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Australian Mining, Energy Projects Increase to Record

The value of minerals and energy projects being developed in Australia rose 21 percent in the past six months to a record, boosted by liquefied natural gas and iron ore investments, the nation’s commodity forecaster said.

The value of projects was A$132.9 billion ($130.3 billion) at Oct. 31, the Canberra-based Australian Bureau of Agricultural & Resource Economics-Bureau of Rural Sciences said today in a statement on its website. That compared with A$109.6 billion at the end of April, according to the previous report.

“The increase in planned capital expenditure reflects expectations of growing demand for mineral and energy commodities in the medium and long term,” bureau Deputy Executive Director Paul Morris said in the statement.

Australia, the world’s largest shipper of coal and iron ore, in September forecast record commodity export sales this fiscal year amid rising demand. BG Group Plc, Chevron Corp., Royal Dutch Shell Plc and ConocoPhillips are among energy companies investing in LNG projects in the country to tap Asian demand for cleaner-burning fuel to curb emissions.

The rise in planned investment partly reflected a decision by BG Group to proceed with the Queensland Curtis Island LNG project and Rio Tinto Group’s commitment to expand iron ore export capacity by 60 million metric tons over the next three years, Morris said.

The total investment value covers 72 advanced projects, under construction or committed, according to the bureau. Energy projects account for almost 70 percent of the estimated capital cost and iron ore projects 13 percent, the report said.

Projects in Western Australia state accounted for about 70 percent of the capital expenditure and developments in Queensland 21 percent, the bureau said.

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