South Australia has recorded its highest private spend on mineral exploration in almost a decade, according to recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Seasonally adjusted data released earlier this month showed that private mineral exploration in South Australia reached $38.4 million in the September quarter – a 9.7 per cent rise ($3.4 million) from the previous quarter, and the highest since June 2013.

A total of $136.8 million was spent in the 12 months up to September 2022, smashing the previous 12 months’ private mineral exploration spend by $40 million.

The state is recording broad growth in exploration figures, including advanced-stage copper exploration at Oak Dam and exploration programs for rare earth elements, graphite, iron ore, mineral sands (zircon) and gold.

South Australia Energy and Mining Minister, Tom Koutsantonis, said, “It is crucial that we debunk the myth that suggests more renewables will mean the end of mining. Nothing could be further from the truth – low carbon economies are built on critical materials.

“The Bank of America, in a global research report, estimates investment of US$150 billion a year is needed in global mining to produce the critical minerals needed to transition to net zero. Mineral exploration in our state is crucial to ensure South Australia secures its share of this private investment.

“Our resource inventory gives us the opportunity to add diversity to South Australia’s economy and, through growing our exports, assist other countries in their transition to low carbon economies and to meet their Paris treaty obligations.”

South Australia’s resource inventory includes critical minerals that are increasingly in demand to support the global transition to a decarbonised future. One such critical mineral is copper.

ABS export figures also released this month show that refined copper and copper product exports recorded a 17 per cent growth ($300 million) in the 12 months to October 2022 compared with the previous 12 months.

This growth was just part of the economic boost seen over the 12 months to October 2022.

South Australia’s overseas goods exports reached a new record – $16.0 billion, up 23 per cent ($3.0 billion) compared with the previous 12 months.

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