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Resources and energy exports expected to surge to a new record

18 March 2020

Australia’s resource and energy export earnings are forecast to set a record of $299 billion in 2019-20, an increase of $18 billion from 2018-19.

Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia Keith Pitt said the latest Resources and Energy Quarterly (REQ) shows how resource and energy exports continue to support the Australian economy.

“The strength and diversity of Australia’s resource and energy commodities have allowed export earnings to overcome challenging world economic conditions — to the benefit of the Australian economy,” Minister Pitt said.

“Iron ore is expected to be the first commodity to exceed $100 billion in export earnings in a single year. This is a result of high prices, as well as decades of investment, innovation and automation, which have placed Australia at the forefront of the global iron ore market.

“Australia is also on track to become the world’s largest gold producer, expected to overtake China in 2021. Our world-class geological resources and innovative industry have allowed a rapid scale-up in production.

“With these types of numbers we are seeing that exploration expenditure is solid and that there is room for further growth. The best thing that we as a Government can do is to remove any red and green tape that will stifle investment and ensure that our policy settings and actions for managing challenges like COVID-19 are right,” Minister Pitt said.

As the Prime Minister has said, our focus right now is our plan to:

  • protect Australians’ health;
  • secure Australians’ jobs and livelihoods; and
  • set Australia up to bounce back stronger when the coronavirus crisis is over.

“The resources and energy sector is well positioned to lead this bounce-back thanks to the sound economic management of the Morrison/McCormack Government,” Minister Pitt said.

“Even if you’re not directly involved in the resources industry, all Australians see the benefits of the public infrastructure like roads and hospitals that the sector’s royalties help fund.

“Australia remains well placed to take advantage of growing market opportunities going forward.

“Our exports of coal, gas and uranium are crucial to global energy markets and our success in extracting and exporting lithium, copper, nickel and zinc also make Australia important in supporting new technology, including electric vehicles and batteries,” Minister Pitt said.

The latest REQ covers a five-year outlook period, highlighting the long-term structural changes which affect global commodity markets, including urbanisation, industrialisation and technological change.

This edition includes information on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on the commodity outlook. This impact is assumed to fall largely in the first half of 2020, with commodities affected in a range of different ways. Oil prices face particularly significant falls as global demand for air travel diminishes. However, gold prices are seeing a substantial gain as investors seek safe options, with Australia likely to benefit as our gold production grows.

The latest Resources and Energy Quarterly is available on the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website.