Australian Minerals Industry
The Australian minerals industry involves the exploration and mining of minerals (including coal) and the associated minerals processing industry. It is one of Australia’s most important industries and provides direct and indirect benefits to all Australians.
The Australian minerals sector ranks among the top five producers of most of the world’s key minerals commodities.
- The world’s leading producer of bauxite, alumina, ilmenite, rutile, zircon, synthetic rutile and tantalum
- The second largest producer of gold, iron ore, lead, uranium, diamonds (by weight) and zinc
- The third largest producer of silver and nickel
- The fourth largest producer of black coal and manganese, and
- The fifth largest producer of aluminium, copper and brown coal
Despite global uncertainties, such as the sovereign debt crisis in Europe, it is anticipated that demand for mineral commodities will grow strongly into 2012. At the end of 2011 there were 102 projects at an advanced stage within the mining sector, with a record capital expenditure of $231.8 billion. This represents an increase of 34 per cent from April 2011 and a 74 per cent increase from October 2010. This growth within the minerals sector has meant more opportunities for workers, with ABS employment data showing an 86 per cent increase in employment within the minerals sector from February to November 2011. Currently, the Australian minerals industry (not including oil and gas) directly employs over 226,000 people and considerably more indirectly.
The minerals industry workforce is now Australia’s fastest growing industry workforce. Current employment within the industry is far exceeding industry projections, as depicted in the graph below.
Given this large, and increasing, employment pool, the industry is committed to its number one goal of zero fatalities and injuries, and has gone from having one of the worst industrial safety records to one of the best of any sector.
These days, the success of any minerals operation, in contributing to Australia’s wealth and prosperity, is measured by its economic efficiency, its effective environmental management and its responsible social development.
The industry considers its future to be inseparable from the global pursuit of sustainable development.
Australian Minerals Industry Fast Facts:
- Current value of exports generated by the minerals industry: $205.8 billion
- Upwards of 20% of national investment and more than 50% of Australia’s exports of goods and services
- Was responsible for 7% of Australia’s GDP in 2011
- Directly employs over 226,000 people
- Is the largest employer of environmental professionals in Australia
- Spent over $184m pa on rehabilitating disturbed land in 2009
Downloads and links:
- Australian Minerals Industry factsheet
- Map of Australian Mines and Mineral Deposits
- Create your own interactive map of Australian mine sites
- Visit the MCA Education Website
More information on current industry policy, health and safety, statistical data, environmental and educational information, is available at the Minerals Council of Australia’s website at www.minerals.org.au