With a total export value of $93.5 billion in 2014-15, the minerals and petroleum industry accounted for 84 per cent of Western Australia’s merchandise exports and 54 per cent of Australia’s total mineral and energy exports.
The resource-rich state has global market shares in more than ten commodities, including iron ore, zircon, alumina, nickel, garnet, ilmenite, rutile, gold and diamonds.
Western Australia also has significant deposits of strategic minerals including the world’s largest known single deposit of lithium as well as reserves of rare earth elements.
Australian mining equipment, technology and services (METS) companies are globally competitive, having developed world cutting-edge technologies to cope with the remote and harsh conditions in which the mining industry operates.
Western Australia has the greatest diversity and concentration of service providers for both metal ore and non-metallic mineral mining in Australia, with more than 100 international mining and related supply-chain companies active in the State.
Perth is the headquarters of nine of Australia’s top 20 METS companies. It is also a centre of scientific and technological innovation for the sector, with global mining companies such as BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto providing collaborative support and funding for research and development projects.
Perth has become the global operational centre for the mining sector’s adoption of automation, remote control systems and big data analytics. It also has become a global hub for the development of mining software capabilities.
Other industry capabilities include consulting, software and technology, communications, safety equipment and services, instrumentation, core engineering design and project management, core mining and processing equipment and water management.
According to peak industry body Austmine, more than 89 per cent of METS companies in Western Australia are Australian owned, 50 percent of Australia’s METS companies export their products; 41 per cent of Australian exporters have offices or operations overseas.