Major Industries in Australia

Major Industries in AustraliaIf we are talking about Major Industries in Australia we need to start with Economic of Australia. Australia Economy is a highly developed mixed economy. Its GDP was estimated at AUS1.89 trillion as of 2019. In 2018 Australia became the country with the largest median wealth per adult but slipped back to second highest after Switzerland in 2019. Australia’s total wealth was AUD$10.9 trillion as of September 2019. In 2020, Australia was the 13th-largest national economy by nominal GDP, 18th-largest by PPP-adjusted GDP, and was the 25th-largest goods exporter and 20th-largest goods, importer. Australia took the record for the longest run of uninterrupted GDP growth in the developed world with the March 2017 financial quarter, the 103rd quarter and marked 26 years since the country had a technical recession (two consecutive quarters of negative growth).


Although the primary manufacturing industry is one of the major industries in Australia, manufacturing in Australia is still a significant industry. At that time, manufacturing accounted for 48% of exports, and 45% of Australian research and development. The manufacturing industry, with 40% going to the textile, clothing and footwear industry and the passenger motor vehicle industry. Manufacturing accounted for 48% of exports, and 45% of Australian research and development.

The food and beverage manufacturing industry is the largest in Australia. It consists of

  • Meat and meat products,
  • Beverage and malt manufacturing,
  • Dairy products,
  • Sugar and confectionery manufacturing,
  • Fruit and vegetable processing,
  • Bakery products,
  • The flour mill and cereal food manufacturing,
  • Oil and fat manufacturing,
  • Seafood processing.

As of 2010, 3 companies started manufacturing cars in Australia: GM-Holden, Ford and Toyota. Holden bodyworks are manufactured at Elizabeth, South Australia and engines are produced at the Fishermens Bend plant in Port Melbourne, Victoria. In 2006, Holden’s export revenue was just under 00 million. Ford has two main factories, both in Victoria: located in the Geelong suburb of Norlane and the northern Melbourne suburb of Broadmeadows. Until 2006, Toyota had factories in Port Melbourne and Altona, Victoria. Since then, all manufacturing has been at Altona.


Mining in Australia is a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. Historically, mining booms have also encouraged immigration to Australia. Throughout Australia, many mines of different ores and minerals can be found. This contributes to huge growth for Major Industries in Australia.

Gold rushes

In 1851, gold was found near Ophir, New South Wales & newly established colony of Victoria. Australian gold rushes, in particular the Victorian Gold Rush, had a major lasting impact on Victoria, and on Australia as a whole. The influx of wealth that gold brought soon made Victoria Australia’s richest colony by far, and Melbourne the island’s largest city. By the middle of the 1850s, 40% of the world’s gold was produced in Australia. Australia’s population changed dramatically as a result of the gold rushes: in 1851 the population was 437,655 and a decade later it was 1,151,947; the rapid growth was predominantly a result of the new chums (recent immigrants from the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth states) who contributed the ‘rush’.

Although most Victorian goldfields were exhausted by the end of the 19th century, and although much of the profit was sent back to the UK, sufficient wealth remained to fund substantial development of industry and infrastructure.

Minerals and resources

Large quantities of minerals and resources are available in Australia. These Mines & Mineral helps the Major Industries in Australia to grow. These include:

  • Iron ore – Australia was the world’s third-largest supplier in 2008 after China and Brazil, supplying 342 million metric tonnes.
  • Nickel – Australia was the world’s second-largest producer in 2006 after Russia. Bauxite/aluminum
  • Copper
  • Gold – Australia is the second-largest producer after China.
  • Silver
  • Uranium – Australia is responsible for 16% of the world’s production and was the world’s third-largest supplier in 2009 after Kazakhstan and Canada.
  • Diamond – Australia has the third largest commercially-viable deposits after Russia and Botswana
  • Opal – Australia is the world’s largest producer of opal, being responsible for 95% of production.
  • Coal – Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal and fourth-largest producer of coal behind China, USA and India.
  • Oil shale
  • Petroleum – Australia is the twenty-eighth largest producer of petroleum
  • Natural gas
  • Rare earth

Much of the raw material mined in Australia is exported overseas to countries such as China for processing into refined product. Energy and minerals constitute two thirds of Australia’s total exports to China, and more than half of Australia’s iron ore exports are to China


Every state of Australia has coal mines. The most common purpose of to generate electricity and is export. Australia export 75% of the coal they produce, mostly to eastern Asia. In 2000/01, 258.5 million tonnes of coal was mined, and 193.6 million tonnes exported, rising to 261 million tonnes of exports in 2008–09. Coal also provides about 85% of Australia’s electricity production. Australia is the world’s leading coal exporter.


Uranium mining in Australia began in the early 20th century in South Australia. Australia contains 23% of the world’s proven estimated uranium reserves. In recent decades opposition to uranium mining in Australia has increased, resulting in many government inquiries into its extraction. The three largest uranium mines in the country are Olympic Dam, Ranger Uranium Mine and Beverley Uranium Mine. Two more uranium mines Honeymoon Uranium Mine & Four Mile Uranium Mine started functioning.


Based on 2008 CSIRO report, Australia estimated have stranded gas reserves with about 140 trillion cubic feet or enough to fulfil the needs of a city with one million people for 2,800 years.


A number of large multinational mining companies including BHP Billiton, Newcrest, Rio Tinto, Alcoa, Chalco, Shenhua (a Chinese mining company), Alcan and Xstrata operate in Australia. There are also a lot of small mining and mineral exploration companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX). Overall, the resources sector represents almost 20% of the ASX market by capitalisation, and almost one-third of the companies listed.

Mining contributes about 5.6% of Australia’s GDP. This is up from only 2.6% in 1950, but down from over 10% at the time of federation in 1900. In contrast, mineral exports contribute around 35% of Australia’s exports. Australia is the world’s largest exporter of coal (35% of international trade), iron ore, lead, diamonds, rutile, zinc and zirconium, second largest of gold and uranium, and third largest of aluminium.

Japan was the major purchaser of Australian mineral exports in the mid-1990s. Of the developed countries, perhaps only in Canada and Norway does mining play as significant a part in the economy; for comparison, in Canada mining represents about 3.6% of the Canadian economy and 32% of exports, and in Norway mining, dominated by petroleum, represents about 19% of GDP and 46% of exports. By comparison, mining in the United States contributes about 1.6% to its GDP. Despite its export importance, the mining sector employs only a small proportion of the workforce – roughly 129,000 Australians, representing only about 1.3% of the total labour force.

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