Victoria's minerals industry includes gold, lignite (brown coal) and mineral sands operations across the state and extends to export-focused mining equipment, services and support hubs in Melbourne, Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
In 2015-16, Victoria's mining and METS sector contributed $13.6 billion to the state's economy - representing four per cent of Victoria's total economic activity. Together mining and METS activities support approximately 121,700 Victorian jobs.
A regional industry
Victoria hosts the world's second largest reserve of brown coal with 80 per cent of this resource in the Gippsland Basin. Based on this reserve, three coal operations in the Latrobe Valley supply approximately 85 per cent of Victoria's electricity and contribute significantly to the National Electricity Market (NEM).
Large-scale gold production occurs at three operations near Bendigo and Ballarat with smaller operations located across Central Victoria. Gold production in Victoria increased to 256,653 ounces in 2015-16 from 198,387 ounces in 2014-15.
Australia's only antimony mine is also located near Heathcote in Central Victoria.
With the majority of Australia's rutile, ilmenite and zircon, mineral sands are an increasingly important part of Victoria's minerals industry. Sporadic mineral sands production prior to 2006-07 increased to a peak of 563,371 tonnes of ilmenite, 243,335 tonnes of rutile and 128,064 tonnes of zircon in 2013-14. While production has since declined following the transition of a major project to completion, three significant mineral sands projects are in development in the Murray and Gippsland Basins.
Exploration is also underway across Victoria for new viable deposits of precious metals, base metals (such as zinc, copper and lead) and mineral sands.