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.
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.
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.