Why this is important to Wisconsin businesses: Australia is a leading producer of several key minerals.

As a leading producer of the world’s key mineral commodities, Australia is in an ideal position to meet increasing global demands for raw materials including iron ore, gold, bauxite and battery metals including lithium and nickel. In order to leverage existing momentum, Australian mining has placed a strong focus on innovative technology used for greenfield and brownfield exploration. This makes Australia an attractive export destination for Wisconsin companies with expertise in mining manufacturing equipment and technologies, especially those used in exploration.

Australian state governments have actively encouraged international competitiveness by incentivizing and supporting exploration projects.

  • The South Australian government intends to allocate $10 million AUD ($7 million USD) in the 2019-2020 state budget toward the exploration of untapped mineral resources through the Accelerated Discovery Fund (ADF).
  • The co-funded Exploration Drilling Program, a flagship program of the Western Australian government–backed Exploration Incentive Scheme (EIS), is currently in its 19th round and offers $5.1 million AUD ($3.6 million USD) to 45 projects.

Likewise, Australian mines are directly investing in exploration technology:

  • Northern Star Resources, an early adopter of 3D seismic surveying, increased its exploration budget by one-third to $60 million AUD ($42 million USD) in fiscal year 2019.
  • Gold miner Evolution Mining boosted its planned exploration spending from $32 million AUD ($22.4 million USD) up to $55 million AID ($38.5 million USD).
  • Nickel miner Independence Group has recently leveraged airborne electromagnetic technology to map shallow and deep features of potential mines in high resolution. The company also uses aircore drilling into bedrock to trace and analyze different elements. These methods have enabled the company to fast-track its target generation.
  • Whitehaven Coal has recently enhanced its coal exploration capabilities by implementing Micromine’s geological data management system, Geobank, across all its projects in New South Wales and Queensland.

The renewed interest in exploration in Australian mining is especially positive for Wisconsin exporters of large capital mining goods (as the majority of equipment in Australia is imported or locally assembled by subsidiaries of foreign companies) and also those that offer technology and/or services related to surveying.

To explore opportunities in Australia, Wisconsin exporters may consider utilizing existing contacts and relationships with international mining companies and/or working with local partners.

Companies should consider visiting the market and showcasing their products at the biannual Asia-Pacific's International Mining Exhibition (AIMEX) in Sydney in August 2019.