Qld exploration results continue to defy pandemic

  • Posted 01 June, 2021
  • Media Releases

1 June 2021


Click here for photo of QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane.


Exploration expenditure in Queensland has risen by 24 percent over the past 12 months to reach $708 million since March 2020, the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) said today.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said the latest ABS exploration data released today shows that in spite of the global pandemic, Queensland’s resources sector has continued to surge ahead, particularly in petroleum and minerals.

“The latest data is the first time we’ve been able to look at how the exploration industry has performed over a 12-month period since the onset of COVID, and the news is very good for the Queensland economy and for regional jobs,” he said.

“Annual expenditure on petroleum exploration in Queensland has risen by almost 60 percent since March 2020 to reach $297 million, compared to $188 million for the previous 12-month period.

“Queensland minerals exploration expenditure has also kept increasing throughout COVID, rising by seven percent over the past 12 months to reach $411 million.”

Looking at the performance of individual commodities over the 12 months, copper exploration expenditure is up 13 percent since March last year, gold is up 33 percent and selected base metals and coal are steady.

Mr Macfarlane said while coal exploration expenditure was flat over the period, the good news is that demand for Australian coal is still very strong.

“Queensland Treasury analysis highlights Queensland’s future coal demand will continue to be linked to key economies in North-East and South-East Asia, and demand for our metallurgical coal in particular hinges on the world’s two largest coal consumers, China and India,” he said.

“In Queensland, our coal industry enjoys some key advantages such as our strategic geographic location in the region and the superior quality of our coal compared with global competitors.

“We are well placed to meet this projected increase in demand as long as we have the right policy settings in place.”

The QRC’s exploration arm the Queensland Exploration Council (QEC) Chair Kim Wainwright said Queensland’s exploration industry has shown resilience through what has been a tough year for explorers.

“A year on from the pandemic, this informative expenditure data has proven our explorers are confident Queensland’s prospectivity is strong.

“It’s welcome news to know that the exploration industry is recovering from the challenges of COVID-19,” Ms Wainwright said.


Media contact: Rachel Stewart, 0408130767