New report reaffirms resources as backbone of our economy
A new report has reaffirmed Australia's position as a top producer of key critical minerals and the backbone of our national economy.
Launching the 2020 edition of Australia's Identified Mineral Resources report in Mackay, Resources Minister Keith Pitt said it confirmed Australia entered the COVID-19 economic crisis in a strong position due to its mineral resources sector.
He said Geoscience Australia's annual stocktake had tracked the country's mineral resources since 1975.
"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," he said.
"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."
Dawson MP George Christensen said the report confirmed what most regional Queenslanders knew, that there was a long-term future in coal and a vote of confidence in our region.
"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."
Mr Pitt said Australia remained the world's top producer of iron ore with 36 per cent of global production and 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.
"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."