Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that more than $675m was invested into the region’s exploration sector in 2020

Queensland exploration investments

Australia is the world’s biggest exporter of the mineral – with exports amassing $70bn Australian dollars ($54bn) in the 2019 fiscal year (Credit: Flickr/Beyond Coal & Gas Image Library)

Queensland is the “place to be” for exploration investments, claims the state’s resources minister.

This comes as the latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) on Mineral and Petroleum Exploration show that more than $675m was invested into the region’s exploration sector in 2020.

Minister Scott Stewart said the figures indicate that Queensland’s resources sector is “bouncing back stronger” in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of all of Queensland’s health response to COVID-19, it means investors are backing our resources sector, which has shown how important it is to the state’s economic recovery,” he added.

“During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Palaszczuk Government made a concerted effort to back our explorers through a number of grants and land rent waivers. Our government is backing exploration because we know that more investment in exploration leads to more projects and more jobs for Queenslanders.

“This latest data shows that Queensland is the place to be for explorers and it will drive the economy as we recover from the COVID-19 global pandemic.”


Minerals and coal received the largest exploration investments in Queensland last year

The ABS data shows that more than $267m was invested in petroleum and gas exploration across 2020 – marking a 31% increase on 2019.

Money spent on exploration for minerals and coal was up 15% last year to more than $407m.

In the resources sector, gold received one of the largest boosts in exploration investment – up 30% on 2019 with $91m invested, while copper was up 11.5% at $73m.

Coal exploration was up 19% on the previous year with $209m, while expenditure on exploration for silver, lead and zinc was up 8% to $7.9m invested in 2020.

Minister Stewart said he hoped to see exploration investment continue its upward trend in 2021 and beyond.

“In the latest budget, our government has invested more than $29m in exploration grants, initiatives and COVID-19 support for explorers and miners over the next few years,” he added.

“Our budget boost for exploration will help drive future resource projects in our state and the thousands of jobs that will flow from them.”

Queensland’s resources sector currently supports more than 68,000 jobs across the state and represents $49bn in exports.

Since the Palaszczuk government came into power in 2015, it claims $21bn has been invested in or committed to resources projects, creating up to 8000 jobs along the way.