• Media Release

Boosting mineral exploration to unlock future prosperity

Mining has been the largest contributor to Australia’s economy prosperity over the last decade – the largest source of GDP growth, the largest source of export revenue and significant source of government revenue with $255 billion generated in company taxes and royalties.

Exploration expenditure data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has confirmed the mining industry is also making significant investments to ensure these contributions continue.

In 2021-22, the mining industry invested $3.9 billion on exploration across Australia to discover and measure the mineral deposits that will support the mines of the future and jobs for thousands of people across the country.

This has included new investment records for commodities essential to modern technologies, including gold ($1.6 billion), copper ($586 million) and other deposits such as lithium and rare earth elements ($364 million).

Demand for mineral and energy commodities set to surge in coming decades as the world transitions to a net-zero economy.

Electric vehicles, renewable energy, battery systems and modern consumer goods are all more minerals intensive than their predecessors and will require a significant increase in mining output around the world.

Recent estimates from the Bank of America show over US$3 trillion of mining investment is needed to supply these minerals, and Australia must act now to maximise its share of this opportunity.

The ABS’ exploration expenditure figures are encouraging, but more must be done for Australia to compete with emerging, low cost mining jurisdictions around the world.

Australia must retain its geoscience technology advantage through ongoing public investment in research and development, and commit to a national program of pre-competitive geological surveys such as Geoscience Australia’s highly successful Exploring for the Future program.

The government should provide competitive regulatory settings on tax, workplace relations, safeguards mechanism and streamlined environmental assessments and approvals with states and the Northern Territory.