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Mining Industry in Australia

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Australia, the large Island continent, has been generously furnished with abundant natural resources. With these resources, not surprisingly the various kinds of industries utilizing these resources are emerged in Australia. One of the most important industries is mining. Australia has the world's largest reserves of several mineral commodities in both minerals and energy resources. The Mining sector includes all units mainly engaged in mining, including the mineral exploration, and the provision of a wide variety of services supporting mining and mineral exploration. The discovery of the gold in New South Wales and Victoria has forced Australia into the group leader in mining countries since 1851. This essay will focus on the mining in Australia and review the history of the mining that contributes to the economy and the impacts on society.

Australian mining industry has a long history. It was primarily believed that the arrival of Aborigines originated Australian mining for 40,000 years ago when suitable stones were dug for making tools, weapons and decorations. In 1788, modern mining was initiated due to the arrival of the European. Almost 200,000 criminals, who were the first group of immigrants, were shipped from England to Australia which was one of the colonies in that period (Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs 2005). The European quarried and shaped Hawkesbury sandstone for early buildings at Sydney Cove. This incident led Australia into modern mining. In the early Australian mining industry commenced with the coal mining in Newcastle gathering surface coal for sales in 1798 and starting an international trade in mineral commodities when coal was exported to India in 1799. After that the discoveries of major minerals followed by lead in Glen Osmond Hills in 1841, copper in Kapunda in 1842 and gold in Burra Burra in 1845. However, the mineral sources have constantly been found all over the continent.

Mining Industry has played a key role on Australian economy for a century since gold was discovered in Australia. The economic value in mineral sector has grown up considerably. Mining generated from 3.4 percent of Australia's Gross Domestic Product in 1982-83 to 4.6 percent in 2002-03. The mining sector has created the Australian economic growth, especially in terms of exports. Lewis (2000 ,2) states that the industry makes up around 40 percent of Australia's merchandise exports each year, contributing around 40 billion dollar annually to the economy. The value of exports from the mining industry has grown by 95 percent during 1994-2004, 45 percent more than the growth in manufacturing industry and 26 percent more than for all industries. Australia globally exports mineral commodities to many countries, for instance, Japan, Republic of (South) Korea and United Kingdom. Japan is the major buyer with approximatly more than 20 percent of the total export value in minerals each year. "Of the countries in this region, Japan is consistently the main destination for Australian minerals and oil for the period 1988-89 to 2002-03. Its share of total exports of minerals and oil was 27% in 2002-03." (2005 Australia Year Book 2005, 509). These developments can be seen that mining industry is important to the Australian economy.

There are several impacts on Australian society in demography related to population, immigration and employment. Gold discoveries had a tremendous impact on all parts



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