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Australia leads the world in the latest mineral stats

The latest statistics on Australia’s vast mineral resources show Australia continues to lead as the world’s largest reserve holder or producer of key commodities such as gold, iron ore and lithium.

Speaking at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Convention in Toronto, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Matt Canavan, announced that the latest Australia's Identified Mineral Resources (AIMR) report shows Australia has the world's largest identified resources of many major mineral commodities.

“By almost any measure, Australia is a world leader in mineral resources. We hold the largest identified resources of nine commodities, including gold. We are also the world’s largest producer of five commodities. This includes lithium, a mineral resource with potential that is just beginning to be unlocked through new and emerging technologies,” Minister Canavan said.

“We are also leading the way internationally in mining innovation and are exporting more mining services around the globe than ever before.

AIMR 2017 includes assessments of reserves and resources at operating mines and other deposits, evaluations of long-term trends for major commodities, and comparative world rankings for mineral resources.

Australia is in the top five in the world as a producer of 20 out of 34 important commodities, including gold, bauxite, iron ore, rare earths, mineral sands, zinc, lead and coal. 

In 2016, Australia's mineral exports (excluding petroleum) amounted to a value of more than $151 billion. This was almost 46 per cent of the value of all exported goods and services. In the 2016-17 financial year, mining accounted for 7.4 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product.

As at December 2016, Australia had the highest Economic Demonstrated Resources in the world for gold, iron ore, lead, nickel, rutile, tantalum, uranium, zinc and zircon. In 2017, Australia had 301 operating mines.

Geoscience Australia and its predecessors have compiled a national inventory of mineral reserves and resource stocks annually since 1975. 

The Australian Government has given Geoscience Australia $100.5 million to lead Exploring for the Future, a four-year program that aims to boost Australia's attractiveness as a destination for investment in resource exploration. The data and information from the Exploring for the Future program will be made publicly available and released on an ongoing basis through the Geoscience Australia website.

AIMR 2017 is now available online at