Australia's metal production industry
The Australian economy and community are strongly dependent on the current and future success of the nation’s vast mineral and metal production industries.
Our principal mineral and metal export earners in 2009–10 were iron and steel at $36 billion, metallurgical coal at $24 billion, base metals at $14 billion and aluminium at $3.8 billion.
In addition to earning export income, the mineral and metal production industries employ 158,000 people directly and an additional 505,600 indirectly through supporting businesses.
The availability of metals is central to the growth and success of manufacturing industries in Australia and is a key factor in maintaining our way of life and managing our future.
The Australian steel and aluminium industries were founded on the basis of Australia’s abundant resources and history of low-cost energy. Recent trends have placed the industry under pressure to improve its international competitiveness.
The industries are therefore looking for ways to reduce energy use and hence, greenhouse gas emissions. Because of high production volumes, the iron and steel industries offer the greatest potential for large reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, the establishment of ‘green’ steel and magnesium industries in Australia would significantly contribute to Australia’s economy and be consistent with the national strategy of value-adding rather than exporting minimally processed resources.