Iron ore, gold, copper break export records

Mound of gold on a old wooden work table

Australia’s resources industry has delivered revenue records for iron ore, gold and copper in 2020, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

The resources sector injected $270 billion into the Australian economy last year, contributing to 62 per cent of the country’s total export revenue.

This was fortified by iron ore’s record annual export revenue of $116 billion compared with $96 billion in 2019.

Iron ore is the first commodity to break $100 billion in a boom year for commodity exports, with the commodity also breaking its monthly record in December 2020 at $12.6 billion.

This was led by high demand across Asia, with China importing 1.17 billion tonnes of iron ore last year, exceeding its 1.075 billion-tonne record from 2017.

Gold exports also saw a 12 per cent increase to its revenue at a record $27 billion.

Copper grew its export revenue to $10.4 billion from $10.2 billion during the previous year.

Minerals Council of Australia chief executive Tania Constable said Australia’s resources exports were vital to the country’s prosperity.

“During a very challenging 2020, the Australian minerals industry drove prosperity in Australia, making substantial contributions to investment, exports, wages, jobs and government revenue,” she said.

“There are 240,000 people directly employed by the resources sector and a total of 1.1 million direct and indirect jobs in the mining and mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sectors.

“Mining companies also support thousands of regional businesses around Australia and their workers who provide essential services that keep the industry operating.”

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