South Australia’s mining exports reach $5 billion, setting new records

South Australian mineral and petroleum exports increased by 14.3 per cent to more than $5 billion in 2023, according to new ABS figures.

South Australia witnessed a surge in its mineral and petroleum exports in 2023. The latest figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), notes that exports soared by a notable 14.3 per cent, surpassing $5 billion.

The ABS reported a record export figure of $17.9 billion for 2023, with the resources sector contributing a substantial $5 billion.

Notably, this figure does not include an additional $2 billion in confidential energy and mineral goods, primarily comprising copper ores and uranium.

Iron and steel, refined copper, and lead emerged as the primary contributors, accounting for more than $3 billion of the total $7 billion. Copper, in particular, emerged as a significant export driver, while iron ore exports reached almost $1.2 billion in the 2023 calendar year.

“We are seeing the resources sector thrive as we focus on the global energy transition,” Tom Koutsantonis says.

“With the purchase of Carrapateena and Prominent Hill copper mines through their acquisition of Oz Minerals last year, we are seeing BHP send more copper ore to Olympic Dam’s smelter.

“Shifting towards exporting more value-added products, like refined copper, is the right direction for South Australia’s economy. It means more jobs in South Australia. It means more complexity in our economy.”

The potential for growth is immense, with South Australia boasting 16.8 billion tonnes of magnetite iron resource across the Northern Gawler, Southern Gawler, and Braemar provinces. Leveraging hydrogen for beneficiation presents a promising avenue for further expansion.

The sector’s exploration expenditure in 2023 hit its highest point since 2012. This resurgence mirrors the fervor of the mining boom, reminiscent of the days when Oz Minerals invested heavily in discovering the Carrapateena and Prominent Hill copper mines, now under the ownership of BHP.

Koutsantonis says copper’s indispensability to electrification technologies makes it a critical mineral for global decarbonisation. Forecasts predicting a surge in global copper demand surpassing current supply capabilities presents a very big opportunity for South Australia.
“We host 70 per cent of Australia’s copper resource. We’re in prime position to open up opportunities for growing our economy through our resource exports and assist other countries as they transition to low carbon economies,” he says.

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