24+ Mining Statistics to Dig Up Your Interest in 2023

Mining Statistics

Did you know that the iron ore mining industry in Australia is the second most profitable industry in the country? Or that Australia holds the world record for the largest gold nugget ever found in the world?

Stay put and let us guide you through some magnificent mining statistics and facts we bet you didn’t know.

Key Australian Mining Industry Statistics 

  • Mining accounted for 10.4% of Australia’s economy in 2020. 
  • The mining industry is projected to grow 4.50% by the end of Q2 2022. 
  • 36% of Australian mines produce gold.
  • Australia is the global leader in iron ore and lithium production. 
  • Australia holds more than a third of the world’s uranium resources.
  • Total resources and energy exports in January 2022 were worth $356.5 billion.
  • Metalliferous ores and metal scrap were Australia’s top export in January 2022. 
  • China is the biggest buyer of Australian iron ore, nickel and zinc.
  • Australia is the fifth-largest producer of coal in the world. 
  • Gold mine production is forecast to rise to 374 tonnes by 2026.

Mining Industry Statistics Australia

1. What percentage of the economy is mining?

(Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Mining, Statista)

Mining is one of the biggest contributors to Australia’s economy, accounting for an impressive 10.4% to the country’s GDP. 

In 2020, mining contributed $202 billion to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product. That same year, the EBITDA of the mining industry in Australia was $155.52 billion, one of the highest recorded. 

2. The mining industry in Australia continued to see growth throughout 2020/2021. 

(Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Recording an EBITDA of $6,436 million in 2021, mining remains one of the country’s most resilient sectors. According to the latest release by the ABS, mining earnings grew 4.1%, driven by an increase in income from Sales and services ($8.2 billion) and Metal ore mining ($40.1 billion).

Growth was offset by a decline in Coal mining (-$16.0 billion) and Oil and gas extraction (-$17.9 billion). 

3. The price of commodities increased 10.5% in Q1 2022.

(Australian Bureau of Statistics, The Guardian)

Strong growth of commodity prices (especially coal and iron ore) saw profit for mining companies surge 14.7% in Q1 2022. Another contributing factor to rising profits in the Mining industry in Australia was the lack of payment for extra workers in the export phase leading to a year-on-year increase in mining profits of 48%, but only an 11.7% rise in wages. 

4. The mining industry is projected to grow 4.50% by the end of Q2 2022. 

(IBISWorld, Trading Economics) 

According to Trading Economics, mining production in the country is expected to rise 4.50 per cent in 2023 and 4% in 2024. IBISWorld, on the other hand, projects growth of 0.7% by the end of 2022 with the mining market reaching $336.2bn. 

Growth in mining is set to boost other sectors and industries as well—rail freight transport is expected to see a 16.4% volume increase from mining growth alone. 

5. The mining industry in Australia has around 264,700 employees.


Between 2002 and 2021, the number of employees in the mining industry tripled from 83,900 to 264,700. 

88% of the employees in the mining sector are permanent and 96% are full-time workers. Unsurprisingly, mining is one of the male-dominated industries in Australia, where the male to female workers ratio is 83% to 17%, the most recent statistics on women in the workplace show.

The Australian mining industry pays $144,000 a year, more than other industries in the country, with 99% of workers earning above-award wages. 

6. Rio Tinto is the number one mining company in the world, with a net profit of US$9.77 billion.


Australian-British mining company Rio Tinto, which operates 17 mines in Australia, recorded a net profit of US$9.77 billion in 2020, making it the number one mining company in the world. Rio Tinto is also one of the most automated mines, relying on AI equipment for daily operations with more than 11 automated drills and 140 driverless trucks

In second place, it’s BHP with US$6.97 billion, China Shenhua Energy with US$6.42 billion, and South-African Impala Platinum Holdings with a net profit of US$2.74 billion in 2021.

7. Australia attracted $1.90 billion of global exploration budgets in 2021.

(S&P Global)

This marks an increase of 38.8%, well above the average global budget growth rate (35%). Western Australia continues to be the most popular destination for exploring, particularly for gold and copper. US$1.3 billion were allocated to the state in 2021, an annual increase of 50%, putting WA’s share of the country’s budget at 70.8% 2021. 

Australia’s exploration budget was highest in 2012 at $2.5 billion, Australian mining industry statistics show.

8. 36% of Australian mines produce gold.

(S&P Global)

More than one-third of all mines in the country are primary gold-producing mines, while 18% are coal mines, and only 10% are iron ore mines. Gold mines also attract the most interest for drilling activity and initial resources. 

Australia’s Mining Production and Resources 

9. Australia is the global leader in iron ore and lithium production. 

(S&P Global)

Australia produces 37% of iron ore, which is more than the combined share of Brazil, China and India. The country is also the leading producer of lithium, holding 49% of global production, ahead of Chile (30%), China (10%) and Argentina (7%).

In terms of other minerals, Australia has a 10% share of global gold production (behind China with 11%), and 11% of zinc global product (behind China with 33%). Nickel and cobalt production are slightly lower (6 and 4%, respectively) but still enough to count Australia as one of the biggest producers of these metals in the world. 

10. Australia has the highest iron ore and zinc reserves and resources in the world. 

(S&P Global)

Australia’s mines host 30% of the world’s iron ore reserves and resources and 19% of zinc resources and reserves. 

The country is ranked second globally for gold (10%, preceded by Canada with 14%), nickel (13%, behind Indonesia with 18%) and cobalt (9%, second to the Democratic Republic of Congo with 57%). 

11. Australia holds more than a third of the world’s uranium resources.

(Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)

On top of that, it is the third biggest producer of uranium, taking up 10% of annual global production. Production is set to decline in 2022, though, as the number of uranium-producing mines in the country falls from three to two. However, price growth will see export values increase from $500 million in 2022 to $729 million over the next five years. 

Mining Trade Statistics Australia

12. Total resources and energy exports in January 2022 were worth $356.5 billion.

(Australian Government)

This is an increase of a whopping 29% between January 2021 and January 2022. 

Coal accounted for the majority of Australia’s mining exports with $67.42 billion, a 60% increase from the previous year, while coal exports in the last quarter of 2021 reached 24.27 billion, up by 159% from the same period in 2020. 

Exports of liquefied natural gas were worth $52.85 billion, a rise of 52% between January 2021 and January 2022. In the three months to January 2022, LNG exports were valued at $18.64 billion, a 134% growth from the same period the previous year, further cementing Australia’s position as one of the biggest exporters of coal and LNG in the world. 

13. Metalliferous ores and metal scrap were Australia’s top export in January 2022. 


Valued at $40 billion,  Metalliferous ores and metal scrap were Australia’s biggest mining exports followed by:

  • Coal, coke and briquettes ($22.9 billion)
  • Gas, natural and manufactured ($12.2 billion)
  • Vegetables and fruit ($11.9 billion)
  • Non-ferrous metals ($11.3 billion)

14. China is the biggest buyer of Australian iron ore, nickel and zinc.


Despite China banning all coal exports from Australia in 2020 and icy diplomatic relations, China continues to account for the majority of Australia’s mining exports, taking up 83% of iron ore and concentrates exports and half of zinc ore exports. 

Copper ores and concentrates are mainly exported to Japan, another one of Australia’s big trading partners, and South Korea. 

15. Australia is set to make $425 billion by the end of 2022 from mining and energy exports. 


Resource export earnings are expected to go up 33% to a record-high of $320 billion fueled by a drastic rise in coal and LNG prices. 

Coal is projected to become the second Australian commodity to go over the $100 billion annual export mark (after iron ore), while combined export easings from lithium, nickel and copper are forecast to hit $23 billion in 2021/2022, up by 38% from the previous year.

Coal Mining Statistics Australia

16. The Australian coal industry had a total income of $50.94 billion in 2021.


Coal mining statistics from Australia show that 2019 was one of the best years for the industry, as it collected an income of $87.04 billion. Income reduced to $73.61 billion and $50.94 billion in 2020 and 2021, respectively. 

17. Australia is the fifth-largest producer of coal in the world. 

(Global Data)

With a production of 544 million tonnes, Australia ranks fifth among the biggest coal-producing countries in the world. Coal is the second leading source of energy consumption in the country, accounting for 28.4% of total consumption. 

In terms of coal reserves, Australia is third on the list with over 147.4 billion tonnes or around 14% of total coal reserves in the world. It is preceded by the USA (252 billion tonnes) and Russia (160.3 billion tonnes).

18. In January 2022, coal prices in Australia stood at US$196.95 for a metric ton.

(Ycharts, Statista)

From 1970, till the most recent data from 2022, the average value of coal prices in Australia was US$48.74 per metric ton. The lowest price ever recorded was in January 1970, when one metric ton of coal cost US$7.8. The highest price was reached in October 2021 when a metric ton of coal amounted to US$224.51.

Coal prices are set to decline as global consumption reduces. Statista estimates the price of coal going down to US$55 per metric ton by 2035. 

18. Combined coal export is expected to go over $110 billion in 2021/22. 

(Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)

Australia’s metallurgical and thermal coal export values are set to peak in 2021/22 at over $60 billion and $45 billion, respectively. Export of metallurgical coal is expected to fall back to $26 billion by 2026/27, whereas exports of thermal coal will go down to $15 billion in the same timeframe when around 204–207 million tonnes will be exported.

Exports of metallurgical coal are forecast to go up to 184 million tonnes in 2026/27 due to increased production in Queensland and New South Wales. 

Gold Mining Statistics Australia

19. Australia produced 315 tonnes of gold in 2021. 

(Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)

Several factors contributed to the decrease in gold production, including 

  • Labour shortages which impacted gold output in AngloGold Ashanti and Regis Resources’ Tropicana by 11% to 12 tonnes, while production at Regis Resources’ Duketon gold project reduced to 10 tonnes; 
  • Planned maintenance affected production at Newcrest’s Cadia mine in NSW by 27%, going down to 19 tonnes in 2021;
  • Lower ore grades caused production at Agnico Eagle’s Fosterville in Victoria and AngloGold Ashanti’s Sunrise Dam in WA to reduce their production to 16 and 7.1 tonnes, accordingly. 

20. China is Australia’s biggest gold export market.

(Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)

China took up a 36% share of overall gold exports from Australia, followed by Hong Kong with a 15% share and Singapore (12%).

21. Gold mine production is forecast to rise to 374 tonnes by 2026.

(Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources)

At the same time, lower gold prices will decrease Australia’s gold export earnings to $22 billion. The price of gold is estimated at an average of US$1,770 an ounce in 2022, going down to US$1,380 an ounce by 2027.

22. The largest gold nugget, weighing 72 kg, was found in Australia. 


The golden nugget, called the Welcome Stranger, is the largest gold found in the world, weighing 72 kg. It was found in 1869 in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia.

Statistics on Mining Accidents in Australia

23. How many deaths are caused by mining?


Fatalities in the mining industry have decreased in 2020, compared to the previous years. The fatality rate in 2020 per 100,000 workers at mines in Australia was 2.1. 

The mining industry ranks fifth in terms of fatalities, following agriculture, forestry and fishing and transport, postal and warehousing. Construction is third with 26 fatalities per 100,000 workers.

24. 429 lost-time injuries were reported in Western Australia’s mines in 2020/21. 


This is a slight increase from the 425 reported in the previous financial year. The total number of days workers lost because of injuries reached 10,568 with another 13,126 days of restricted duties upon return. 

378 incidents were serious, meaning that an injury has disabled a worker for 14 days or more. 339 of these took place on the surface and only 39 were in underground mines. 

Bottom Line 

Despite a decrease in production and exports, Australian mining industry statistics show that the sector is still performing very well, managing to report a rise in both profits and wages.

The future points to further gains. Australia is one of the biggest exporters of coal, iron ore and LNG in the world and with the Russian invasion of Ukraine increasing demand for these commodities, mining will likely continue to fuel Australia’s economic growth. 


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