Still “record high levels” of investment in mining and energy

MINING investment has hit its long-predicted peak, reaching a funding plateau of $268.billion for 73 major projects in Australia's resources industry.

The latest Resources and Energy Major Projects April report from the Federal Government's top mining boffins - the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics - found that of these 73, 40 were mines, 18 were gas or petrol projects and 15 were infrastructure.

The number fell from 84 in just three months, as 21 massive developments ended their journey through the planning and construction pipeline to start operating.

BREE executive director Quentin Grafton said there was still "record high levels" of investment in Australia's mining and energy fields.

"Mega projects valued at over $5.billion account for around 80% of the $268.billion in committed investment," he said.

The number of "committed" projects - those almost certain to be developed - was slumping with planning or investment delayed while developments were in their infancy.

BREE suggested $150.billion of major projects have been delayed or cancelled since this time last year.

Complaints from industry on how expensive it was to build these projects is borne out of figures showing 11%, or $30.billion, of total investment was spent to cover increasing costs.

BREE has also put together forecasts for the first time which aim to work out how likely projects were to go ahead.

It found the number of confirmed projects would peak then fall away for five years as the flow of investment fails to replace current spending.

"While BREE projects a likely decline in the stock of (investment), there remain opportunities for Australia to generate a higher level of committed investment," Professor Grafton said.

Whether that happens will depend on whether projects deemed "possible" by BREE are able to have their status upgraded to "committed".

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