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