Australian exports forecast for record year in 2019/20

19th December 2019

By: Esmarie Iannucci

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia


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PERTH ( - Australia’s resource and energy export earnings are forecast to set a record A$281-billion in 2019-20, up from A$279-billion in 2018-19, new data from the Office of the Chief Economist has revealed.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan noted that the record earnings are underpinned by rising export volumes of iron-ore, liquefied natural gas (LNG) and gold, while tech-era commodities such as lithium are set to earn Australia A$1.6-billion in export earnings in 2020-21, with the potential for multiples of this number by the end of the next decade.

“The tremendous diversity of Australia’s resource and energy commodity exports has effectively helped to hedge the Australian economy against swings in global conditions,” Canavan said.

“The record earnings are underpinned by rising export volumes of iron-ore, LNG and gold. And tech-era commodities such as lithium are set to earn Australia A$1.6-billion in export earnings in 2020-21, with the potential for multiples of this number by the end of the next decade.

“Our mining sector brought in a whopping 35% of our gross domestic product in the year to the September quarter 2019, and we are fending off the impact of challenging global conditions because of increasing demand for our commodities and falling world prices.

“The December Resources and Energy Quarterly focuses on resource and energy commodity investment, which is also showing signs of rising due to a healthy pipeline of projects. The majority of these projects are brownfield expansions, but greenfield projects including the Adani Carmichael coal mine are notable inclusions.”

This is the first time the Adani Carmichael mine has been included as a ‘committed’ project in the Resources and Energy Quarterly’s Major Projects list. 

The A$2-billion Carmichael mine is now in construction and will produce 10-million to 15-million tonnes of high quality thermal coal a year, ramping up to 27.5-million tonnes.

Adani already has 800 people working across Queensland and the company estimates the Carmichael project will create around 1 500 direct construction jobs and almost 7 000 supporting jobs. More jobs will be created as the mine’s capacity grows.

“More than A$220-billion worth of projects, currently at the ‘publicly announced’ and ‘feasibility’ stages, could progress to the final investment decision stage in the early 2020s,” Canavan said.

“LNG, iron-ore and coal account for around A$200-billion of the potential A$240-billion of projects in the investment pipeline. Oil and gas extraction has been the largest contributor to mining industry value-added growth in the past few years, propelled by our rapidly growing LNG exports.

“While we are not expected to see a return to the levels seen during the last investment phase, there are some significant opportunities for Australia’s resources and energy sector. That underlines the importance of the government’s agenda to pursue new investment in the sector, new export markets and reduce red and green tape.”

The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (Appea) has meanwhile pointed out that LNG exports have more than doubled over the last few years and are contributing significantly to this growth.  LNG is now Australia’s second largest export after iron ore, with export value forecast to reach $49.3 billion in 2019-20.

Appea CEO Andrew McConville said the data highlighted the significance of LNG exports for sustaining Australia’s economic growth, maintaining living standards and lowering global carbon emissions.

“Australia’s LNG projects will deliver decades of economic growth, jobs and exports. The billions of dollars invested in these projects has also benefitted the growing domestic market.”

“The LNG industry is and will remain a very large supplier of domestic gas to the east coast gas market. Investment in LNG projects has significant flow-on benefits across all parts of Australia.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter


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