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Parliamentary Questions

Question Without Notice No. 237 asked in the Legislative Council on 10 April 2018 by Hon Robin Scott

Parliament: 40 Session: 1
Answered on 10 April 2018

GOLD — PROBABLE AND PROVEN RESERVES

237. Hon ROBIN SCOTT to the minister representing the Treasurer:

(1) Is the Treasurer aware of a spreadsheet entitled MINEDEX, which is produced by the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety, showing resource estimates for Western Australian commodities including gold?

(2) Will the Treasurer confirm that the total of Western Australia's probable and proven reserves of gold are listed by MINEDEX as 1 240 398 kilograms in 2010, 921 918 kilograms in 2011, 943 235 kilograms in 2012, 730 188 kilograms in 2013, 634 408 kilograms in 2014, 632 531 kilograms in 2015 and 627 405 kilograms in 2016?

(3) In light of the decline of 49.4 per cent from 2010 to 2016 in the total of Western Australia's probable and proven gold reserves, what action, if any, will the Treasurer take to reverse this decline?

Hon STEPHEN DAWSON replied:

I thank the honourable member for some notice of the question.

(1) Yes.

(2) The numbers read out by the member are from a table within a spreadsheet and are out of context. The spreadsheet indicates, in an explanatory note, that another portion of the spreadsheet provides more accurate figures of the WA gold reserves over time.

(3) Section 2 of the MINEDEX report on total inventory within current reserves shows that WA's gold reserves are significantly higher and have increased from totalling 1 395 tonnes of gold in 2015 to totalling 1 741 tonnes in late 2017 when the report was generated from MINEDEX. The state's reserves of gold have increased further since then and are currently estimated at totalling 1 890 tonnes of gold.

The Western Australian government provides assistance for exploration in WA's mineral resources through access to the world-leading Geoscience Australia data through Geological Survey Western Australia, as well as the exploration incentive scheme. The goldmining industry does not require additional state government support, given it is paying around half of the benchmark rate of return to the people of Western Australia for the finite commodity it mines, whilst gold prices remain at historical highs.