Of Australia’s roughly three hundred and forty operating mines, almost half are in WA.
Significant oil and gas fields lie to the north of Darwin in the Timor Sea.
Tasmania’s mining sector has in general declined in importance over the last decade, but significant quantities of gold, copper, silver and zinc are still produced, and exploration for these and other commodities continues.
The Hamersley Basin in the Pilbara region hosts major iron ore deposits. In the south west there are world class bauxite and mineral sands deposits.
Also in the southwest is the world’s largest hard-rock tantalum deposit at Greenbushes.
Australia’s crude oil production has dropped from nearly 600 000 barrels per day in 1990 to under 500 000 barrels per day in 2009.
At the same time Australia’s consumption increased from around 600 000 barrels per day in 1990 to around 935 000 barrels per day in 2008. These trends are expected to continue over the next decade, leading to a worsening trade imbalance in this strategic commodity. Most of Australia’s oil resources are located off the coast of Western Australia in the Carnarvon Basin, approximately 125 kilometres northwest of Dampier; in the Timor Sea off the northwestern coastline of the Northern Territory (the Bonaparte Basin); and off the south eastern coastline of Victoria (the Gippsland Basin).It is undeniable that minerals and energy resource development is a key contributor to the Australian economy, and in particular to the state of Western Australia.The recent ‘mining boom’ has been much discussed in the last 7 years or so and has brought considerable revenue to state and federal governments.South Australia contains the huge Olympic Dam mine in the centre of the State, which is the fourth largest copper deposit and the largest uranium deposit in the world.It contains significant quantities of gold and silver and is Australia’s largest underground mine.The Eastern Goldfields region, including Kalgoorlie, contains major gold and nickel mines.