The latest Resources and Energy quarterly report from the department of industry, innovation and science, shows that in the final quarter of 2015 mining alone has increased its contribution to Australia’s economy by 50% over the last decade from 6% to 9% of GDP.
Australia’s resources and energy export earnings are forecast to be $166 billion. Although these figures are down on last year due to lower commodity prices, export earnings are projected to grow by more than 40% to $235 billion in real terms by 2019/2020.
The report highlights that mining alone continues to directly employ 220,000 people and many more indirectly, although it also points out that short term challenges do exist for these important sectors.
The report explains that slower economic growth in emerging economies is likely to limit consumption growth and a significant price recovery for commodities in the short term.
However, there are positive signs, most notably that global LNG demand is forecast to increase by 8% with Australian exports forecast to increase by 45% to be worth more than $20 billion in 2015/2016.
Australian iron ore export volumes are forecast to grow by 13% in 2016 and world copper, nickel, and zinc consumption are each forecast to increase by more than 3% in 2016.