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New figures released by the Western Australian government show that the state’s mineral and petroleum sector is very much alive and well, with the industry enjoying a record-breaking year in 2013.
Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Marmion recently announced that the sector was valued at $113.8 billion last year, representing growth of over $11 billion – or 15 per cent – from 2012. The previous record was set in 2011, when the sector was valued at $108 billion.
According to Mr Marmion, much of the growth can be attributed to fluctuations in the national currency over the past year.
“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,” he explained.
“The value of sales was also assisted by increases in some of the volumes of commodities sold.”
So what were some of the most valued commodities that helped drive this growth?
Mr Marmion revealed that iron ore remains Western Australia’s most crucial export, making up three-quarters ($68 billion) of all mineral sales. A total of 556 million tonnes of iron ore was shipped from Down Under last year, an increase of 16 per cent from 2012.
Gold followed close behind as the second most valuable commodity, with sales totalling $8.7 billion last year. This meant it accounted for 10 per cent of the country’s total mineral sales.
Alumina and nickel continue to be strong export commodities as well, maintaining their respective places of third and fourth in the list of Western Australia’s most valuable exports.
With demand from key overseas markets such as China remaining strong, the sector could be set for even further growth, paving the way for more mining engineering jobs.