What Are The Major Natural Resources Of Australia?

By Ferdinand Bada on November 23 2018 in Economics

An oil platform off the coast of Australia.
An oil platform off the coast of Australia.

Officially known as the Commonwealth of Australia, the country is a sovereign state that is primarily made up of the Australian continent’s mainland and other islands such as Tasmania. The country has an approximate area of 2,969,907 square miles, which makes it the sixth largest country in the world in terms of size. The country has a vast array of natural resources including things like minerals, agricultural land, energy from resources like natural gas, and natural land features that boost tourism. The government utilizes all these resources and others efficiently in a way that has made Australia one of the strongest global economies.


The mining sector is one of the major contributors to the economy of Australia. The country has large reserves of minerals such as iron ore, nickel, aluminum, copper, silver, gold, uranium, diamonds, opal, silica, and others. These reserves are some of the largest in the world. For example, Australia is second only to China in terms of gold production and mining. In 2016, the country accounted for around 9.2% of the world’s total gold production after mining around 287.3 metric tonnes of gold. Looking at the data, Australia is second in global production of several minerals with China mostly coming in the first position. Examples of such minerals include zinc, rare earth elements, and others. However, in some minerals like natural gas and coal, Australia is undoubtedly the leading producer in the world. 

Petroleum Reserves

The petroleum reserves in the country are also a significant natural resource with most of the reserves located in Western Australia. The country has vast petroleum resources including crude oil, natural gas, and condensate. Most of the petroleum products are exported to foreign markets although the country has several refineries for producing products for local use. The production of oil in the years after 1980 was in a state of decline until the early 2000s when the production began peaking. Looking at the natural gas reserves, estimates place them to be around a whopping 3,921 billion cubic meters. About 30% of these reserves are regarded as commercially proven. Oil shale reserves in the country are estimated to be around 58 billion barrels. Aside from these two resources, the country is also a producer of liquefied natural gas (LNG). The LNG from Australia in 2004 accounted for about 6% of the global trade.

Natural Land Features

Australia has several natural features that make it an attractive destination to visitors. The data shows that the tourism sector accounted for about 3.0% of the nation’s GDP between 2014 and 2015. The participation of the locals in local tourism has seen them contribute a whopping 73% of the total revenue form the tourism sector. In 2015 alone, Australia received about 7.4 million visitors. Such high figures are the reason why the sector employs more than half a million of the nation’s workforce.

Some of the more captivating natural features include the likes of the Great Barrier Reef, Shark Bay, The Pinnacles, the Twelve Apostles, Uluru, the MacKenzie Falls, and many more. The Great Barrier Reef is particularly interesting since it is the only feature on earth visible from space. The reef system has existed for at least 25 million years and stretches for about 1864.114 miles. The system has more than 1,000 types of coral as well as thousands of tropical fish species. Unfortunately, due to the high number of visitors every year, the unique feature has been extensively polluted.

The cultural heritage of the country has also been extremely well protected. An example of such a feature is a feature known as Uluru, which is a sacred site for the native Anangu people. Sometimes known as Ayers Rock, Uluru is a rock that has a height of about 1,142 feet and a circumference of about 5.8 miles. Depending on the time of day and the sun, the rock has different hues.

The land is also rich in nutrients that have made it possible for the large-scale production of grapes for making wine. The wine industry in the country is fourth in the world in terms of total exports. On average, the nation produces about 750 million liters of wine. A huge chunk of this wine, about 60%, is exported while the rest is consumed locally. Every state of the country produces wine. As of 2007, wine exports stood at around A$ 2.8 billion.

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