While Australia’s earlier history is not noted for its mineral production, mineral exports from Australia have grown to become very important to the world’s needs. This is due to increased mining, which is 2% of the land mass. Exploration for new deposits and raw materials have put Australia among the top of the export markets for minerals.
Geographically, mining for minerals takes place in virtually all Australian states and territories. In Western Australia, Peel, Goldfields and Pilbara are noted mining areas. In New South Wales, Hunter Valley is an active mining site, as is Bowen Basin in Queensland. Latroke Valley in Victoria, and various Outback locations are also very productive.
Mineral exports from Australia keep their economy healthy and well-recognized on the world stage, for needed raw materials. Almost half of the total exports go to China. Most minerals will be refined in other locations for industrial needs and other refined products.
Exported minerals include opal, which ranks at 95% of the world’s production. Australia is the fifth largest producer of copper and silver, fourth largest producer of nickel, and the third largest producer of uranium, which supplies 16% of the world’s need. Australia also has significant black coal deposits, and is the largest exporter. Iron ore export is also significant.
Other mineral exports from Australia include zircon, rutile, ilmenite, tantalum, lead, and industrial diamonds.
Since 2008, mineral exports from Australia have decreased, due to the impact of the recession on the United States and Japan. China has also reduced its imports, but has been involved in purchases of mineral rights and mining in Australia itself, securing long-term sources for China’s future needs. In a poll, 78% of Australian’s object to this kind of investment in Australia’s economy.
Recent mineral exports from Australia have remained flat, in comparison to imports. Today, the majority of exports are to China, Japan, South Korea, the United States and India.
Mineral exports from Australia are expected to increase for materials shipped to India and China. The increase of urban expansion in both countries underpin the need for increasing supply. Demand from developed nations is expected to remain essentially unchanged for 2011/2012.