CANBERRA, May 28 (Xinhua) -- With 21 projects worth a combined 25.6 billion AU dollars (23.7 billion U.S. dollars) completed over the past six months, Australia's mining sector is continuing to shift from investment boom to the production phase, according to a new report released on Wednesday.
As at April, there were 48 projects at the Committed Stage with a combined value of 229 billion (212 billion U.S. dollars) compared with 63 projects with a combined value of 240 billion ( 222 billion U.S. dollars) six months earlier.
The completed projects contributed to this decline, but was partially offset by the approval of the 10.7 billion (9.9 billion U.S. dollar) Roy Hill iron ore project, said The Resources and Energy Major Projects--April 2014 report, released by the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics (BREE).
Following an unparalleled expansion in resources and energy investment where the annual capital expenditure of the sector increased from 20 percent to 60 percent of Australia's total private sector capital, investment in the sector is entering a downturn.
"While the investment cycle has peaked, Australia is now moving into a period of significant increases in the production of resources and energy commodities," said Wayne Calder, deputy executive director of BREE.
"In the past year alone, there have been large increases in production capacity including 215 million tones of iron ore, 43 million tones of coal and more than 1,100 petajoules of gas," Calder added.
Forward projections indicate that investment in the resources and energy sectors is likely to exhibit some weakness in the short term. However, there remains an opportunity to sustain higher levels of investment should projects at earlier stages of development proceed through the pipeline, BREE said.
Minister for Industry Ian Macfarlane said report made clear that Australia's resources sector was moving into a new phase of sustained output and production, following the peak of the current resources investment cycle.
"Over recent years Australians have benefited from the jobs and growth flowing from high levels of investment in the resources sector," Macfarlane said.
"The resources sector will continue to drive our economy through this new phase, but it's essential that we don't become complacent."
He said the production phase will last for decades, delivering sustained and substantial economic benefits for Australian workers and local communities, as well as boosting national revenue.
Macfarlane vowed that the government will continue to provide " a policy environment that encourages resources investment and confidence."
The Coalition government has been pushing for the abolition of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax and the carbon tax, saying the scrapping of the taxes will contribute to Australia's international competitiveness and enhance the country's ongoing attractiveness as an investment destination.