Trends in Down Under

Overview of the mining industry in Australia

Summary: Australia‘s economic development is remarkably positive in comparison to other OECD countries. The mining industry, characterised by the exploitation of coal, iron ore, gold and diamonds as well as such base metals as copper, plays a leading role in this development. In Australia the world‘s biggest mining companies are active: BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Xstrata, Anglo American, Vale, Barrick Gold and many others. What is special about Australia, who are the most important mining companies, how are mineral pro­duction figures developing and what export results are achieved? The following report provides numerous answers.

1 Mining as an economic factor

Australia has only 22.4 million inhabitants. At the beginning of 2010, the number of persons in employment was 11 million and the per capita income was above US$ 45 000, which exceeds the average figure in Europe. The country‘s gross national product puts it in 15th place worldwide. Australia came through the global economic crisis better than any other OECD country. Fig. 1 shows the development of real economic growth in comparison to other OECD countries. In 2009 Australia was the only country to achieve a significant growth, with 1.3 %. The mining industry made...

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