Resources & Infrastructure
The Resources Sector
The Australian resources’ key attributes—the minerals, oil, and natural gas industries—sector are outlined below.
The minerals industry
The minerals industry—defined as covering the exploration and mining of minerals (including coal) and the associated minerals processing industry—accounts for 8 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
The world’s leading producer of bauxite, alumina, rutile, and tantalum;
The second-largest producer of lead, ilmenite, zircon, and lithium;
The third-largest producer of iron ore, uranium, and zinc;
The fourth-largest producer of black coal, gold, manganese, and nickel; and
The fifth-largest producer of aluminum, brown coal, diamonds, silver, and copper.
Additionally, Australia is the world’s largest exporter of black coal, iron ore, alumina, lead, zinc, and the second-largest uranium exporter.
Much of the Australian resource sector infrastructure is straining under a load of increased output and ever-growing overseas demand. Many major infrastructure expansions and additions are planned. These include building new rail and road links, harbor expansions, and associated loading facilities, together with expansions of the electricity and gas pipeline networks.
Infrastructure development to service the needs of the resources sector raises several planning issues such as:
Will mining-specific major infrastructure be a sustainable and valuable asset for the community in the long term?
Compatibility/integration with national infrastructure. Will the level of short-term (i.e., mine life) and long-term (ie post-mine) access be of benefit to the general community?
Planning procedures and timelines for national, state, and local authorities; and
Appropriate cost-sharing between the industry and government for mine-related infrastructure.