Mining exports continue to support Australia’s growth

September quarter national accounts confirm the mining sector’s continued strong contribution to economic growth in Australia.

Despite tougher market conditions, Australian miners have continued to drive record export volumes.

ABS figures show that mining was the largest industry contributor to Australia’s economic growth in the September quarter, accounting for almost half (0.4 percentage points) of the 0.9 per cent growth rate.

Strong growth in mining activity over the quarter (5.2 per cent) underpinned the 1.5 percentage point contribution to growth from net exports.

The increase in gross value added by mining in the year to September 2015 was 4.1 per cent, led by 8.2 per cent growth for iron ore mining.

Mining’s strong performance in the September quarter is consistent with the analysis in The Australian Industry Report 2015, released today by the Office of the Chief Economist in the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science.

The department observes that over the past year the resources sector has continued to transition from the investment phase to the production phase of the mining boom.

Mining output increased by 7.6 per cent in 2014-15 and the sector was the largest contributor to GDP growth, adding 0.6 percentage points. The department projects that the value of Australia’s resources and energy exports will increase by around 50 per cent by 2019-20.

The temptation in some quarters to downplay mining’s contribution to Australia’s current and future growth prospects is belied by today’s national accounts figures and by The Australian Industry Report 2015.

Mining remains a central pillar of Australia’s economy, the transition from the investment to the production phase of the mining boom continues to unfold and ensuring government policies sustain Australia’s strong comparative advantage in mining is more important than ever.

By John Kunkel, Deputy Chief Executive,
Minerals Council of Australia