New data from the WA Government shows mining investment in the west surged to record levels in 2011-12, with a range of resources attracting billions in new spending.

In a statement yesterday WA Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore said exploration expenditure increased to a new record of $2.1 billion in 2011-12, a 32 per cent increase on the previous year.

A total $5.3 billion was also paid in royalties to the WA Government in 2011-12.

Iron ore remained the state’s most valuable commodity, raking in $61.1 billion in sales, with petroleum delivering $23.8 billion and gold $9.3 billion.

In a sign of just how important the state’s resources industry is to the economy, mineral and petroleum exports accounted for 91 per cent of WA’s merchandise export earnings, and 46 per cent of national export earnings.

Moore said the $82 billion spent in WA represented 55 per cent of Australia’s total mining investment, with the state hosting 65 operational oil and gas fields and 975 operating mines producing over 50 different minerals.

 Andrew Duffy