MINING accounts for 7% of Australia’s gross domestic product, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).
Mining has contributed more than $500 billion to national wealth over the last two decades, yet, only a handful of major new discoveries have been made in recent years.
The ABS 2008 year book shows that Australia has the largest economic recoverable resources of brown coal, lead, rutile, tantalum, uranium and zinc.
Export earnings from minerals including oil and gas, increased by more than $22 billion in 2005-06.
Japan has remained the main destination for Australian minerals absorbing more than 28%.