Economic resources revealed
22 November 2007
Australia continues to lead the world in a number of vital commodities according to the latest information of the country's reserves.
Geoscience Australia's annual review of the commodities industry, Australia's Identified Mineral Resources (AIMR) 2007, shows the country continues to have the largest resources of mineral sands (rutile and zircon), nickel, tantalum, uranium, thorium, zinc and lead.
It also ranks in the top six worldwide for bauxite, black coal, brown coal, copper, gold, iron ore, ilmenite, lithium, manganese ore, niobium, silver and industrial diamond.
As well as information on the world rankings, the review reveals that during 2006 there were increases in the economically viable resources for black coal, copper, gold, iron ore, rutile, zircon, platinum group metals, silver, tin, tungsten and vanadium.
These increases were attributed largely to drilling in known deposits, which resulted in the discovery of new ore bodies, or extension of known deposits.
The improved economic value of many commodities also led to a re-assessment of some resources which had previously been considered uneconomic.
Overall mineral exploration spending in Australia in 2006 rose by 29% to a record $1,463.9 million, reflecting strong growth in prices for many commodities on the back of anticipated strong and growing demand, particularly from China.
Several commodities experienced reductions in the reserves, including bauxite, cobalt, gem and industrial diamond, lead, manganese, nickel, uranium and zinc.
The resources for other commodities assessed, notably brown coal, magnesite, molybdenum, niobium, shale oil and tantalum, remained at levels similar to those for the previous year.
Geoscience Australia's Chief Executive Officer, Neil Williams, says that although the recent figures are encouraging, the ability of Australia's minerals sector to sustain its strong recent growth remains dependent on effective exploration, leading to discovery and development of new ore deposits.
"Successful exploration outcomes rely heavily on continuing updates of pre-competitive geoscience data by government agencies, particularly state-of-the-art geoscientific synthesis and integrated research to reduce the risks associated with identifying exploration targets in prospective frontier regions," Dr Williams said.
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