Predicted Mining Export Boom for Australia

12th Oct 2018

Predicted Mining Export Boom for Australia

Australia is predicted to experience a new export boom thanks to the combination of a weaker Aussie dollar and the increasing global demand for coal, oil and LNG.

In the September edition of Resources and Energy Quarterly, the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science predicted Australia’s resources and energy export earnings in 2018–19 to reach “a new high of more than a quarter of a trillion dollars”.


Key Findings

In the publication, Chief Economist Mark Cully highlights the major resources that will contribute towards the prospective export boom for the country. The overall findings indicate “strong economic growth, industrial production and manufacturing output” for Australia, with resource and energy exports expected to hit a new record high of $252 billion in 2018–19, before falling back to $238 billion in 2019–20.

Thermal Coal

The strong demand for thermal coal was met with some concerns over supply, which has helped keep the prices relatively high over the past quarter, boosting the prospects for Australian export earnings.

  • Approximately 80% of Australia’s thermal coal is exported, with 44% of exports going to Japan.
  • Australian thermal coal prices have surged in recent months, and export volumes are forecast to grow from 203 million tonnes in 2017–18 to 208 million tonne in 2019–20.
  • Australia’s thermal coal export earnings reached a record $23 billion in 2017–18, driven by strong prices. Export earnings are forecast reach a new record of $25 billion in 2018–19, before declining to $19 billion in 2019–20, as lower prices offset rising export volumes.


Australia’s Liquefied natural gas (LNG) export earning reached a record high in 2017-18, and is predicted to keep on growing this year.

  • The value of Australia’s LNG exports is forecast to increase from $31 billion in 2017–18 to $48 billion in 2019–20, driven by higher export volumes and higher prices.
  • The completion of the final two LNG projects in Australia’s recent wave of LNG investment will underpin strong growth in export volumes and bring total export capacity to 88 million tonnes.


The publication also revealed the growing global market for lithium, with new mines opening in Western Australia and future prospects for the lithium industry across Australia.

  • The increased interest in lithium is intrinsically linked to the rising demand for electric vehicles, which is expected to create a huge market for battery-grade lithium.
  • Australia has 17% of the world’s lithium, making it the world’s biggest exporter.
  • Australian exports of spodumene ore (the precursor material for lithium) have increased from around $117 million in 2012 to $780 million in 2017, and are expected to rise to around $1.1 billion by 2020.

Gregsons Auctioneers

The quarterly Resources and Energy publication reveals the extent of the predicted export boom for 2018-19. With this boom comes an increased demand for tools and equipment across mines throughout WA & Australia. At Gregsons, we sell a huge range of Civil and Mining equipment and hold regular industry related auctions. Check out our Current Events and Items for Sale to see what’s happening at Gregsons.