The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has released the March quarter’s Mineral and Petroleum Exploration findings, showing that the sector is continuing to display healthy growth.

The seasonally adjusted estimate of mineral exploration expenditure rose 12.3% (or $118.8m) to $1086.0m in the March quarter 2012. The largest rise this quarter was in Western Australia (up 19.0% or $95.5m) followed by Queensland (up 13.4% or $31.7m).

In original terms, mineral exploration expenditure fell 15.1% (or -$156.3m) to $876.1m in the March quarter 2012. Queensland had the largest fall (down 22.4% or -$57.5m), followed by Western Australia (down 7.9% or -$41.8m).

In original terms, exploration on areas of new deposits fell 23.2% (or -$75.0m), while expenditure on areas of existing deposits fell 11.5% (or -$81.3m).

In original terms, the largest fall by minerals sought came from expenditure on iron ore exploration (down 14.1% or -$43.9m), with the largest fall occurring in Western Australia. The next largest fall came from expenditure on coal exploration (down 18.5% or -$40.2m).

However, petroleum exploration failed to perform during the March quarter, falling 33.6 per cent, or $301 million, to finish at $596 million.  

The Federal Government has released a report which provides detailed information for companies investigating north-eastern South Australia’s resource potential.

A new agreement between Santos, ConocoPhillips and major Korean energy company, SK E&S,  will advance the development of gas discoveries in the Timor Sea. The agreement will see the progression of the development of the Caldita and Barossa gas discoveries.

Curtin University researchers have developed a new process to dehydrate subsea gas that could open up gas fields currently deemed unviable.

The New South Wales Government has announced it will provide $13 million on a cost-recovery basis for improved compliance measures to support the uptake of best practice regulatory regimes for the mining and gas industries in the state.

The New South Wales Government has announced plans to refinance State-owned assets, including Port Kembla, in a bid to fund and expedite priority infrastructure projects.

The Queensland Government has approved the construction of the $1.7 billion Grosvenor Coal Mine after the state granted Anglo American the requisite mining lease.

The South Australian Government has released a new blueprint for managing the state's natural resources.

The Federal Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, and the Queensland Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney, have met for the first time tor resolve their differences over the disputed environmental approval process of the multi-billion dollar Alpha Coal mine.

The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has warned that waning productivity and inflating costs are risking Australia’s unprecedented $921 billion pipeline of major investment in resources, energy and economic infrastructure. New research released by the council shows for the first time just how much capital investment is driving the economy.

The Queensland Government has announced it is seeking feedback from the resources sector on the proposal to harmonise the state’s mine safety legislation with other states.

International petroleum giant Shell has confirmed that it will close its Clyde Refinery from the end of September, following an announcement last July that the refinery would be converted into a dedicated fuel terminal.

The Queensland Government has announced two new rail corridors to service new and existing coal mines in the Galilee and Bowen Basins. The east-west corridor will see an expansion of the existing QR National network near Moranbah to the central Galilee Basin and will provide links to coal ports of Abbot Point, Dalrymple Bay and Dudgeon Point.

A $54.3 million agreement has  been signed between Geoscience Australia, the NSW Minister for Resources and Energy, Chris Hartcher, and the Australian Coal Association to assess potential geological storage opportunities for greenhouse gases in NSW.

The International Energy Agency has released a new report that predicts China will more than double its current demand for natural gas over the next five years, while the world will experience a 2.7 per cent growth in demand per year.

A poll conducted by the Lowy Institute has found that the majority of Australians, 62 per cent, support the move to grant 1,715 skilled migrant visas to the Roy Hill iron ore project. However, the vast majority, 81 per cent, is against direct foreign investment.

The Western Australian Government has announced the appointment of a steering committee to oversee the development of the proposed Pilbara Maritime CUF (PMCUF) in the state’s North-West region.

The Queensland Government has announced it will present a new strategy to put in palce for the Aurukun bauxite leases, with Deputy Premier Jeff Seeny saying it will put the leases back on the market in the near future.

The Northern Territory Government has announced that the Western Desert Resources’ $180 millionRoper Bar Iron Ore project has been awarded major project status.

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