CANBERRA, Sept. 18 (Xinhua) -- Australian Minister for Resources and Energy Martin Ferguson said here Tuesday that his department forecast a 2 percent drop year-on-year in revenue from minerals and energy exports to about 190 billion Australian dollars (199.5 billion U.S. dollars) in 2012-2013.
When addressing Australian National Conference on Resources and Energy, Ferguson said the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE) released its Resources and Energy Quarterly for September 2012, which confirms that the phase of high prices associated with the mining boom is over.
"We have seen this moderation in (commodity) prices unfold gradually over the course of the year. BREE reports that spot prices for Australia's key mineral exports of coal and iron ore have dropped substantially in the last two months in particular," Ferguson said.
BREE expected a rebound in some commodity prices in 2013, should global growth pick up as is expected by the International Monetary Fund.
However, Ferguson stressed that the softening of commodity prices is "by no means a death knell for the Australian resources industry." He said with many large investments made in recent years, the country can expect increases in exports to be sustained by the commencement of projects that are still under construction and expansions to existing operations.
"In a final sign of industry confidence, exploration expenditure for Australian minerals and energy was worth 7.1 billion Australian dollars (7.45 billion U.S. dollars) in 2011-12, or 12 percent higher than the 2010-11 level," he said.
He said the governments would act to facilitate ongoing growth and development, especially in providing adequate infrastructure to ensure new projects can proceed as planned.
He called for combined government and industry efforts to remove infrastructure bottlenecks and improve skilled labor development so as to "ensure our cost structures remain competitive and our productivity rises."