Report Reveals 2011, A Record Year for Mining Investments

Australian miners have sustained their investment expenditures on mining projects in the current year, according to the latest report issued by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).

As of October 2011, the BREE report showed that the mining industry has attracted a total of $232 billion, many of which have been labeled as projects that are either committed or underway.

The latest figures, according to the BREE report, pointed to an increase of at least 70 percent more investment as compared to what the sector has achieved in the previous year, or more than 35 percent from investments that poured since April.

According to BREE resources manager Alan Copeland, 93 percent of the more than a hundred new mining projects were mainly comprised of oil, gas, coal and iron ore explorations.

"This level of investment reflects the industry's confidence for the long-term viability of minerals and energy exports," Copeland was reported by The Herald Sun as saying on Wednesday.

In mineral exploration projects alone, the BREE research figures have indicated that the mining firms spent $6.2 billion as of the third quarter of 2011, which the report noted represents a double-jump from the normal level during the past three decades.

The report came out as giant miners such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto warned this week of softening market prices for Australia's commodity exports.

"Although uncertainty surrounds the outlook for future commodity prices, exploration expenditure is likely to remain high, provided resource prices remain high," the BREE report said.

At present, miners have increased their capital expenditures that led to the establishment of 20 black coal mines, 13 iron ore mines and 17 oil and gas fields, with the BREE report not ruling out the likelihood of more investments before the year ends.

Basing on the figures furnished by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), miners posted CAPEX of up to $80 billion in the current financial year, a jump of 58 percent from the $51 billion worth of CAPEX recorded in the previous financial year.

In terms of total capital expenditures for the past three quarters, the BREE report said that gold exploration leads the way with a total of $652 million investment while petroleum exploration suffered declines of eight percent.

Also, coal exploration attracted $520 million of investments in the period while copper projects convinced investors to pour $323 million, with uranium mining posting investments of $214 million as of the last quarter.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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