An image of iron ore Country in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

The Western Australian Department of Energy, Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety (DEMIRS) has released its annual data for the state’s mining and resources sector.

DEMIRS said that Western Australia’s resources sector delivered record full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in 2023 and achieved sales of $246 billion.

The data revealed an annual increase of more than 12,000 positions, with 130,165 FTE jobs in the sector in 2023.

DEMIRS said that strong levels of mining and construction activity across the state drove the job growth in 2023.

Iron ore produced $139 billion of sales on production of 860Mt, which is a $13 billion increase on 2022 and the second highest level of production for a single calendar or financial year.

DEMIRS also said that gold sales were valued at an all-time high of $20 billion on the back of the highest gold prices ever recorded, with the industry taking back its position from lithium as the state’s second most valuable mineral after iron ore.

The data showed that growth in iron ore and gold sales were offset by the performance of several other commodities amid weaker market conditions and prices relative to previous highs, including liquified natural gas, lithium, crude oil, nickel and condensate.

Western Australia’s mineral exploration expenditure reached $2.6 billion in 2023. DEMIRS said that this result reflects, in part, ongoing efforts to discover new minerals, as well as the impact of rising costs, particularly for labour, equipment and fuel, within the exploration sector.

More than $31 billion was invested in Western Australia’s mining and petroleum sector across 2023, which continues the upward trend in investment since mid-2019.

Image credit: Edward Haylan/Shutterstock.com.

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