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Australia takes the gold in new mineral statistics

5 March 2018

The latest statistics on Australia’s vast mineral resources show Australia continues to lead as the world’s largest reserve holder or producer of key commodities such as gold, iron ore and lithium.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan launched the latest edition of the Geoscience Australia publication ‘Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources’ (AIMR) at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto.

Speaking at the premier international event for the minerals exploration industry, Minister Canavan said the statistics reaffirm Australia’s reputation as a world-leading destination for investment in mineral resources.

“By almost any measure, Australia is a world leader in mineral resources. We hold the largest identified resources of nine commodities, including gold. We are also the world’s largest producer of five commodities. This includes lithium, a mineral resource with potential that is just beginning to be unlocked through new and emerging technologies,” Minister Canavan said.

“We are also leading the way internationally in mining innovation and are exporting more mining services around the globe than ever before.

“Resource companies want to invest and do business in Australia. Our first-class regulatory system and stable economic and social environment makes us an attractive destination for mining investment. In 2016-17, mineral resources made up around 37 per cent of Australia’s exports. Overall, the mining industry sector currently accounts for 7.4 per cent of Australia’s gross domestic product.

“The importance of mineral resources and the mining industry to our economy, and to regional Australia in particular, cannot be overstated,” Minister Canavan said.

In 2017, Australia had 301 operating mines. Of these, 97 were located in Northern Australia.

Minister Canavan said, although AIMR 2017 shows Australia has the potential to continue supplying the world with mineral resources for decades to come, the type of world-class mineral deposits that have helped build our nation are not discovered overnight.

“To remain internationally competitive as an investment destination for resource companies, we must continue to explore. It’s estimated around 80 per cent of Australia’s subsurface is under-explored, including large parts of Northern Australia.

“Only the highest quality deposits with low operating costs will attract the investment needed for development and ensure our future economic prosperity. We remain committed to ensuring our diverse and plentiful mineral resources are explored, through programs such as Exploring for the Future, led by Geoscience Australia.”

AIMR has been compiled annually by Geoscience Australia and its predecessors since 1975, from statistics collected directly from the mining industry sector. It includes assessments of reserves and resources at operating mines and other deposits; evaluations of long-term trends for major commodities; and comparative world rankings for mineral resources.

AIMR 2017 is available at www.ga.gov.au/aimr

Media contact: Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180