a strong increase in prices in the first half of the financial year which coupled with strong production helped Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry to bounce back from 2015–16.
In 2016–17, Western Australia’s mineral and petroleum industry reported sales of $105 billion, a return to exceeding the $100 billion dollar mark after weakened commodity prices affected Western Australian producers in 2015–16. The 19 per cent increase, up from $88.2 billion in 2015–16, was driven by better than expected iron ore prices, continued strength of the gold sector and growth in LNG volumes.
Mineral sector highlights
Mineral commodities dominate the industry, accounting for 82 per cent, or $86 billion, of the total sales value. Iron ore is by far the most valuable commodity accounting for 74 per cent of mineral sales and 61 per cent of overall sales.
Iron ore recorded sales of $63.7 billion in 2016–17, an increase of 31 per cent. This increase was the result of stronger than expected iron ore prices combined with a six per cent increase in the quantity of iron ore sold, to reach a record 790 million tonnes.
Gold sales broke the 200 tonne mark for the first time since 2000–01 with 205 tonnes (6.6 million ounces) of gold sold in 2016–17. The increase in volumes combined with strong gold prices to deliver a seven per cent increase in the value of the sector from $10.1 billion in 2015–16 to $10.8 billion in 2016–17.
Alumina and bauxite sales accounted for six per cent of mineral value. Sales volumes increased marginally year–on–year, attributable to the increase in bauxite exports, more so than an increase in alumina sales. This meant that the value of the industry increased three per cent to $5.1 billion in 2016–17.
Western Australia's nickel sector continues to struggle amid consistent low prices. A slight reprieve in global nickel prices was seen in the last half of the financial year resulting in a five per cent increase in the overall average annual nickel price to $13,460 per tonne. However, a 10 per cent decline in nickel sales meant that value of the nickel sector decreased six per cent to $2.1 billion in 2016–17.
The remaining minerals sales values comprised:
- Base metal sales of $1.4 billion (down 0.5 per cent)
- Coal sales of $338 million (up 0.6 per cent)
- Cobalt sales totalling $238 million (up 36 per cent)
- Diamond sales of $268 million (down 24 per cent)
- Mineral sands sales of $554 million (up 0.15 per cent)
- Salt sales of $292 million (down 13 per cent)
- Spodumene sales totalling $607 million (up 133 per cent).
Petroleum sector highlights
The petroleum sector, which comprises crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG, accounts for 18 per cent of the total value of mineral and petroleum sales in Western Australia. This makes it the second most valuable sector after iron ore.
As a whole, the sector was valued at $19.1 billion in 2016–17, an increase of five per cent from $18.1 billion in 2015–16.
The volume of LNG produced in Western Australia has increased 45 per cent during the past five years with production reaching a record 28.7 million tonnes in 2016–17. This follows the start–up of the Gorgon LNG project as well as record production from the Woodside–operated North West Shelf and Pluto LNG project.
LNG is Western Australia’s most valuable petroleum product, accounting for 12 per cent of the value of the State’s mineral and petroleum sales in 2016–17. The value of LNG sales value rose from $10.8 billion in 2015–16 to $12.7 billion in 2016–17.
In 2016–17, crude oil volumes were down almost 30 per cent to 5.4 gigalitres, while condensate production decreased 11 per cent to six gigalitres. Based largely on the fall in volumes, the value of crude oil and condensate sales fell for the sixth consecutive year to $4.3 billion, a decrease of 18 per cent.
For an overview of how Western Australia performed against key activity indicators, please see Review of industry activity indicators 2016–17. The review covers employment, investment, exploration and royalty growth for 2016–17.
For more information on Statistics Digest
For more information on the Annual Report