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Australian resource exports rise in 2021 - ABS

Image shows cargo ship being loaded with iron-ore

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4th February 2022

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( – New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has shown that Australia’s resources and energy exports in 2021 were up almost one-third on the previous year. 

The ABS’ International Trade in Goods and Services data for December 2021 shows total resources and energy exports were worth A$348.9-billion in the 12 months to December, which was 29% higher than for the previous 12 months to December 2020.  

Minister for Resources and Water Keith Pitt said the latest monthly figures show Australia’s resource and energy exports continue to surge in record territory.

“It is important to thank the men and women in our resources and energy sector for their stellar work in ensuring our valuable commodities are meeting global demand. These export earnings continue to create and sustain jobs for Australians, particularly in regional areas.

“It also means the resulting royalties can continue to fund the infrastructure and services we rely on, such as schools, roads and hospitals.”

Pitt pointed out that coal was again a major contributor with exports totalling A$23.8-billion in the three months to December 2021, some 156% higher than for the same period to December 2020.

“Liquefied natural gas exports saw a similar increase. The A$18.3-billion earned in the three months to December 2021 was 148% higher than for the same period in the previous year.

“Iron-ore exports earnings eased to A$24.9-billion in the three months to December 2021, down 29% on the previous period as prices came down from record levels. However, exports were A$154.2-billion in the year to December 2021, up 32% on the previous year.

“Resources remain far and away Australia’s biggest export earner, and continue to underpin the strength of the national economy,” Pitt said.

“The outlook for our resources and energy sector continues to be positive as global demand for Australian resources remains strong, particularly for our coal and gas. The most recent forecast estimated resources and energy exports would reach a record high of A$379-billion this financial year and these latest figures suggest that target will be achieved.”

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) noted that the growth in resource revenue has delivered Australia its largest ever trade surplus, at A$123-billion, during the Covid-19 pandemic, at a time when it needed economic stimulus the most.

“This record growth demonstrates the importance of Australia’s mining industry to our economy,” said MCA CEO Tania Constable.

“Ongoing demand for resources is driving the 258 000 direct mining jobs, with significant benefits flowing to all of Australia and particularly regional communities. Australia is proving again how its highly skilled, innovative mining workforce is competitively supplying the minerals for the future.

“But we can’t take these great trade figures for granted. More must be done to attract the investment needed for new projects in Australia to meet growing world demand for minerals for everyday living and to drive the energy transition to net-zero emissions,” Constable said.

She noted that over a decade ago, the investment phase of the mining boom underpinned the nation’s rebound from the Global Financial Crisis with over A$370-billion spent in the five years to 2014 developing new resources projects and building critical infrastructure in regional areas.

“Today, we see massive benefits from this investment. While Australia has significant endowments of copper, lithium, nickel, gold and rare earth elements, developing these deposits into the mines of the future is far from guaranteed.

“Globally competitive tax rates, more workplace flexibility and increased government funding for pre-competitive exploration programs are all essential to mining’s long-term future and Australia’s economic prosperity. And when the mining industry is strong, all Australians benefit.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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