Western Australia has a diverse and complex resources sector that covers exploration, production and downstream processing. It produces more than 50 different types of minerals from 1,046 operating mines and has around 50 operating oil and gas fields.
As a global resources hub, the State continues to investigate options to expand downstream processing to add to the existing value-added products it delivers to international and local markets.
The wide range of value-added products includes liquefied natural gas and oil products, nickel, alumina and fused alumina, titanium dioxide pigment, synthetic rutile, gold, fused zirconia, copper cathode, tantalum and tin, among others.
Of growing interest in Western Australia is the potential to process lithium and other strategic minerals, such as rare earth elements (REE), which play a crucial role in a wide range of technologies and industries.
Playing a key role in the development of Australia’s rare earths industry is the Perth-based research arm of the CSIRO’s Minerals Down Under Flagship. It supports industry through upstream and downstream processes (including pilot plant capabilities for a variety of unit operations used in rare earth refining), and has recognised capabilities in dealing with issues that may arise from the close proximity of rare earths to radioactive materials.
Western Australia is recognised as the most attractive mining investment jurisdiction in the world (according to Fraser Institute's 2015 Survey of Mining Companies
) and has a technologically advanced and competitive downstream processing industry. Advantages for investors include access to a wealth of low-cost mineral and petroleum resources, world-class mining services, a skilled workforce, innovative technology and expertise, and a sophisticated business sector.