Industry spending on mineral exploration is at a five-year peak according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), with 3.6 percent growth to $561.4 Million in the September quarter.  That's up 25.7 percent year on year.

Western Australia led the growth, contributing a 4.7 percent increase.  The mineral the industry is looking for is gold, increasing exploration budgets by 8.5 percent, or $18.8 Million.

And the mining industry wants to break new ground:  While spending on exploration of current deposits actually fell by 2 percent, the ABS reporting a rise of 13 percent in exploration of new deposits.  That's $25.7 Million poured into looking for new sources of gold.

The ABS figures also show that Queensland, Western Australia, and South Australia all saw a rise in drilling expenditure.  But New South Wales, Tasmania, and Victoria saw declines in drilling expenditure.