In 2018, Western Australia produced 33 per cent of the world’s iron ore. The State also accounted for large shares of the world’s production of rare earths (18 per cent), LNG (14 per cent), diamonds (11 per cent), alumina (10 per cent), illmenite (10 per cent), nickel (7 per cent), gold (6 per cent), zircon (4 per cent), salt (4 per cent), cobalt (4 per cent) and rutile (2 per cent).
Minerals and petroleum accounted for 91 per cent ($131.4 billion) of the State’s merchandise exports in 2018. Iron ore was the main export ($62.3 billion), followed by petroleum ($33.8 billion, including LNG, condensate, crude oil and LPG), and gold ($17.5 billion).
In October 2018, Western Australia had 63 per cent ($18.6 billion) of the nation’s committed resource projects, which underscores the State’s reputation as one of the world’s top-rated jurisdictions for investment attractiveness.
At $55 billion, the Gorgon Project – a 15.6 million tonne a year LNG plant on Barrow Island, off the north-west coast of Western Australia – is the largest single resource development in Australia’s history and one of the largest natural gas projects in the world.
Underlining Perth’s growing importance as a world energy leader is its membership as the only Australian city of the World Energy Cities Partnership. As one of 19 globally recognised 'energy cities', the City of Perth is committed to knowledge sharing and partnerships in energy-related activities, as well as exploring opportunities in a range of strategic areas, such as energy-related and environmental technologies.
However, unlike many other mining and energy cities in the world, Perth has a highly diverse resource base.
Western Australia produces more than 50 different commodities, more than any other state or territory in Australia. Western Australia’s mining industry consists of 127 predominantly higher-value and export-oriented mining projects, hundreds of quarries and small mines producing clays, construction materials, dimension stone, gypsum, limestone, limesand, spongolite, gems and semi-precious stones, as well as major mineral processing projects that produce alumina, refined gold, nickel matte, silicon metal and titanium dioxide.
Oil and gas onshore and offshore developments in the State are supported by a diverse oil and gas and related services sector of more than 900 companies, of which approximately half are international. In turn, this has attracted global finance, business, legal, aviation, transport and logistics firms.
Western Australia has become an incubator for one of the world’s largest and well regarded mining equipment, technology and services (METS) sectors. Many of the advances in mining-related software have their origins in local companies and their links to research institutes.
More recently, Perth has become the epicentre for the next technological change in the mining sector, through command and control centres using automation and remote systems to operate equipment more than 1,000 kilometres away. Leaders in the field include BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, FMG and Roy Hill.
The final component that cements Perth as a global resources hub is the fact that it is home to almost one third of all companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), which collectively account for the largest proportion of Australian mining companies in Africa, Latin America, Central Asia, and many other markets.