The Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) has released a report into the state of major development projects in the minerals and energy sector.


The report found that by the end of April, 94 projects across the industry were at ‘an advanced stage of development’ following a record capital expenditure of $173.5 billion, representing a 31% increase from October 2010.


The report found that “The record value of advanced minerals and energy projects reflects, in part, the decision to proceed with the development of the Gladstone LNG project and BHP Billiton, Fortescue Metals and Rio Tinto’s commitment to several coal and iron ore developments over the next three years.”


The report also found ‘broadly similar’ exploration expenditure between October and April, with $5.9 billion being spend in the field.


New capital expenditure has risen to $55.5 billion throughout the industry, recording a 53% increase from the 2009-2010 time period.


Based on industry intentions from the December quarter 2010, Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) survey data indicate capital expenditure in the mining sector in 2011–12 may be around $73.7 billion. In the six months to April 2011, 10 projects with a combined capital cost of $2.8 billion were completed in Australia.


The findings by ABARES come as The Financial Review has found that a total of $90 billion in spending on new projects is expected throughout the industry in the coming financial year.