SYDNEY Nov 18 Spending on resource projects in
Australia rose 40 percent to A$112 billion ($104 billion) over
the last six months, helped by development of a big offshore
gas field and growing global demand for minerals, government
data released on Wednesday showed.
Higher prices for everything from copper to zinc to iron
ore was encouraging miners and oil companies to dig deeper and
faster to recapture markets lost during last year's global
financial crisis, according to the Australian Bureau of
Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Energy-related projects under development overall account
for around 72 percent, or A$81.1 billion, of the outlay,
followed by iron ore mines with 15 percent or A$16.8 billion,
the bureau said in a six-monthly report.
"The increase in planned capital expenditure reflects
expectations of growing demand for minerals and energy
commodities in the medium term," ABARE Deputy Executive
Director Terry Sheales said in a statement.
Zinc prices MZN3 and copper prices MCU3 have doubled
since January. RBC Capital Markets this week forecast a 20
percent rise in iron ore prices next year, reversing a 33
percent decrease this year.
Spending is spread across 74 advanced projects, defined as
being under construction or committed, of which 38 are energy
projects, 31 are minerals projects and five are mineral
The increase in large part is due to the $43 billion price
tag placed by partners Chevron (CVX.N), Shell (RDSa.L) and
ExxonMobil (XOM.N) to develop the Gorgon gas field off
Australia's western coast to supply Asia with liquified natural
Chevron has said the A$43 billion will cover the first 15
million tonne per year phase and that a decision would be made
within a year whether to add two further production units,
which would add to the cost.
Chevron owns 50 percent of the project. Shell and
ExxonMobil each hold 25 percent.
($1=1.074 Australian dollar)