Australia is home to the richest deposits of a wide range of minerals such as iron ore, coal, gold, nickel, uranium, bauxite, phosphates, mineral sands, petroleum, and natural gas. Mining and mining-related activities contribute 4.1% of the country’s gross domestic product. Mining is not only the hottest industrial activity but also the oldest in Australia. The mining industry had grown in strength since the days of the gold rush in the 19th century.
Australia economic resource
Geoscience Australia, an Australian government organization, claims that Australia contained the world’s largest reserves of zinc (18% of the world’s proven economic resources), lead (33%), nickel (37%), rutile ( 39%), zircon (41%), tantalum (95%) and uranium (40%). Bauxite (25%), black coal (5%), lignite (24%), copper (9%), gold (13%), iron ore (9%), ilmenite (20%), manganese ore (11 %)), Silver (15%) and industrial diamonds (10%) are among the top six in the world.
Mineral resources also play an essential role in the country’s international trade, with mineral exports worth around $ 71 billion in 2006/07. The exponential increase in mineral exports is attributed to the increasing growth of Asian economies, especially China. Australia’s geographic location and proximity to Asia significantly reduce transportation costs, a factor that strongly influences cost-conscious Asian customers. Coal, copper, and iron ore account for the largest share of mineral exports to Asia.
Mineral exploration is an ongoing activity that is essential for the continued discovery of mineral resources to meet growing global demand. Over five years, Geoscience Australia spent $ 58 million to conduct significant investigations into the development of hydrocarbons and energetic minerals off the Australian coast. Geoscience estimates mineral exploration spending at $ 1.46 billion in 2006, a record increase of 29%. Gold and zinc exploration took 29% of the spending pie. Base metal exploration spending more than doubled, while copper, coal, and uranium exploration spending rose 68%, 24%, and 103%, respectively. Approximately 66% of mineral exploration spending has been spent on confirming the presence of a potential mineral and identifying and defining its nature.
Australia’s mining industry
Australia’s mining industry is not focused on ruthless exploitation of natural resources, but on sustainable development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. The mining industry’s efforts comply with the guidelines of the International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) and the Australian Minerals Industry Code for Environmental Management. Advanced technology, advanced machinery, and skilled workers ensure that mining is carried out in a social, economic, and ecological manner.