Mineral resources put Australia in strong position

Joint media release with the Member for Dawson, George Christensen MP

A new report on the nation’s resources has reaffirmed Australia position as one of the world’s top producers of key critical minerals.

In Mackay today, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt launched the 2020 edition of Australia’s Identified Mineral Resources (AIMR) report.

Minister Pitt said Geoscience Australia’s annual stocktake has tracked the country’s mineral resources since 1975.

“The latest industry report confirmed Australia entered the COVID-19 economic crisis in a strong position thanks to its mineral resources,” Minister Pitt said.

“At the end of 2019, Australia remained a global leader in mineral exploration and production, and one of the world’s most desirable locations for investing in the mineral sector.

“In 2019 our mineral exports were valued at $234 billion, accounting for 47 per cent of all Australia’s exported goods and services. Investment in mineral exploration increased by 21 per cent, compared to the previous year, reaching $2.6 billion.”

“Gold accounted for 40 per cent of exploration expenditure, with a strong gold price creating a modern gold rush,” Minister Pitt said.

Member for Dawson, George Christensen, said the report confirms what most regional Queenslanders know.

“Our resources sector is the backbone of our national economy and will continue driving job and economic opportunities, particularly for the regional areas of central and north Queensland,” Mr Christensen said.

“It’s why we’re so committed to supporting the minerals sector, and in this part of Australia that means coal mining, which will remain a major industry for decades to come.”

Minister Pitt said Australia remained the world’s top producer of iron ore with 36 per cent of global production and we also produced 56 per cent of the world’s lithium, which is becoming increasingly important for battery storage technologies.

“Advancements in technology are driving the world’s appetite for critical minerals. Because of their use in cutting-edge low-carbon, defence, medical and other applications, demand for commodities like lithium, cobalt and graphite is projected to rise significantly over coming decades,” Minister Pitt said.

“With more than 300 operating mines producing 26 major and minor mineral commodities, our strength in this sector has enabled our economy to remain resilient throughout the global pandemic and recession.

“The Government’s $225 million Exploring for the Future program, led by Geoscience Australia, is opening up new exploration opportunities across the nation, supporting new mineral discovery that is essential for Australia’s future economic prosperity.

“Already we’ve seen significant new investment in resource exploration across Northern Australia because of this program, with over 120,000 square kilometres of greenfield exploration tenements in the region between Mount Isa in Queensland and Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory under application.”

The latest edition of AIMR is available at www.ga.gov.au/scientific-topics/minerals/mineral-resources-and-advice/aimr

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