Western Australia's Department of Mines and Petroleum says a drop in the number of applications to explore for minerals is reflective of shaky global market conditions.
The department processed just over 1,000 applications to conduct mining activity or lease land, in the December 2011 quarter.
That is an increase of 21 per cent on the previous quarter.
But, the number of people actually applying to prospect or explore for minerals dropped by almost 200.
The department says there were 472 applications compared to 653 in the previous quarter.
It says WA's high operating costs could also be to blame.
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