CHART: The Growing Costs And Shrinking Returns Of Mineral Exploration In Australia

Minerals are a finite resource – a basic geological fact underscored by the decline in mining discoveries in Australia.

According to the Minerals Council of Australia, only 43 “significant deposits” were discovered between 2000 and 2010, down from more than 10 a year in the 1980s and 1990s.

The figures appear in a Productivity Commission report today:

According to the report, Australia’s share of the western world’s “giant” discoveries (defined immediately below the chart) fell from around 17 per cent in the 1980s to around 6 per cent in the 1990s as the exploration environment matured.

“This decline has implications for future resource extraction,” the commission reported.

“Based on current levels, nearly half of the larger operating mineral mines — those mines with extraction levels of over one million tonnes per year (18 of 41 mines) — would exhaust their resource deposits by 2025.”

There’s more in the full report, here.

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