b'Canberra observedCanberra observedDavid Denham AM Associate Editor for Governmentdenham1@iinet.net.auMore exploration for both minerals and petroleum in 2018MineralsInvestment in mineral exploration continues to increase, according to theFigure 1.Quarterly investment in mineral and petroleum exploration from 2005 through 2018, adjusted Mineral and Petroleum Exploration dataA$ in December 2018. The pale-yellow plot represents onshore exploration investment.for the final quarter of 2018, released on 4 March 2019 by the Australian BureauPetroleum companies interested in conducting of Statistics (http://www.abs.gov.au/ exploration for greenhouse gas (GHG) Ausstats/abs@.nsf/glossary/8412.0). It looks as though the investment instorage in Australias offshore areas The trend-estimate for total mineralpetroleum exploration is starting to(https://www.industry.gov.au/news-exploration expenditure for Australiarecover, with the trend estimate risingmedia/greenhouse-gas-acreage-release-increased 0.4% ($2.2m) to $554.4m inby 11.1% ($35.6m) to $356.4m in theindications-of-interest-open).the December quarter 2018. This is 15%December quarter 2018. Expenditure on higher than the December quarter 2017production leases rose 31.3% ($28.6m)GHG acreage releases are held on estimate. It is now at similar levels toand expenditure on all other areas rosean occasional basis, where there is what it was in the December quarter1.6% ($3.6m). Figure 1 shows the actualenough industry demand. The last 2006, and although well below the peakexpenditure for onshore and the totalGHG acreage release in 2014 resulted of $1163m in the June 2012 quarter($352m) expenditure for both on andin 3 GHG assessment permits being (see Figure 1) the steady upward trendoff shore activities. Both sectors areawarded to the Victorian Government since the 2016 March quarter has beenincreasing, and the onshore componentin the Gippsland Basin. These are maintained. is now worth about 60% of the offshoreshown in Figure 2. VIC-GIP 001 was amount. Western Australia still dominatesawarded to the Victorian Government Western Australia with a $346mwith $202m (57% of the total) spent inin 2012. This permit is by far the investment in the December 2018that state, followed by Queensland atlargest and covers 4,400 km2 off the quarter, continues to dominate with$64m. Gippsland coast.60% of the Australian total. Gold is stillHopefully, the upward trends willThe Australian Government, along with the favoured commodity, with a recordcontinue, because we urgently need tostate and territory governments, are $243 million invested. This is 42% of thefind more petroleum in Australia. investigating several GHG storage sites, total invested in the December quartershown in Table 1.of $583m. Gold is followed by copper at $82m, iron ore at $76m and coal at $50m. Government encouragesGovernments main roles are to:greenhouse gas storageWithout the investment in gold provide companies the opportunity to exploration, the minerals explorationThe Government announced, in Februaryapply for assessment permits, holding sector could be in trouble. 2019, that it would like to hear fromleases and injection licences,25 PREVIEW APRIL 2019'