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The Australian mining industry has been forecast to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.1% over the next four years, increasing from a valuation of US$83.9 billion in 2011, to hit a market value of US$106.6 billion by 2017. This will see the mining sector's share of GDP increasing from 5.6% in 2011 to 7.6 % in 2017.
Mining in Australia is a significant primary industry and contributor to the Australian economy. Historically, mining booms have also encouraged immigration to Australia. Many different ores and minerals are mined throughout the country.
Mining has had a substantial environmental impact in some areas of Australia. Although mining services, equipment and technology are being exported, the mining sector employs 2.2% of the total labour force.
Australia is set to remain a leading player in many segments of the global mining industry. Owing to its substantial deposits, the country possesses an array of minerals including iron ore, nickel, bauxite, copper, gold, silver, uranium, diamonds, zinc and coal.
Expansion within the market reflects overall increases in output and prices for a range of mineral commodities, including coal, oil, gas, iron ore, gold and base metals. However, commodity prices are often volatile, responding strongly to shifts in demand and supply; the upswing that followed the global financial crisis has turned into a downswing in the face of softening demand conditions.
Given its vast potential and high quality of infrastructure, Australia is home to some of the biggest players in the global mining industry. Multinationals operating in the Australian mining industry include Australian companies BHP Billiton, Newcrest Mining and large overseas miners such as Rio Tinto, Norilsk Nickel and Xstrata.
On the whole, Australia's mining sector is expected to remain dominated by large miners, with the exception of coal, which could become slightly more fragmented with the development of the Alpha and Galilee coal mines by Hancock Coal and Waratah Coal in 2013.
For more information on the Australian mining industry, see the latest research: Australian Mining Industry
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