Tuesday 30 August 2022

Mining and energy companies are investing in the future again, spending well over $100 million in mineral exploration across the 2021/22 Financial Year (FY) for the first time since 2013/14.

Recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show significant growth in exploration in South Australia, with $33.7 million spent on mineral deposits in the June quarter, taking the FY total to $122.3 million.

The June expenditure figures were 21% higher than for the same period in 2021, while the FY total was a massive 34% increase from the $91 million the previous year.

Critically, exploration for new minerals including rare earth elements, cobalt, graphite, halloysite and manganese has seen considerable increases indicating a shift to resources and materials for the future energy transition.

These will add to the state’s backbone mineral – copper – the metal which will be in high demand globally for decades to come as the world decarbonises.

Among companies which explored extensively during the quarter, OZ Minerals drilled 6.2km at its Prominent Hill site as it studies future growth prospects.

At Carrapateena, where OZ passed the milestone of 100,000 tonnes of copper mined, seismic surveys were conducted to prepare for exploratory drilling this quarter.

BHP is analysing drilling data from its Oak Dam site, one of the most exciting copper finds in recent years.

While petroleum exploration for the June quarter in South Australia experienced a slight decrease to $15.4 million, it is anticipated to grow in future quarters due to an increased focus and activity in South Australia’s Cooper Basin, with continued capital expenditure on appraisal and development well activity as producers endeavour to bring more petroleum products to market sooner.

The Cooper Basin has seen a steady growth in this activity with an additional rig added in the quarter to help continue to bring more gas to market. About 100 petroleum wells are expected to be drilled in the 2022 calendar year, compared to 54 wells drilled during calendar year 2021.