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MININING INDUSTRY IN AUSTRALIA

 
Introduction
Mining can be defined as the extraction of valuable minerals from the earth surface and earn a form of revenue from the sale or usage of the mineral materials. Mining involves removing the waste materials that are of no interest to the miners before extracting the valuable material that is of higher value than the waste material. The process of removing the waste material and separating it from the valuable mineral constitutes mining and it proceeds till the valuable material is extracted and valued. The removal of the waste material is always a cost to the mining company and regarding the location of the mineral the cost could go higher and thus the value of the whole mining process should be lower than the total value of the mineral deposit. Mining is an economic activity in most countries and thus the exercise should have an economic value so that the business of mining is profitable to the mining company. Thus mining should be profitable so as to cater for the purchase and maintenance of mining machinery and to acquire a mining license from the government of a certain given country.
The value of the mined product should fetch favorable prices on the market so as to cater for the wages of miners and other stakeholders in the mining industry. Mining in Australia is considered a major contributor of the GDP as it accounts for more than 10% of the country earning. The government has been in full support of the industry through licensing local and international companies to undertake mineral exploration in the expansive country. The mining industry has played a major role in the demand and supply of various goods and services in the country’s economy and thus proper regulation of the industry is important to the country and the world at large. Some of the minerals mined in Australia include metals, oil, gemstone, coal, limestone, rock salt, gravel, gold, clay, dimension stones and natural gas among many other minerals in the rich country. Mining has been rated among the sole determinants of the economy of the country through providing raw materials for the country and employing a large number of the population either directly or indirectly. Thus the mining industry must be well managed so as to continue sustaining the countries economy (AUSTRALIA. (1996).
Industry analysis
The mining industry in Australia has been rated among the most contributors of national economy in the country where minerals like oil are considered to account for more than half of the country’s export over the years. For example in states like Western Australia state where petroleum products accounted for more than 905 of the states income between the year 2008 and 2009. The state is known to have more than 64 operating oil mining companies who specialize in oil exploration and mining whereas the state accounts for more than 893 mining companies who are involved in other minerals. The state also majors in mining of gold and the iron ore where the prices are very favorable on the local and international market. The iron ore as of 2009 accounted for more than 46% of the states income and thus the country is very rich in minerals which have helped the country to strive to economic growth and development (OLEYNIK, 2005).
The mining industry has been a major boaster of the economy through earning the government revenue through licensing and creating job opportunities for the large population. Through mining the states have been able to develop their infrastructure through expansion of roads which have facilitated better transport of the minerals from the field to the processing plants and later to the market where they are able to fetch good prices. The earning from minerals fell during the economic global financial crisis in 2009 when major markets around the globe fell and thus prices of major products in the world were affected by this crisis. But over the past few years the industry has been able to recover and post good results which are promising to the economy of the country. The mining industry in Australia has been very instrumental in running the country’s economy and thus major investment has been undertaken over the years due to the profitability it brings (NOAKES & LANZ, 1993).
According to the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics of Australia the country recorded a rise in investment for the mining industry due to the promising feature the country energy offers. As a result many jobs have been created as a result and many more are coming up. Thus mining industry as an economic sector is very useful in increasing the Australian GDP. The country recorded $260.8 billion in sale of its minerals in the local and international market. The sector has experienced an enormous growth with a lot of capital being driven in the industry to explore new minerals and commercialize the already existing ones. Some of the mining companies in the country specialize in exploration and extraction of minerals like oil and Gas combined together with coal and iron ore which are found majorly in all states (AUSTRALIAN BUREAU OF STATISTICS. 1993).
 
The industry varies from state to state in the country mostly due to the availability and type of minerals found in each state. In the Western state the industry has been a major contributor of the economy where it accounts for more than 20% of the state income. Its contribution to the budget of the state is paramount and thus it importance is seen in the various projects its plays. The state of Queensland has over 14% contribution from mining and thus the economy of the state highly depends on the industry income to run its operations. The Northern territory state on the other hand has been relying on the mining industry income to run its operations over the years. The contribution from mining in the state accounts for more than 20% of the revenue earned from mining to run its operations through out the year. As noted the mining industry has been a major contributor of the national economy for the country due to its diverse services and goods it offers to the market (ELFORD & MCKEOWN, 1947).
Some of the major mining companies that operate in Australia include BHP BILLITON, FORTESCUE METALS GROUP, HANCOCK PROSPECTING, YANCOAL, RIO TINTO, NEWMOUNT, and OZMINERALS AMONG MANY OTHERs. Most of these companies deal in mining oil, coal, gold and other major minerals found in the country. For example BHP BILLITON deals with minerals like aluminium, copper, iron ore, manganese and energy coal among others. The company has managed to employ at least 100,000 people in the country and thus reveals how the mining industry is to the citizen if Australia. The workers are employed in various departments in the company like exploration, machine operation, mining, field officers and managers. It’s through such companies that the government is able to tackle upcoming environmental and global problems through control of their operations. Problems of pollution and environmental degrading are able to be followed up by government agencies and thus protection of the environment is enhanced (RICHMOND, 1983).
There are different forces in play in this industry and they include the role of the Australian government in the control of mining activity in the country. The government controls the industry through licensing and issuing of trade licenses to local and multi national companies that wish to undertake mining activity in the country. The government has a major role in the control of mining activity so as to control the degradation of the soils and other natural forces in the country. The environment has to be protected from dumping by mining companies who may be money minded and fail to protect the environment. The government controls and monitors their activity through issuing guidelines that are to be followed by all registered mining companies. The government recognizes that the mining industry in Australia is a major factor for its economy and any failure in the mining industry is detrimental to the economy. Thus the government agencies like the Minerals tertiary Education council monitors the operations of mining companies in the country. There are also the minerals councils of Australia which monitors each mining company in the country so as to protect the environment against damping of waste materials by these companies on the environment (CLEARY, 2012).
The mining industry suffers from few threats in the country and thus has been able to strive to higher levels through the national stimulus package by the government. The oil and petroleum mining industry is very sensitive to global prices of oil which keep fluctuating over the year round and thus demand and supply for oil in the country determines the price of the commodity. The government controls over exploitation of the natural resources through licensing qualified companies that are environmental friendly in their mining. The government sets a threshold that must be met by mining companies that wish to explore minerals in the country (SUTHERLAND & WEBB, 2000).
Strategic recommendations
The mining industry in Australia has been on the verge of growth and this has been the success story for the economy in the country through investments from local and international investors who are taking a keen look at the country’s potential in minerals. The country has rich deposits of major minerals and thus it’s able to explore and exploit different kinds of minerals that pose an economic value to the country. For the country to realize its full potential in the mining industry the government and other stakeholders must offer competitive policies that range from fiscal to monetary that are geared towards improving the state of affairs in the sector. Through improved infrastructure the country mining industry is able to grow as movement of raw materials and other machinery is quicken through better transport and communication systems (DUFFY, 1994).
Due to the role the mining industry plays in the growth of Australian economy the government should invest in improving the infrastructure as this will lead to an improvement in delivery of service to and from mining fields. Movement of miners and other people who are involved directly or indirectly in the industry is made easier when construction of roads and railway systems. The raw materials are able to be transported fast through an improved transport and communication system. Better and broad economic policies should be utilized for the industry so as to acquire more growth and better sustainable employment levels for the country’s population either directly or indirectly. Over the years the Australian mineral industry has demonstrated growth and its capacity to expand and perform better in the international market and more resources should be utilized to better the industry’s performance. The future of the mining industry will greatly depend on how the government will carry out its fiscal and monetary policy that will regulate the industry (PUBLISHING, 2002).
The government role in the minerals sector is paramount and thus its control will help it to survive in the next few years and how it will compete favorable with other industrialized countries and states. The level of inflation will affect both the local and international prices of minerals produced in the country and this will in turn affect the local industry that rely on these raw materials. How the industry production will compete with other countries will mostly depend on the strategic plans set by the industry stakeholders with the help of the government. For sustainable growth in the various economic sectors of the country the mining industry is one of the boasters of this growth and thus the government always has a role to play to control the mining activity in the country. Economic factors like inflation must be checked to control the pricing of various minerals on the local and international market. The value of the Australian currency is much determined by the level of export and international trade which helps the country earn foreign exchange through out the year thus stabilizing the country’s economy. Fiscal policies are also affected by the level of mineral trade either local or even on the international market. The labor force in the country is also influenced by the mining industry as many of the country’s population are involved directly or indirectly in the mining industry. The mining industry offers employment to million of people all year round and thus the mining industry is a major economic activity in the country’s progress to industrialization. The mining industry provides a large quantity of the raw material that helps the country’s industry to run and operate well with out any delay and up surging prices of major raw materials (TRIPARTITE MEETING, 2002).
The minerals industry in Australia has had a steady growth mostly due to the modernization of most of its projects where modern exploration methods that use better tools and techniques are being applied over the years. This has helped to increase the productivity of the mining industry where better methods of mining are being used and thus the cost is lowered due to better efficiency in operations. The mining companies incur less cost and thus are able to maximize on the income earned from selling the processed minerals. Proper training of people has increased their efficiency on the mining operations and thus has helped mining companies to increase their productivity over the years. The mined products are mostly processed in the country and thus have helped lower the level of unemployment by creating more jobs for the country’s population (HUNT, 2009).
Its through creation of more jobs in the country, the country’s economy is able to steer into economic growth through improvement in the fiscal and monetary policy of the country. Creation of new industries that help process the already mined minerals has created more jobs for the population where newly graduated students are being enrolled in the mining industry thus helping the country improve on the GDP and initial national output. The economy of Australia is among the most stable ones in the world due to well managed fiscal and monetary policies. The government has been earning high revenue from licensing mining companies and through sale of the already mined products. Through these revenue collections the government has been able to improve other social amenities for the citizens of the country. Such amenities include improvement in the infrastructure and health facilities thus leading to an economic development (MULLIGAN, 1900).
For the country to achieve its macro economic status all sectors of the economy must be inclined to achieving a greater goal to liberate the country to more and better economic power through the stimulus program initiated by the government. The mining companies must protect the environment and other natural resources so as to ensure a better living condition for all organisms in the country. Through mechanization of mining projects in the country the mining companies has been able to reduce the level of pollution of the environment more so the water and the soil resources in the country. Through protection of the environment the living condition of workers and other citizens in the country are improved and thus mining companies usually undertake CSR projects in all areas they operate in as means of giving back to the community. When a mining field is exhausted of all minerals the respective companies must indulge means of reusing the mining field like planting trees or creating a man made lake that will provide other resources like water and timber to the people of that state in general (OECD, 1999).
Conclusion
The mining industry in Australia has seen and experienced enormous growth over the last few years and this is being driven by the fact that minerals form a major part of the revenue collection for the country through sale and provision of employment opportunities. The country reliance on mining and exploration of minerals has been improved through major investment opportunities that are geared towards improving the state of the country’s economy. Importance of mining in the country is well profound through the different involvement the government is undertaking to ensure that the prospects of mining are profitable. Minerals are used as raw materials for the local industry and thus importation of raw materials is lowered through mining and thus it’s regarded as a cost saving benefit to the country and the region at large. The country has a rich deposit of a variety of minerals that include oil, aluminium, iron ore, manganese, gold, copper and silver among many others. The country boasts of having established mining companies that are able to compete favorably with others on the global market. The government of Australia has been on the forefront to monitor the operations of each mining company so as to make sure they operate on the given guideline by the Minerals Council of Australia for better sustainability in all its fields. Through revenue collection the government is able to improve the state of infrastructure in the country. The mining industry of Australia has helped to boast the economy of Australia and thus it’s a major contributor of national growth and proper control and monitor is important.

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