Mining Industry A Catalyst For Transformation

Date posted: February 11, 2015

Australia has often been called the world’s biggest quarry in a disparaging sense, especially when disagreements between political parties over mining hit the media. While no thinking citizen wants to risk our natural wonders through environmentally irresponsible mining activity, the contribution to our economy by the mining industry must be acknowledged and applauded. This contribution is not recent, and kick-started our growth with the discovery of gold in the nineteenth century.

Now, in the twenty-first century, mining is not confined to gold, and accounts for 54% of our total goods and services. Currently, iron ore is king, followed by coal then bauxite. Smaller but equally important contributions are also made by alumina, copper, zinc, manganese, mineral sands, lead, gold, silver, uranium and nickel.

Mining Populates the Vast Interior

Much of our mineral resources are to be found in locations remote from existing infrastructure and labour. To extract and process, these minerals for both domestic consumption and export requires enormous investment in rail and road systems, rolling stock, shipping terminals and air services. Mining companies risk these investment millions before getting substantial financial returns, and have facilitated the construction of substantial towns with modern conveniences to attract mine employees.

Without the mining industry, companies like the Reay Services Group would not be thriving and making our own contribution. Our company provides pipelines, ancillary infrastructure and earthworks for the mining and mineral processing industries. We employ tradespeople, machine operators, drivers, supervisors and management for major mining projects.

Investment in Skills Development

Employment and ongoing skills development are just two of the wider benefits that flow to the general population as a result of mining activity in Australia. University graduates start their careers every year in mining and related pursuits. The services required in the towns established through mining include retail, health, dental, financial services, banking, education and entertainment. All these services require skilled workers who are attracted by the unhurried lifestyle.

Because mining in Australia is often conducted in inhospitable conditions, it has also contributed to an innovative attitude among miners, who often have to improvise when production is interrupted by a breakdown. The resourcefulness required to get things running again has resulted in many process improvements, now considered standard practice not only here, but throughout the world. For example, 60% of the world’s mines use Australian-made and designed software.

Local Communities Thrive with Mining Assistance

Like the mining companies we serve, the Reay Services Group engage with local communities to provide opportunities for young people in sport, recreation and education. We also actively work with the traditional owners of the land, and offer indigenous employees the opportunity to gain skills that will enrich their communities and inspire future generations.

Whenever we can influence debate about the drawbacks versus the benefits of mining, we like to remind detractors of Australia’s position as a world leader in mining technology and point to the wealth that mining has created to give us our current standard of living.