Between 2022 and 2023, Western Australia’s resources sector generated an unprecedented profit of $254 billion and contributed to the growth of jobs for six years in a row.
Data from the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety has revealed resources sales increased by $20 billion during 2021 to 2022, smashing the previous record of $251 billion set in the 2022 calendar year.
The sector also broke employment records with more than 126,480 full time workers in WA.
Iron ore continued its dominant position with historically high sales of $125 billion, supported by record production of 861 million tonnes.
Lithium (spodumene concentrate) achieved all-time high sales of $21 billion on the back of record prices and expanding production, making it WA’s second most valuable mineral.
WA Premier Roger Cook said every Western Australian can be proud of the success of its resources sector, and the massive contribution it makes to the national economy.
“As the world moves to a low-carbon future, we’re positioning WA as a renewable energy powerhouse — and our record lithium sales show we’re on the right track,” said Cook.
Strengths of the resources sector included:
- Gold — a record $18.6 billion
- Nickel — $5.7 billion, among the highest levels in the past 15 years
- Salt sales — a record $714 million
The value of other major commodities remained steady, including condensate ($8.6 billion), alumina ($6.7 billion), and mineral sands ($1.4 billion).
Investors poured more than $27 billion into mining and petroleum projects, the highest level of investments since 2016.
Mineral exploration expenditure in WA was valued at $2.5 billion, a new financial year high. Gold, iron ore and critical minerals were all popular targets.
WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Bill Johnston said: “WA’s resources sector continues to underpin our state’s success as one of the fastest growing developed economies over the past 20 years.
“It’s especially pleasing to see that investors continue to view WA as a stable, reliable and forward-looking business partner.”
Johnston continued on, stating that Australia’s world-class resources sector has an estimated $55 billion worth of projects either under construction or committed in WA.
CME Chief Executive Rebecca Tomkinson said: “Western Australia is in a unique position. We have the critical minerals and resources the world is demanding, plus the capacity to ensure the recovery, processing and supply of those minerals is sustainable and ethical.
“However, as outlined in our recent 2024-25 State Pre-Budget Submission, it is vital we get the policy and fiscal settings right or we could easily see continued deceleration of our project development pipeline. Competitive costs, efficient and non-duplicative regulatory approvals processes, project ready land and access to low emission, reliable and cost-competitive energy will be critical.”