Victoria’s strong upward trajectory in minerals exploration and production has been confirmed by the latest Victorian Resource Indicators Report, highlighting the drive by the state’s mines and minerals explorers to support more local jobs and small businesses.
The report notes new minerals exploration spending of $135.8 million in 2019-20 and metres drilled increased to 388,662 in 2019-20.
In the March 2021 quarter, ABS data shows a record $51.5 million was spent on minerals exploration in Victoria.
(pictured ECR Minerals #ECR CEO Craig Brown with MCA Director James Sorahan at Minerals Week 2021)
Victoria produced 792,267 ounces of gold in 2019-20, including from Australia’s third largest and highest-grade gold mine in 2020 at Kirkland Lake’s Fosterville Mine near Bendigo.
The report notes that in 2019 the industry added 23,500 full time indirect jobs across all sectors of the economy and 49 per cent of Victoria’s resources jobs are in rural and regional areas.
While mining has been important in Victoria’s past, modern mining is a critical growth industry with the potential to build more diverse regional economies and create the highly paid, highly skilled full time jobs needed to sustain regional Victorian economies and communities.
A recent MCA Victoria survey of local mines and exploration companies in Central Victoria found that the region’s mines and exploration companies employ almost 1,000 locals directly, paying $115 million in wages and spending $48 million in the last year with 590 local businesses – more than half their total Australian supplier spend.
Victoria’s growing gold mining sector and exploration spending in base metals and mineral sands is employing workers in other regions including Ballarat, Stawell and East Gippsland.
The report identifies that Victoria has 16 major projects in the pipeline with a value range of $3.1 to $6.6 billion.
Exploration and investment in minerals projects is creating a pipeline of new projects in gold, base metals, mineral sands, rare earths and potentially lithium to supply inputs for modern technology in an environmentally sustainable way.
Victoria’s mining industry helps secure the state as a hub for mining equipment, technology and services and Melbourne’s role as a global mining capital.
Victoria has a bright future and an industry committed to supporting more diverse regional economies and local jobs.