The state of Australia's mining industry

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For the last ten years, Australia has experienced a prosperous mining boom which has boosted the nation's economy and provided a significant amount of revenue - however the peak of this boom has been widely identified as coming to a close.

Despite this, lately the nation's focus has been on developing and commercialising its national liquefied natural gas (LNG) resources, as well as coal seam gas - particularly in eastern Australia. This has caused some Australians to worry about the potential for a rise in domestic gas prices through the resource's disclosure to international markets.

With mining in this current state of flux, the Grattan Institute - an independent think tank focused on developing quality public policy for Australia - researched and released a report titled The mining boom: impacts and prospects, written by Jim Minifie, productivity growth program director at the Grattan Institute. Around $400 billion was invested in the mining boom throughout the last decade - so how does a nation cope when that figure falls?

The report delves some of the issues Australia may face post-mining boom, such as potential damage from a high dollar especially to industries which face international competition.

Promisingly, the report predicts that manufacturing industries, for example, should be able to recover quickly once the exchange rate drops.  It's recommended that governments should continue to invest in education and skills so that Australians can acclimatise to a consistently changeable economy, especially as the nation's "longest and largest boom in 150 years winds down."

While the mining boom slows down overall, the government's commitment to the LNG industry in Australia shows that all is not over yet in the industry.

"Australians must have access to secure, reliable and competitively priced energy on a long term basis. Our abundant natural gas resources are integral to the prosperity of the Australian economy, as a reliable energy source for manufacturing, electricity generation and for residential use," said Gary Gray, minister for resources and energy in May of this year.

Currently a study is under commission to investigate the possibilities of an eastern gas market, which should be finished by the end of 2013, so that more informed decisions can be made.

"This study will inform the policy-makers of the gas demand-supply situation, and help identify potential supply constraints," said Mr Gray.

Posted by Callum Fleming