New record for WA resources sector

WA's resources sector reached a new record value of $113.8 billion during 2013, breaking the previous record of $108 billion set in 2011.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion said the State's new record was an increase of more than $11 billion or 15 per cent compared to 2012.

"The depreciation of the Australian dollar in 2013 has been a key factor in boosting the value of WA's mineral and petroleum exports with the weaker Australian dollar helping to counter the fall in commodity prices during the year," Mr Marmion said.

"The value of sales was also assisted by increases in some of the volumes of commodities sold."

Iron ore continues to be the State's most valuable export, accounting for $68 billion (76 per cent) of the mineral sector's total sales, with continuing strong demand increasing the quantity sold in 2013 by 16 per cent to 556 million tonnes.

Mr Marmion said gold was the second most valuable mineral commodity, with total sales of $8.7 billion, representing 10 per cent of total mineral sales.

"Together, iron ore and gold accounted for more than $76 billion (or 86 per cent) of all mineral sales in 2013," he said.

"Strong demand from China, meant the iron ore sector achieved a record 556 million tonnes in exports, an increase of 16 per cent over the previous calendar year.

"However, despite increased output of almost three per cent, the average gold price was down by 16 per cent which contributed to a decrease of seven per cent in the sales value on the previous year."

Alumina and nickel maintained long-held positions as WA's third and fourth most valuable sectors respectively with total nickel sales valued at $3.4 billion, representing a 10 per cent decrease. In contrast the total value of alumina increased by nearly 13 per cent to $4.1 billion.

Valued at a record $24.7 billion in 2013, WA's petroleum sector is the State's second most valuable after iron ore.

"Petroleum, which includes crude oil, condensate, LNG, natural gas and LPG (butane and propane), represented only a slight sales value increase of one per cent compared on the previous year, which was due to Pluto LNG coming on stream and countering falls in the sales volumes and total values of crude oil and LPG," Mr Marmion said.

The overall value of base metals (copper, lead and zinc) increased by 16 per cent to $1.7 billion in 2013 and the other category of vanadium, rare earths, manganese and industrial minerals, reached a total sales value of $1 billion for the period.

Mr Marmion said this was further evidence that the resources sector was the backbone of the West Australian economy and was good indication of how strongly the industry was going.

Statistics on the value of WA's mineral and petroleum sales are prepared biannually by the Department of Mines and Petroleum.

The West Australian

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