Copper in Australia

Despite its reputation as a major source of coal, iron ore, gold and uranium, Australia is also one of the premier copper-producing jurisdictions in the world, coming in at sixth in production behind the US — or fifth, or seventh — depending on who you ask and on what year.

In 2019, 960,000 metric tons of the red metal came from Australian mines. Notably, the country is home to the world’s fourth largest copper-producing mine, Olympic Dam.

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In 2019, 960,000 metric tons of the red metal came from Australian mines. The country is home to the world’s fourth largest copper-producing mine, Olympic Dam.

How the Australian Dollar Impacts Mining Companies

The currency of Australia — the Australian dollar — is one of the most traded currencies on the planet.

Coming in at fifth globally on the foreign exchange market (FOREX), the Australian dollar is up there with the US dollar, the euro, the British pound and the Japanese yen.

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The Australian economy — and its currency — owes its fortunes to the prolific and profitable mining sector.

Rare Earths in Australia

Rare earths are elements vital to the modern technology age. The 17 elements grouped as rare earths are found in batteries, magnets, lasers, fibre optics, battle tanks, satellites, guided missiles and wind turbines — and that’s just to name a handful of applications.

By Australia’s own account, the land down under only accounts for some 3 percent of the world’s rare earth reserves — well behind China, the global superpower of the rare earths supply chain.

But there is a global focus on Australia as a rare earths player, and China is part of the reason why. Not because China was hungry for rare earths in the same way it is for all the other commodities Australia sells — but because of a trade dispute between China and Japan.

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Although it’s home to producer Lynas, the land down under only accounts for some 3 percent of the world’s rare earth reserves.

Nickel Mines in Australia

Nickel is the rising star of the base metals world, and is quickly gaining more prominence beyond its traditional role in industrial applications through the creation of stainless steel.

Moonlighting as a key ingredient in the electric metals world, nickel is a major component in the creation of the lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles and other electric applications.

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Nickel mines in Australia produced 180,000 tonnes of the metal in 2019, putting the country in fifth place for production worldwide.

Copper Mines in Australia

As the home of the world’s second largest reserves of copper, and the sixth largest producer of the red metal behind the US, Australia has dozens of productive copper mines.

Government data from 2019 shows there were 36 operational mines that year — though since then more have come online, and plenty more projects are in the exploration and development stages.

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Australian copper mines produced some 960,000 tonnes of the red metal in 2019 from 36 operational assets spread across the country.

How Has COVID-19 Impacted Australian Miners?

Much the same as everywhere else on Earth, Australia has not been immune to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has ravaged people, politics and markets.

As a resources-heavy nation, with some 11 percent of its economy dedicated to mining, and over 60 percent of its exports coming from resources, the initial slowdown in Australia’s largest trading partner — China — brought about severe jitters in the Australian economy at the beginning of 2020.

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Mining’s role as a major contributor to the Australian economy ensured that it was classified as essential early on.

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