WA’s resources sector has achieved record increases in sales and job listings amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The state has seen a record $22 billion increase in mineral and petroleum sales during the 2019-20 financial year.

Iron ore sales hit a record $103 billion, with output increasing alongside an eight-year price peak.

Gold prices crept up this year too, pushing sales to an all-time high of almost $16 billion, at an average price of $2,300 per ounce.

Employment also hit a record, with an average of 135,000 people employed in 2019/20 compared with 128,374 in the previous period.

The WA Government says iron ore and nickel construction activities were behind the employment growth.

Mineral exploration expenditure has risen by 17 per cent to $1.7 billion. Around $19 billion was invested in the state’s resource sector for the 2019-20 financial year.

“Creating jobs is the McGowan Government’s number one priority, so it’s encouraging to see employment continuing to grow in the resources sector,” the state’s Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said.

“These record results underpin the importance and resilience of the resources sector as WA recovers from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is particularly pleasing to see strong growth in exploration expenditure, which has been achieved despite the difficulties caused by the global pandemic.

“Maintaining our support of the state’s mining and petroleum industries is a key part of the McGowan Government’s Recovery Plan to keep WA in a strong economic position.”

The state says it has over $100 billion worth of projects in the pipeline.