Trade and investment

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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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Trade and investment boost economic growth, support jobs, improve living standards and forge competitive industries.

By trading with the rest of the world, Australia:

  • Generates export earnings to support growth and raise living standards at home
  • Gives consumers lower prices and more choice
  • Forges more competitive industries and a more efficient economy
  • Gives our manufacturers access to global supply chains
  • Helps lift millions of people in developing countries out of poverty.

Australia has long been a trading nation, and the mining industry is a major part of Australia’s international economic success story.

Mining is by far Australia’s single biggest export industry and our resource exports account for around 60 per cent of Australia’s total export revenue, or 9.9 per cent of Australia’s total GDP in 2020-21. This is far greater than services (including tourism, education and financial services), agriculture and manufacturing combined.

While the vast majority of minerals extracted in Australia are exported, the benefits are retained in Australia: mining companies paid 28 per cent of all company tax collected in 2019-20. The industry paid $302 billion in taxes and royalties over the 15 years to 2019-20.

Australian mining companies have relied on international investment to help develop the nation’s natural resources. Capital investment in the mining sector has exceeded $250 billion over the past 10 years.  This investment has allowed Australia to translate its natural endowments into better living standards for its people.

In 2020-21 the resources industry directly employed 264,000 people and paid wages of $26.7 billion. This would not be available without the capital investment and the capacity to access and trade in global markets. 

Australian mining companies are also major outward investors in their own right, using their expertise and capital to develop successful mining operations abroad as well as at home.

Trade liberalisation has helped to raise Australia’s living standards. A study by the Centre for International Economics has shown that trade liberalisation policies adopted by Australian governments from 1986 to 2016 have boosted real GDP by 5.4 per cent and increased the average family household’s real income by $8,448 a year, compared to what they would have been in 2016 without trade liberalisation.

Australia’s network of bilateral, regional and plurilateral free trade agreements are central to continued regional and global trade liberalisation and economic integration.

For these reasons, the MCA supports open international markets, free trade, and cross-border investment – and advocates for the benefits of trade, investment and international economic engagement for all Australians.