The Mining Boom
Australia has always been rich in natural resources, which set the foundation for our high living standards. The development of Australia’s resource industry has made positive, long-lasting impacts on the economy – supporting citizens across the country.
The mining industry experienced a boom between 2005 – 2012. This boom shook the Australian economy by raising the disposable income for each household by 13%, and simultaneously lowering the unemployment rate by 1.25%.
Since then, mining activities have continued to expand and in 2020, $271 billion of export revenue was generated. Furthermore, this figure accounts for more than 10% of our nation’s economy, solidifying mining as the biggest sector for the national economy.
The Covid-19 pandemic saw a crash in the world’s economy as we experienced consistent lockdowns.
Mining played a vital role in supporting the economy through the global pandemic, helping lead Australia into recovery.
For the first time the mining industry exceeded $300 billion in export revenue in 2020-21.
Let’s explore the economic impacts of mining.
How Does It All Help The Economy?
Money from mining is available to people in cities or rural communities and regional areas, with opportunities to help everyone across Australia. Mining companies create jobs, raise community funding, and increase wages in smaller towns or regions that have projects to be completed in.
As a result of mining activities, governments generate multibillion-dollar revenue from taxes and royalties. From 2010 to 2020, the resource industry has paid $239 billion in royalties and taxes. Mining supports areas outside of urban centres by providing more opportunities for employment and expenditure in their local economy.
Additionally, better economic activity and employment prospects are brought to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities – as approximately 60% of mining projects are operated in these remote populations. Overall economic growth is dependent on the resources extracted and the methods of mining carried out to retrieve desired minerals.
To learn more, KJ’s has provided An Introduction to the 4 Main Methods of Mining.
Community Management & Infrastructure Support
Before a mining project can begin, a key part of the development process is assessing the potential impacts after the operation has been finished. For example, the boom and bust cycles of housing availability before and after a project’s duration. In Queensland, mining companies will undertake a Social Impact Assessment.
The social impacts of a project are the direct and indirect impacts that affect people and their communities during all stages of the project lifecycle. So, each impact is planned out through risk management strategies to mitigate any consequences on the long-term scope of the local community.
To economically support the surrounding communities of mine sites, companies will contribute to non-profits, procurement strategies, and local sponsorships. The resource sector has a responsibility to support operating communities they work in by prioritising engagement and building partnerships with local businesses.
By doing this, many companies invest into providing better infrastructure in the future, targeting local purchasing and expenditure in regional areas.
Sustainable Mining Practices
The Australian mining industry is a leader in sustainability and technological advances, with modern machines and drones already being implemented into mines around the nation. Environmental and safety legislations that have been incorporated into the industry began to set new global standards for mining operations.
The advancements currently being made in Australia is reforming the global mining industry. It is expected that the future of the Australian mining industry will continue to grow, forging new global standards for resource extraction methods everywhere.
Find out more on The Sustainability of Mining – A Guide to Future Success.
The Future of Mining in Australia
While there is still so much that is unknown about the future of the mining industry there are some things we do know. The mining industry will always be an important part of the Australian economy.
By carrying out more major projects it will bring increased populations to the regional areas of the country – positively impacting the employment structure, community management and sustainable output. More opportunities for younger demographics to earn higher wages will increase with jobs ranging from technical trades in the mine to environmental workers overseeing the sites.