Energy and mining is a diverse and significant sector of the South Australian economy. It contributes $8.7 billion or 7.9% of our economic output through energy generation, storage, distribution and retail services, mineral resources, extractive materials, oil and gas, value-added processing and products from resources, equipment, technology and services, and direct construction of new projects.
The sector contributed $323 million in royalties, $5.5 billion in exports and employed 49,169 people across South Australia in 2019–20.
Mineral, oil and gas exports increased from $4.3 billion 2019–20 to $5.5 billion in 2020–21, representing 43% of the state's exported goods.
There was some volumetric increase despite the challenges presented by COVID-19. Record high prices for copper and iron ore led export growth. Gross sales for copper increased significantly from $2.3 billion to $3.35 billion, iron ore increased from $1 billion to $1.6 billion. Export sales of uranium and heavy mineral concentrates declined marginally year on year but remain at historically high levels.
- Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, International Trade in Goods and Services, Australia
- Department for Energy and Mining Resource Production Statistics
For the third consecutive year, royalties climbed. Record copper production from Olympic Dam, new production from recently opened Carrapateena, buoyant iron ore prices and sustained output from the world's largest zircon mine at Jacinth Ambrosia contributed to strong sales and royalties.
People employed in energy and mining and its associated equipment, technology and services sector increased by more than 5,000 between 2018–19 and 2019–20, on the back of significant mine development and construction.
The trend of jobs growth continued in 2021. The Resources Engineering and Skills Alliance (RESA) quarterly Hiring Intentions Report shows record high hiring intentions since RESA began reporting in 2013.
- BDO EconSearch (2021), Energy and Mining Satellite Account Economic Indicators 2019/20 (PDF 906.4 KB)
- RESA South Australian Mining and Energy Hiring Intentions Report Q4 FY20-21
Energy and mining contribution
The contribution of energy and mining to South Australia’s economy declined slightly from $9.2 billion in 2018–19 to $8.7 billion in industry gross value added in 2019–20, with reduced investment, smelter and energy output.
While economic contribution data for 2020–21 is not yet available, it is expected to increase in line with the more recent buoyant activity, including both a record high resources production value and $2.1 billion in mineral, oil and gas resources capital investment.
In 2020–21, South Australia’s 300-plus mineral and petroleum operators produced record combined sales for minerals, oil and gas of $8.5 billion – close to $1 billion above the previous record. This includes a record $7.1 billion in mineral commodity sales.
ABS reported in November 2021 the South Australian economy grew by 3.9% in 2020–21. Detailed energy and mining data is not yet available. Mining was reported to have maintained its economic contribution at $3.9 billion in 2020–21.