Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal, iron ore, bauxite, alumina and many other resources. The production of those resources by far exceeded domestic consumption. For example, the production of coal in Australia reached over 300 million metric tons of oil equivalent in 2018, while only around 44 million metric tons of oil equivalent had been consumed in the country in the same year. The gross value added from coal mining reached almost 40 billion Australian dollars in the same year. A similar pattern can be observed in the production of aluminum.
In terms of metal mining, Australia’s many gold rushes have had a long-lasting impact on the country itself. Rapid growth in the population can be attributed to immigrants moving to the country for gold rush opportunities. Further development of industry and infrastructure was made possible following the gold rushes. Today, Australia is estimated to have the largest gold mine reserves in the world. Australia is also a global leader in the mining of lithium, the demand for which is growing rapidly on a global scale.
Australia’s mining market is diverse, and accordingly, so are its mining companies. BHP and Rio Tinto, both Anglo-Australian multinational mining companies, are two of the biggest names worldwide. Evolution Mining and Newcrest Mining are also significant mining companies in Australia. Most of these companies have been affected in some way by the current economic downturn. While the demand for Australian iron-ore has increased, mainly from China, both thermal coal and coking coal prices were below industry estimates in the same period. The outlook for the mining industry remains uncertain and is highly fragmented.