Australian iron ore exports to top $135 billion this financial year

Australia is projected to earn A$136 billion from iron ore exports during this financial year, as global steelmaking activity rebounds from a COVID-led downturn.

A report released by the Australian government on Monday showed that the country’s most valuable economic export is expected to earn more than $100 billion per year for the next half decade.

Iron ore shipments are expected to rise from 900 million tonnes in 2020–21 to 1.1 billion tonnes by 2025–26. This growth should cement Australia’s position as the world’s number one iron ore exporter, even as Brazilian supply recovers from COVID-related restrictions.

The centre of Australia’s iron ore production industry is in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, where mining giants BHP, Rio Tinto and Fortescue Metals Group are all planning to extend existing mines with multi-million dollar investments.

The report by the Department of Industry also found that gains from the export of new energy materials like copper, lithium and nickel are expected to offset lower contributions from Australia’s thermal coal sector.

It forecast thermal coal exports falling to $15 billion for the year ending June 30, from $21 billion last year, and LNG export values decreasing to $33 billion this year from $48 billion last year.

Meanwhile, gold exports are expected to rise to $29 billion this year from $25 billion, as well as copper exports, which will increase to $12 billion from $10 billion.