Skip to main content

Australia's mining industry

Australia's mining industry

Australia plays a leading role in mining on a global platform and is continually recognised for its strong and ever-growing industry.

The Australian mining industry amounts to 75% of the country’s exports, contributes significantly to Australia’s workforce and is a leading influence on Australia’s standard of living, rising incomes and flourishing economy.

Australian mining industry highlights

Employed in the resources workforce

Average annual earnings

Total net worth of resources exports

Mining locations in Australia

Did you know Australia is one of the world’s biggest untapped minerals markets with close to 80% of the country yet to be explored? Australia has discovered first class mineral deposits in Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland, but there are more regions to explore. As we continue to grow as a world class sector, Australia’s opportunity to be a more significant player on the global stage starts with mineral exploration.

Mining in Western Australia

Western Australia (WA) is the epicentre of Australian mining and a major player in the international mining industry. It hosts a huge amount of high-grade resources and some of the largest mines in the country.

WA is the world’s largest iron ore supplier, with multiple iron ore projects, especially in the Pilbara region in the north of the state.

New mineral exploration is constantly underway in WA with a new spotlight on lithium and vanadium to meet with the growing demand of green energy alternatives and new battery technologies.

Fast facts:

  • WA is ranked by the Fraser Institute as the top region in the world for mining investment.
  • The state hosts 98 per cent of Australia's iron ore.
  • Approximately 60 per cent of Australia’s gold reserves can be found in WA.
  • The sector directly employs more than 20,000 people.

Mining in South Australia

South Australia (SA) exports many important commodities to the world including copper, uranium and zircon. The state is ranked as one of the most attractive regions globally for mining investment.

Fast facts:

  • BHP’s Olympic Dam is Australia’s largest mine and the world’s largest single deposit of uranium.
  • Iluka’s Jacinth-Ambrosia in SA is the largest zircon mine in the world.
  • SA hosts 25% of Australia's gold resources.
  • The resources industry directly employs more than 10,000 people.


Mining in Queensland

Queensland (QLD) is a major mining state, with many of Australia’s coal mines located in the Bowen Basin. QLD is also the world’s largest supplier of silver.  

Growing demand in the state has led to new exploration and projects found in the north west and east with a focus on creating jobs for the future. The QLD mining sector is well-poised to be an important player in strategic and critical minerals, including those used in new technologies such as electric vehicles.

Fast facts:

  • The mining sector provides more than 50,000 jobs for QLD.
  • In 2018-19, mining contributed nearly $75 billion to the state economy.
  • Despite its huge contribution, the sector takes up only 0.1% of QLD's land surface area.
  • QLD hosts some of the highest grade graphite in the world, as well as the world’s highest grade rhenium deposit.

Mining in Victoria

Victoria (VIC) has played a huge part in Australian mining history and is still providing exciting potential for mineral exploration today. VIC is known for producing gold, antimony and brown coal.

VIC is home to large mining companies including an innovative mining equipment and technology sector (METS).

Fast facts:

  • Mining contributes more than $13 billion to the state’s economy and creates 121,000 jobs.
  • In 1851, gold was discovered in Ballarat, starting the gold rush that made Melbourne one of the richest cities in the world.
  • Melbourne-based firms accounted for 65% of the Australian Stock Exchange 100 (ASX100) mining stock in 2018.

Mining in New South Wales

New South Wales (NSW) is rich in minerals such as coal, gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc, cobalt and lithium. Major coal deposits are found in the Sydney-Gunnedah Basin. The Cowal open pit gold mine in the Central Western Plains region is the biggest mine in NSW.

NSW has many projects in the pipeline that, once underway, will significantly boost the state’s economic and employment performance.

Fast facts:

  • Mining in NSW offers 40,000 jobs across the state.
  • Mining provides almost $2 billion worth of royalties to the state government.
  • Newcastle exports 160 million tonnes of coking coal per year and is the world’s largest coal export port.

Mining in Tasmania

Tasmania (TAS) has been a significant mineral producer for over a century and boosts strong geological diversity. TAS hosts iron, copper, lead, zinc, tin, high-grade silica and tungsten.

The main three mining operations in TAS are Rosebery, Savage River and the Renison Joint Venture.

Fast facts:

  • In 2016-17, the resources sector produced $1.8 billion worth of value to the state.
  • The Renison mine on the West Coast of TAS is Australia’s largest tin deposit.

Mining in the Northern Territory

The Northern Territory (NT) is rich in world class minerals including, zinc, copper, lead, tungsten, lithium, vanadium, phosphate and potash, gold and uranium. There are currently seven high-quality mines operating.

Being located so close to Asia, the port at Darwin gives the NT a geographical advantage for minerals exports and strong relations with major markets in China, Korea, Japan and India.

Fast facts:

  • NT’s mining and manufacturing industry is valued at more than $4 billion.
  • Groote Eylandt, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, hosts the world’s largest manganese mine.
  • One-third of Australia’s known uranium reserves can be found in the NT.

Find out more about mining in Australia

Mining's economic contribution

The mining industry is a huge part of Australia’s thriving economy accounting for eight percent of the gross domestic product (GDP).

Australia’s top commodities

Australia is a world-leader in producing and exporting a variety of metals and minerals.

Future of mining in Australia

With rapid new advances in technology and exploration, opportunities are limitless for the future of the Australian mining industry.

Mining trends and themes

From technology and innovation to the future mining workforce, explore the trends and key themes that are shaping the future of the mining industry.

Our site uses cookies

We use these to improve your browser experience. By continuing to use the website you agree to the use of cookies.