Where They Rank: Australian Mining Jurisdictions

Here’s a look at Australian mining jurisdictions, including how much the country’s states export and how they compare to foreign peers.

Australia is well known as a prolific mining nation, with large sections of its economy built on mining since the mid-1800s onwards.

Minerals account for up to 60 percent of Australia’s export merchandise, according to Geosciences Australia, giving the mining industry a 12 percent share of gross domestic product.

But not all states in Australia are equal, with the premier jurisdiction and source of wealth being Western Australia, which takes up the western third of the arid continent.


Australian mining jurisdictions: The states themselves

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), of the AU$470.2 billion worth of goods and services exported from Australia in the 2018/2019 financial year, Western Australia accounted for AU$171.4 billion, or 36.5 percent — despite being home to only 10 percent of the national population.

The majority of exports from Western Australia were of course natural resources, with the state contributing almost the entirety of Australia’s AU$77.189 billion worth of iron ore exports.

Of the remainder in the resources category, the state also exported AU$16.627 billion in gold, more than AU$4.9 billion in oil, AU$1.779 billion in copper ores and almost another AU$2.7 billion in other metals and ores combined.

Natural gas was rated as the second most valuable commodity to the state, but due to confidentiality restrictions, DFAT did not report how much the resource brought in for Western Australia.

Next in line for total exports was Queensland, accounting for 22.4 percent of the national total with AU$105.2 billion in exports.

Of that total, more than a third came from coal exports, with AU$37.9 billion worth of the black sooty rock departing Australian shores from mines in Queensland.

The second largest reported export from the state was copper at just over AU$2 billion. The rest of the minerals (mostly zinc, lead and aluminum) added up to about AU$4.4 billion.

Of the remaining states, New South Wales contributed another AU$20.1 billion in coal exports and AU$11.1 billion in other minerals (mostly copper, gold and aluminum), while South Australia made nearly AU$1.8 billion in copper ore and Tasmania made nearly AU$1 billion in refined zinc exports.

Finally, despite exporting AU$57.3 billion in goods and services in 2018/2019, Victoria’s mineral exports added up to AU$973 million in aluminum, with the majority of the goods exported from the southern state being mostly agricultural products.

In total, minerals and fuels accounted for AU$239.3 billion of Australia’s exports. Returning to natural gas, while export numbers from each state weren’t reported by DFAT, national statistics from the same department show the resource was worth AU$49.7 billion in export value.

Australian mining jurisdictions: Where they rank globally

With such a huge contribution to Australia’s overall economy due to mining, Western Australia attracts global attention — and global comparisons.

According to the Fraser Institute’s Annual Survey of Mining Companies 2020, Western Australia ranked fourth on its Investment Attractiveness Index, behind the US states of Nevada and Arizona, and the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.

The annual survey quizzes mining and exploration companies operating in jurisdictions around the world on a number of different issues, including administrative processes, environmental regulations, government transparency and ease of permitting, infrastructure, trade, security and availability of labor.

After Western Australia, as per the Fraser Institute’s data, South Australia and Queensland were the second and third most attractive Australian jurisdictions respectively, coming in at seventh and 16th overall globally.

After that, Australian states and territories fall away quickly on the global scale, with the Northern Territory in 19th place, New South Wales in 27th place, Victoria in 56th place and Tasmania in 63rd place out of 77 jurisdictions.

Besides Nevada and Arizona, the US had another two states in the top 10: Alaska came in fifth place globally, while Idaho came in ninth.

In addition to Saskatchewan, Canada’s provinces in the top 10 were Quebec (sixth) and Newflound & Labrador (eighth).

This is an updated version of an article first published by the Investing News Network in 2020.

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Resource for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Melissa Pistilli, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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Gold isn't all that glitters in the land down under — silver in Australia is a major industry, and the country is home to both large and small players.

When it comes to precious metals, Australia has long punched above its weight — the nation was born riding the wave of a gold rush.

Gold isn't all that glitters through — Australia is also a major global producer of silver. It's among the 10 top producers, and was ranked seventh in 2020, with 1,300 tonnes coming from the many operational mines in the country. By comparison, the world's top producer, Mexico, produced 6,300 tonnes that same year.

Other key players in the silver market are Peru, China and Russia, which produce more silver than Australia, and the US, Argentina and Bolivia, which produce less.


Australia is sitting on quite a lot of the precious metal, with the world's second largest reserves, behind only Peru.

According to Geoscience Australia, one of the country's first mines was a silver-lead mine near Adelaide. Since then, the entire continent has been combed over with a fine-toothed comb, with deposits identified in every state and territory and active mines in every jurisdiction but one (Victoria).

Overall, Australia is well explored when it comes to silver, and since the mid-1800s it's had a constant stream of silver production. Aside from that, the country boasts metals-processing facilities in South Australia that separate the precious metal from its commonly mined counterpart metals, lead and zinc.

Silver companies in Australia

Those looking at the Australian silver market have options. There are plenty of big players with interests in Australian silver, and many smaller players for investors to consider researching too.

Most silver comes from mines dedicated to other metals — Glencore's (LSE:GLEN,OTC Pink:GLCNF) Mount Isa in Queensland produces mainly copper, zinc and lead, but silver is separated by the company's integrated processing streams. Glencore also operates the McArthur mine in the Northern Territory, which is primarily zinc, but between its copper and zinc assets, Glencore produced 7,404,000 ounces of silver in Australia in 2020 — over 200 tonnes.

Elsewhere, BHP (ASX:BHP,NYSE:BHP,LSE:BLT) produces a lot of silver as well at the Olympic Dam operation in South Australia. Perhaps best known for the production of uranium and copper, it also yields significant silver resources to the tune of 984,000 ounces in 2020 (or almost 28 tonnes).

According to Geoscience Australia data from 2016, over 20 mines in Australia produced silver in that year, while there are dozens of other resources identified in each state.

A primary producer of silver is the Cannington mine in Queensland, where South32 (ASX:S32,OTC Pink:SHTLF), a company that was spun off from BHP in 2015, mines silver and lead. Cannington is a big one, producing 11,792,000 ounces in 2020, or 334 tonnes of silver.

Tasmania boasts the Rosebery mine, which has seen 85 years of continuous operations and is currently owned by MMG (ASX:MMG,HKEX:1208). Rosebery, like all the others here, is polymetallic, and besides silver also produces copper, zinc, lead and gold. MMG also has the Dugald River mine in Queensland which also produced silver.

Getting into smaller companies, there are those like New Century Resources (ASX:NCZ) which restarted the Century mine in the Northern Territory for zinc and silver.

The future of silver in Australia

So, you get the picture — there's a lot of silver to be mined in Australia by way of mining everything else.

It's worth noting that because silver operates both as a precious and an industrial metal, and is mined most often alongside base metals, it can be pulled in many directions. However, it traditionally follows (and lags behind) its precious metal sibling, gold, making it a valuable investment commodity to keep an eye on.

Looking forward, the future of the commodity in the land down under — especially given Australia's significant reserves and operator diversity — is as bright as you'd like it, and depends on what investors are most interested in, given the by-product nature of the metal.

Don't forget to follow us @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Scott Tibballs, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Australia took a stand against Facebook and Google earlier this year, and the move could have long-term implications for tech investors.

It was a ban that sent Australians wild and had the whole world watching.

Back in February, Facebook (NASDAQ:FB) stopped users in Australia from posting news in a week-long blackout, reacting to proposed legislation that would have forced the social media behemoth to pay publishers for content.

What prompted Facebook to "friend" Australia again, and what are the potential long-term implications of the squabble? Read on to learn what tech-focused investors in Australia should know about the situation.


Australia squares off against Facebook

On February 25 of this year, Australia's federal government passed the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code. It was developed after extensive analysis by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and is aimed at ensuring that news media businesses are fairly remunerated for their content.

It stipulates that digital platforms such as Facebook and Google (both named in the documentation) must pay news outlets whose content they feature — for example, if content is shared on Facebook or shows up in Google search results. The idea is that this will help to sustain journalism in Australia.

Unsurprisingly, Facebook and Google didn't react well to the code, which was first introduced in 2020.

Google didn't make any moves after it passed, but Facebook quickly made it impossible for Australian users to share news content, and pages for both local and international news organisations went blank — a major concern given the COVID-19 and wildfire concerns that were circulating at the time.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison was scathing about Facebook's decision — which he ironically shared in a Facebook post — declaring the tech giant's actions "as arrogant as they were disappointing." He added, "These actions will only confirm the concerns that an increasing number of countries are expressing about the behaviour of BigTech companies who think they are bigger than governments and that the rules should not apply to them."

Despite strong feelings from both Australia and Facebook, the dispute was resolved fairly quickly, with the country agreeing to make four amendments to the legislation and Facebook restoring Australian's access to news.

Implications for Big Tech and news organisations

Both Australia and Facebook have claimed victory in the dispute, with a Facebook representative saying the company will be able to decide if news appears on the platform — meaning it won't automatically have to negotiate with any news businesses. Changes were also made to the arbitration process.

Tech experts have pointed out that larger news companies may ultimately benefit from the changes, but smaller ones could be pushed to the side. Major publishers that have struck agreements with tech giants, such as News Corp, Nine Entertainment (ASX:NEC,OTC Pink:NNMTF), Seven West Media (ASX:SWM) and Guardian Australia, may be able to increase their market share while smaller independent players lose out.

A business that is in full support of the laws is Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT). During the conflict, President Brad Smith came out loudly in favour of Australia's law, and advised that his company is willing to step up with search engine Bing should Google and/or Facebook pull out of the Australian market.

"In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has pushed forward with legislation two years in the making to redress the competitive imbalance between the tech sector and an independent press. The ideas are straightforward. Dominant tech properties like Facebook and Google will need to invest in transparency, including by explaining how they display news content," he said in a blog post.

"The United States should not object to a creative Australian proposal that strengthens democracy by requiring tech companies to support a free press. It should copy it instead."

Global reach and tech investor impact

Six months down the road from Australia's landmark legislation, it's tough to say what the long-term impact may be.

That said, market watchers do believe the country is part of a new precedent of forcing Big Tech into paying for journalism — something giants Facebook and Google are not used to.

Countries looking to pursue similar legislation include Canada, where Facebook agreed in May to pay 14 publishers to link to their articles on its COVID-19 and climate science pages, as well as other unspecified use cases. Canada is pursuing other avenues too. Meanwhile, in France, Google said it will pay publishers for news content after the country took up new EU copyright laws that make digital platforms liable for infringements.

For investors, the takeaway is perhaps that while companies like Facebook and Google may seem too big too fail, they too can fall subject to new regulations that can change how they do business. As nations around the world look to take back control from these mega companies, it's important to be aware of possible effects on their bottom lines.

Don't forget to follow @INN_Australia for real-time updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Ronelle Richards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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