Minerals and Energy
South Australia is a leader in the exploration and discovery of uranium, copper-gold and mineral sands.
The State is home to one of the world's biggest copper, gold and uranium mines, Olympic Dam, and one of Australia's significant new coppergold mines at Prominent Hill. The expectation is that there are major discoveries and mining developments to come.
Mineral exploration remains at high levels, exceeding A$167 million in 2009-10. Mineral production values reached a record A$3.3 billion, and mineral exports reached A$2.85 billion in the same year to become the State's largest export category, accounting for 35 per cent of total merchandise export value.
South Australia is ranked 11th in the world for its mining policies in the Fraser Institute's 2010-11 survey of more than 75 mining jurisdictions worldwide. It also continues to earn the highest rank of Australian jurisdictions, and 12th in the world, in ResourceStocks magazine's 2010 World Risk Mining Survey.
The South Australian Government has worked to create a climate of certainty for longterm investors in the mining sector. Its 2009 update to the original and successful Plan for Accelerating Exploration (PACE) focuses on new methodologies and techniques for mineral and energy exploration and the development of bestpractice mine assessments, enabling projects to be approved faster and with less red tape.
Excellent joint venture and investment opportunities exist in exploration for gold, uranium, iron ore, nickel and heavy mineral sands in downstream processing, refining and the associated resources infrastructure and services.
There are many opportunities for suppliers of products and services to the resources industry. It is expected that there will be significant growth in demand in engineering, procurement, project management, maintenance, software and ICT, environmental management and infrastructure.
South Australia's benefits include:
- substantial amounts of copper, gold, uranium, minerals sands and base metals
- the Cairn Hill iron ore mine, which is using the innovative Rotainer system to transport orefrom mine to port in a one-step process
- the globally significant zircon mine, Jacinth-Ambrosia, constituting 25 per cent of the global zircon supply, and other extensive deposits of mineral sands in the Eucla and Murray basins
- the outstanding copper-gold-uranium discovery at Hillside and uranium discoveries
at Mullaquana and Beverley North and South
- iron ore in the Middleback Ranges west of Whyalla, and a steelworks manufacturing facility in Whyalla producing raw steel and long steel products
- the world's largest single-stream lead smelter at Port Pirie, where refined zinc, copper and silver are also produced
- large-scale processing, modern infrastructure and a skilled workforce familiar with advanced technology
- at least 30 resources projects at various stages of development.
South Australia has highly competitive energy costs by world standards with access to Australia's largest onshore oil and gas fields in the north of the State, which is also a hub of the national gas-distribution network.
In the field of renewable energy, extensive work is being undertaken on the development of geothermal energy in the far north, the Flinders Ranges and the lower south-east of the State. The South Australian Government has attracted more than 50 per cent of the total investment in wind power in Australia and 90 per cent of the geothermal investment .
With less than eight per cent of Australia's population, South Australia has more than 50 per cent of the nation's wind capacity.