Region/Countries: Australia, Australia and New Zealand Industry: Manufacturing, Other Date: November 2017

Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: The U.S. is one of the largest exporters of mining equipment to Australia, and there is an ongoing demand for high-tech equipment, creating opportunities for Wisconsin manufacturers.

The Australian mining industry accounted for approximately 7 percent of national GDP and generated approximately $122 billion in revenue in 2016-17. As of April 2017, there were over 270 mine sites in operation across Australia, with the majority of these located in Western Australia (35%), Queensland (25%) and New South Wales (18%). Australia remains the fourth-largest mining production country in the world, with iron ore and coal as the two major mineral commodities.

According to Geoscience Australia, Australia’s economic prosperity is highly dependent on natural resources, including minerals, energy and groundwater. This requires continued expenditure on exploration to determine the depth and character of cover across the diversity of Australian geology, with the aim of establishing an ongoing pipeline of resource development projects. Through the “Uncover Australia” initiative, Geoscience Australia is aiming to deliver new pre-competitive geoscience datasets that develop and test geological models and key indicators of hidden mineral resource potential in the subsurface.

In the 2016-17 federal budget, the Australian government also boosted funding for “Exploring for the Future,” announcing a new $77 million ($100 million Australian) four-year initiative aimed at increasing Australia’s attractiveness as a destination for investment in research and commercial natural resource exploration. Geoscience Australia will also continue to co-invest in a number of greenfield regions and conduct an annual regional stratigraphic drilling program. Other potential project areas in Australia include:

  • Northern Territory: basement geology beneath the onshore Carpentaria Basin;
  • South Australia: basement of the Eucla Basin and covered parts of the western Gawler Craton; and
  • Queensland/Tasmania: southern extensions and covered parts of Mount Isa.

In recent months, the Queensland coal mining industry has also regained its position as the state’s key economic engine due to unprecedented demand for coal and an improved average price per ton. A number of new mines have also been proposed and planned for development (e.g., the Carmichael thermal coal mine in the Galilee Basin).

As the U.S. is one of the largest exporters of mining equipment to Australia, there is an ongoing demand for high-tech equipment, providing potential opportunities for U.S. equipment manufacturers. Wisconsin companies and research institutions interested in collaborating with Australian partners in the geosciences, mineral exploration and mining sectors are encouraged to:

  • connect with Australian science and research agencies to foster international relationships and collaborate on global research and utilize Australia’s large-scale research infrastructure facilities and scientific collections;
  • review and register for the TenderLink, Australian Tenders and ICN Gateway online portals, which regularly publish opportunities for exporters to supply mining equipment, technology and services (METS) for the quarrying, oil and mining sectors in Australia and New Zealand; and
  • consider joining the Austmine network, Australia’s leading industry association for the METS sector with over 450 members.