WA’s nickel, iron ore sectors drive record job growth

Article by Nickolas Zakharia courtesy of Australian Mining

Perth, Western Australia’s capital city.

The Western Australian resources sector has achieved record increases in sales and jobs during the 2019-20 financial year despite the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state tallied a record $22 billion increase in mineral and petroleum sales, with iron ore sales reaching a record $103 billion due to increased output and an eight-year price peak.

With gold prices creeping upward this year, sales of the precious metal reached an all-time high of almost $16 billion at an average price of $2300 per ounce.

A spike in resource sector employment was also achieved in the same period, reaching a record average of 135,000 people employed compared with 128,374 in the previous period.

According to the Western Australian Government, iron ore and nickel construction activities were responsible for most of the employment growth.

Mineral exploration expenditure saw a 17 per cent rise to $1.7 billion, with almost $19 billion invested in Western Australia’s resource sector for the 2019-20 financial year.

“Creating jobs is the McGowan Government’s number one priority, so it’s encouraging to see employment continuing to grow in the resources sector,” the state’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said.

“These record results underpin the importance and resilience of the resources sector as WA recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is particularly pleasing to see strong growth in exploration expenditure, which has been achieved despite the difficulties caused by the global pandemic.

“Maintaining our support of the state’s mining and petroleum industries is a key part of the McGowan Government’s Recovery Plan to keep WA in a strong economic position.”

There are over $100 billion worth of projects in the state’s resources sector pipeline.

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