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Metal mining industry in Australia - statistics & facts

Australia’s global standing in the metal mining industry is undisputable. Since the first gold rush in the mid-1800s, the country has capitalized on its diverse natural resources to create an economy from metal mining. The industry’s contribution to the GDP has historically been high, with an income from metal ore mining in the billions. Additionally, thousands of people are employed in metal mining either directly or indirectly across the country. Australia also plays a crucial role in the worldwide trade of metals. From everyday ores such as iron, to precious metals such as gold and silver, the country continues to solidify its presence on the global metal marketplace.

Australia’s metal mining diversity

While the first gold rushes may have directed Australia’s international recognition for mining, lead was the first metal mined in the country. Even to this day, the country is one of the biggest exporters of lead in the world. Along with this, Australia is a global leader in the production of bauxite, iron ore, lithium, gold, silver, and copper. Minerals and metal ores are mined across the entire country with Australia often ranked among the leading countries in terms of metal reserves. The largest deposits of iron ore and gold are located in Western Australia. Bauxite is mined in Western Australia, Queensland, Tasmania, and the Northern Territory. Bauxite is used to produce aluminum as well as in the chemical, cement, steel, and petrol industry. Aside from metal production, Australia is also a leading player in the metal trade market. Although iron ore is currently Australia’s largest metal export, the value of other metal exports is also high. The export of lithium from Australia is currently valued at over one billion Australian dollars.

The future of metal mining

Australia’s mining industry has had its fair share of criticism from environmentalists and climate change activists. While the emissions and environmental degradation that can result from mining are undeniable, many of the metals mined are in fact critical for green technology. Lithium, for example, is used in lithium-ion batteries of electric vehicles and demand is expected to soar in the coming years. Solar panels and wind turbines, both renewable sources of energy, also require rare earth metals such as titanium, nickel, and cobalt. Australia’s production of these metals may place the country in an advantageous position in the future.

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Metal mining industry in Australia

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