Australia a key global player for iron ore, lithium and zinc production

New research published by The Gold Bullion Company shows Australia is ranked the top producer in the world for iron ore and lithium, and third for zinc production. 

The UK-based gold trading firm researches several countries’ commodity wealth, focusing on 10 precious and industrial metals, including the amount of metals produced and how much reserves are yet to be mined, as well as how many years are left until those countries experience a critical shortage. 

According to The Gold Bullion Company, Australia is the number one producer of iron, pumping out 944 million tonnes of iron ore per year — equal to 590 million tonnes of steel. The country also has the most iron in unmined reserves, with 58 billion tonnes and an estimated value of $6.4 trillion. 

Although Australia hosts the most iron ore reserves and produces the most in the world, the country is forecast to face a critical iron shortage in about 61 years. 

For lithium production, Australia is also the leading producer, generating about 74,700 tonnes per year. 

Australia is ranked second in the world for the most unmined lithium reserves, totalling 6.2 million tonnes, behind Chile, which hosts 9.3 million tonnes. 

Despite producing the most lithium in the world, Australia is closest to a critical shortage of the battery metal. The country is estimated to be in a lithium shortage in 83 years, followed by China in 133, and Brazil in 148. 

Notably, The Gold Bullion Company ranked Australia third in the world for zinc production, producing 1.2 million tonnes per year. China is ranked the leading zinc producer, producing about 4 million tonnes per year. 

However, Australia is thought to have the most zinc reserves in the world, hosting 64 million tonnes with an estimated value of $159.1 billion. 

On the gold front, Australia is ranked third for production with 314 tonnes per year. China is the number one gold producer, producing 375 tonnes, while Russia is second, with 325 tonnes. 

Yet, Australia has the most gold in unmined reserves, totalling around 12,000 tonnes with an estimated value of $832.5 billion. 

The Gold Bullion Company found Australia is not forecast to have a critical shortage of gold, unlike Mali, Ghana, China, and Tanzania, which are estimated to face a critical shortage in eight years. 

Write to Aaliyah Rogan at Mining.com.au   

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Written By Aaliyah Rogan
Relocated from the East Coast in New Zealand to Queensland Australia, Aaliyah is a fervent journalist who has a passion for storytelling. When Aaliyah isn’t writing stories, she is either spending time with friends and family or down at the beach.