Another strong set of numbers was evident in the March quarter report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.
When seasonally adjusted and compared with the December 2020 quarter, exploration expenditure increased by 13.7% (+$102m) to $843.9m. When compared with the March quarter 2020, there has been an annual increase of $140m or 16.5%. This being despite any disruption to activities caused by COVID.
Compared with the previous quarter, metres drilled rose by 10.6% from 2,949,000 to 3,262,000.
In original terms, exploration expenditure fell compared with the previous quarter by 4.5% (-$34.9m) to $735.1m. The biggest fall of 6.6% (-$34.7m) was on existing deposits and on new deposits just 0.1% (-$0.2m). Gold recorded the largest drop, down by 6.4% (-$24.5m). Also of note is that coal exploration has declined over three consecutive quarters from $87.2m to $50.7m (-42%).
Compared with the previous quarter, metres drilled on new deposits fell by 6.8% from 1,032,000 to 860,000 and on existing deposits from 1,958,000 to 1,926,000.