Frequently Asked Questions - Australian Mining

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About the Minerals Council of Australia

The MCA is the leading advocate for Australia's world class minerals industry, promoting and enhancing sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. The MCA represents a world-leading minerals sector that is dynamic, diverse, sustainable and valued by all Australians. Read more.

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Why do we need mining?

Mining provides the resources for modern life, technology and business.

Everything comes from somewhere. If it didn’t grow, it was mined.

And everything we depend on is either made from minerals or relies on minerals for its production. This includes everyday whitegoods like our fridge and washing machine, the homes we live in, the cars we drive the health care we rely on and the phones and gadgets that keep us connected.

Mining will also support our future including sustainable power, renewable energy, electric vehicles, advanced engineering, and even commercial space travel.

Mining is important to life today and provides the foundations for the innovations of tomorrow.

What is mined in Australia?

Australia is a global mining powerhouse with a huge range of most of the world's key minerals commodities.

We are the world's leading producer of bauxite, ilmenite, iron ore, rutile and zircon; the second largest producer of gold, lead, lithium, manganese ore and zinc; the third largest producer of uranium; the fourth largest producer of black coal (also the second largest exporter), nickel and silver; and the fifth largest producer of cobalt, copper and diamond.

Much of Australia is unexplored or underexplored for mineral resources, so with the right tools and data the future could provide much more of the resources which we depend on today and those which we will need tomorrow.

Where are the mines in Australia?

Australia is a leading producer of minerals for the world and produces 19 minerals in significant amounts from nearly 400 operating mines. There are mining operations in every state of Australia, the Northern Territory and Christmas Island. 

The Australian Geoscience Information Network is a great resource to discover where mines are, where industry is located and the transport infrastructure that supports it.

How much is mining worth to Australia?

Australia is a global mining powerhouse with the sector supporting highly paid, highly skilled jobs, sustained national prosperity and stronger regional communities.

The Australian minerals industry is a major contributor to investment, high-wage jobs, exports and government revenues in Australia.  Resource exports were worth $290  billion in 2019-20. 

Between 2010-11 and 2019-20, the minerals sector contributed $238.8 billion in taxes and royalties to federal, state and territory governments – $132.8 billion in tax and $106 billion in royalties.

How many people work in the minerals industry?

There are 256,000 people directly employed by the resources sector and a total of 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sectors. 

The direct mining workforce includes about 3.7 per cent Indigenous employees and 4 per cent apprentice and trainee employees – which is double the national average.