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Gold exploration fell slightly in the third quarter

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(Kitco News) - Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reported that gold was down in terms of exploration expenditure for the 3rd quarter. Iron ore however made up ground by $23.8 million. Exploration for the yellow metal dropped just $100,000 to $429.7 million over the quarter, but it remained well above the pack.

"Other minerals' recorded the largest rise of $25 million, and iron ore's jump of 15.8 percent to $174.6 million was the second-largest gain of the quarter. Existing deposits received attention worth $636.3 million (up 5.8 percent) and new deposits jumped 11.5 percent to $346.1 million.

In general, Australia's overall mineral exploration increased by 4.5 per cent to $925.9 million for the September quarter, seasonally adjusted, despite metres drilled falling for the first quarter since June 2020. In terms of state by state, Western Australia led the way with a new quarterly record of $596.1 million splashed on exploration, while Queensland placed second with $114.7 million.

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Queensland Resources Council (QRC) chief executive Ian Macfarlane said "The exploration expenditure data is up 5 percent higher than the previous 12 months and 40 percent higher than the same period two years ago, so it's another strong result for Queensland,"

He added, "These latest figures show our explorers have managed to continue to expand their exploration programs in spite of COVID-19's impact on the availability to recruit skilled workers and source equipment from overseas and interstate."

Western Australia's figures could be partially attributed to the Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS) which the State Government increased by $2.5 million in August to a total of $12.5 million.

Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia chief executive Paul Everingham said exploration is key to the success of the state's mining and resources sector. "Projects around the state, which provide jobs for hundreds of thousands of Western Australians and so many communities and economic benefits, all have to start somewhere – and that start is often exploration," he said.

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