Australia is one of the world’s largest gold producer, and is considered as second only to China. This is an impressive feat considering that Australia still has undiscovered land where natural resources can be mined if discovered. As things currently stand, Australia is exporting more than $15.5 billion worth of gold (as of 2011-12), which when supplemented by their iron ore and coal productions make them one of the largest mining countries in the world.
The gold production industry is credited as the primary driver of economic activity and employment in many parts of Australia, with the Australian Bureau of Statistics stating that their gold mining industry is responsible for more than 16,081 direct employment in 2011 alone, with more than 2/3rds of the gold companies supporting structured training, and apprenticeship and training programs. The Australian gold industry’s support for employment to training its employees show by how mining companies spend more than 4% of their payroll on both unaccredited and accredited training, with more than 59% of companies implementing paid apprenticeship programs.
Gold Industry Revenue
The gold industry is one of the key contributors to Australia’s government revenues via royalties and taxes. The period between 2011-2012 saw the industry pay as much as $300 million in royalties to the state and territory governments. The last decade saw an estimated amount of royalty payments numbering to almost $2 billion.
Where or When Did it All Start?
One cannot argue that gold has been in Australia for a long time now, but It was only officially (by which we mean documented) discovered in April 1851 in Bathurst, New South Wales. This happened around the time of the Californian gold rush in the USA, and so the declaration of the discovery of gold allowed prospecting and a way to grow their population and economic growth.
Australia got its own version of a gold rush a decade after the announcement of the discovery of gold. The rush caused a great degree of dislocation in other sectors and industries, with wages of miners seeing as much as a five fold increase. The rush was tumultuous, but the industry self-corrected and peaked in 1853 and 1856 after new gold sources were discovered in NEw South Wales and Victorian colonies, as well as Queensland, Western Australia, and Tasmania.
The Australian Gold Industry in Modern Times
Gold is no longer Australia’s biggest export earner, but it is a very important part of the country’s export earnings. It contributes directly to the country’s economy via the national accounts, but also has knock on effects in other areas. For instance gold mines are usually situated in remote areas where employment is scarce, thus providing locals with a source of income and steady employment.
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Basically, gold is an important part of Australia’s identity and health as a nation. Ever since its discovery boosted the country’s revenue, its continued profitability helped enable the Colonial governments to drive rapid population growth and even more rapid development of their agricultural sector. Gold helped a great deal in transforming the country from a bunch of semi-independent colonies of the British Empire to a Federation that has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world.
For more information about Australia’s goldmines view this video: