1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2003  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/01/2003   
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Contents >> Mining >> Introduction

Mining broadly relates to the extraction of minerals occurring naturally as solids such as coal and ores, liquids such as crude petroleum, or gases such as natural gas. Activities carried out at or near mine sites as an integral part of mining operations, such as dressing or beneficiation of ores or other minerals, are included. Natural gas absorption and purifying plants are also included. However, the first stage processing of minerals and mineral extracts, while closely related to the mining industry, is included as part of the manufacturing industry.

Australia continues to rank as one of the world's leading nations with substantial identified resources of major minerals and fuel close to the surface. The mining industry, though contributing only around 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 1% of total employment, is the nation's largest export earner. In 2000-01, it accounted for 26% of the total value of exports, principally from the coal, and oil and gas extraction industries. Over the years, the industry has also become the world's leading producer of mining software and high-technology mining services. Many of the ports, roads, railways and towns in Australia were built by exploration, production and downstream activities in the mining industry.

The mining industry has the highest average weekly earnings (average gross earnings) when compared to other industries. In May 2002, the average weekly earnings for all employees in this industry were $1,504, compared to the average of $687 for all industries.

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