Durack helps mining industry earn Australia a record quarter-trillion dollars in exports
November 2, 2018
Australia’s mining industry is set to deliver a record $250 billion in exports to the Australian economy this year.
The export figures are contained in an in-depth Federal Government report released on 2 October in the September 2018 Resources and Energy Quarterly compiled by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.
Federal Member for Durack and Minister for the Environment Melissa Price said Western Australia – and particularly Durack - is punching above its weight accounting for around half of Australia’s resource exports.
“In 2017-18, Western Australia reached new record production levels of iron ore, gold, LNG and lithium; and much of this falls in the Durack electorate,” she said.
“The current estimate is that Australian exports of resources and energy will bring in more than $250 billion – or a quarter of a trillion dollars – in the current 2018-19 financial year,” Minister Price said.
“They contribute well over half of Australia’s total exports of goods and services, highlighting the fact the mining boom in this country is far from over.”
Australia is now the world’s number one exporter of lithium and all lithium is mined in WA including in Durack.
“There is a burgeoning demand for lithium, the metal that powers our phones, laptops and batteries, and Australia has already tripled lithium production in the past eight years to now be the world’s largest producer,” said Minister Price.
The report says exports of spodumene ore, the precursor material for lithium, have risen from around $117 million in 2012 to $780 million in 2017, and are expected to rise to around $1.1 billion by 2020, and points out even greater value could be unlocked if Australia progresses in refining these ores into more valuable forms of lithium.
“Australia has strong prospects for becoming a globally dominant supplier at all stages of the lithium supply chain rather than only exporting it as ore concentrate,” Minister Price said.
“This would add value to our exports and create many more jobs in Durack.”
Last month, the Federal Government announced a $19.5 million loan to help boost exports of lithium from the Pilbara region of Western Australia, through the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF).
The loan, to a subsidiary of Pilbara Minerals Ltd (PLS), will upgrade a 70km public road from the PLS-owned Pilgangoora mine, one of the world’s largest known lithium ore deposits.
“Upgrading this road will help boost lithium exports. Upgrading Roads like this is a vital part of the Federal Government’s commitment to the further development of Northern Australia,” said Minister Price.
“This will make transporting lithium from the mine to the port a more efficient process by improving safety and travel times and also a better and safer road for other users in the region, including local residents and tourists as well as pastoralists and Indigenous communities,” she said.
The report said LNG is performing strongly, with exports likely to increase in value by 54 per cent from $31 billion in 2017-18 to $48 billion in 2018-19 – driven by both higher export volumes and higher prices – before levelling out next year.
“These are large sums, and reflect the success and hard work of Australian exporters in supplying the growing Asian market,” said Minister Price.
Western Australia is home to Australia’s two largest LNG projects, the North West Shelf project and Gorgon LNG on Barrow Island, both off the Pilbara coast, and also the Wheatstone project 12 km offshore from Onslow.
In 2017-18, Australia exported $61 billion worth of iron ore and 99 per cent – more than 849 million tonnes – was produced in WA with the majority of that produced from mines in the Durack electorate.
Around 70 per cent of Australia’s gold production came from Western Australia in 2017–18, and a good proportion of it in the Durack electorate.
Western Australia accounted for 93 per cent ($17.6 billion) of the value of Australia’s gold exports ($18.9 billion) in 2017-18.
Western Australia is the centre of gold exploration activity in Australia, accounting for 74 per cent of total gold exploration expenditure.
There are about 40 active gold mines in WA, including big producers in Durack like the Telfer mine in the Pilbara, the Jundee gold mine in Wiluna and De Grey Mining in the Pilbara recently announcing a new estimate has lifted its resources by 15 per cent.
“These exports are benefitting Australians everywhere by providing jobs, wages and spending on goods and services, not just in the regions where mining is carried out but also in cities where so many mining companies have offices,” the Minister said.
“It is rewarding that my electorate contributes so much towards these exports.”