... believes projects must be environmentally sound and socially responsible. ... is the nation’s second largest export earner. ... spends over $20 billion each year on goods, services and the community in Australia. ... earned $38.6 billion of export revenue in 2012-13. ... is investing in cutting-edge technologies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from coal mining and use. ... accounts for three quarters of Australia’s grid electricity generation. ... has almost halved its greenhouse gas emissions intensity since 1990. ... employs around 50,000 people directly and more than 135,000 indirectly.


Expenditure on coal exploration totalled $106.4 million in the December quarter 2013, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. This represented a 3% decline from the September quarter 2013 and is more than 53% below the peak reached in September quarter 2011. Total annual nominal expenditure on coal exploration in 2013 was $440.2 million.

Chart 1: Coal’s quarterly mineral exploration expenditure in Australia Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Expenditure on coal exploration represented 19.4% of total exploration expenditure in Australia in the December quarter 2013, higher by more than 2% than the September quarter but lower than its all-time share peak reached in the September quarter 2011 which exceeded 23%. The share of total exploration expenditure spent searching for coal is substantially higher now than in 1990s where it ranged from 3% to 8%.

In Australia black coal occurs in all states, but Queensland (63%) and New South Wales (23%) have the largest share of total identified Economic Demonstrated Resources. Queensland and New South Wales, also account for the largest share of the exploration expenditure on coal. In 2012-13, Queensland accounted for more than 83% of Australia’s exploration expenditure on coal and New South Wales accounted for almost 14% in 2012-13.

Chart 2: Coal’s exploration expenditure by state Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)

Coal exploration expenditure in 2012-13, was $544 million, which is almost 35% below its peak reached in 2011-12 of $834 million, but still is almost 700 % above exploration expenditure in 2002-03.