Australia produces 19 useful minerals in significant amounts, from over 350 operating mines and copper is one of these minerals. Copper mines in Australia are distributed across South Australia (69%), New South Wales (14%), Queensland (10%), Western Australia (6%), and Tasmania (1%). There are developing copper projects in Victoria and the Northern Territory. In this article, we discuss copper mining statistics in Australia, copper exploration projects, copper mines, copper mining companies in Australia, uses of copper mined in Australia, and the best application for dust suppression in copper mines.

Copper mining statistics in Australia

Growing incomes, increased access to electricity and rapidly advancing technology have driven large increases in world copper demand over the last 100 years. Over the next 26 years, the world will consume more copper than what has been produced in all of history. The demand for copper is expected to increase by up to six times by 2040. There is a tremendous opportunity to develop new exports and deepen processing capabilities. Mine 2022 found that revenues rose by 32% among the top 40 miners globally, and net profit soared by 127% on the back of high commodity prices and prudent cost management. Here are some of the copper mining statistics in Australia:

  • 93 Mt in copper resources 
  • $10.4 billion export revenue 
  • 885 kt production 
  • $333 million exploration expenditure 
  • 43 operating copper mines 
  • 24 Mt world demand 

Copper exploration projects in Australia 

There is a lot of exploration and development happening across Australia. Some of the notable projects include OZ Minerals which produced its first mine concentrate in 2019 and commenced its expansion in 2021. Rio Tinto Ltd commenced drilling on its tenements in Western Australia, at the Winu copper-gold project in which ore is first expected in 2024. Development is happening at Hammer Metals Mt Isa project in Northwest Queensland, while Havilah Resources is developing the Kalkaroo project which is poised as the largest undeveloped open-pit copper discovery in Australia. Other development projects are happening in the Northern Territory, such as the Bonya joint venture shared between Arafura Resources and Thor Mining. Stavely Minerals is developing the Stavely copper-gold project in Western Victoria after the discovery of high-grade hits of up to 7.17% copper. 

Copper mines in Australia 

The copper mines in Australia map shows that these mines are spread across several States and Territories in the country. South Australia is home to four operational mines one of which is the biggest copper mine in Australia and the State holds the bulk of Australia’s demonstrated economic reserves of copper. Although South Australia has the most copper reserves, the State with the most mines is Queensland, where there are 14, followed by New South Wales with 12 and Western Australia with 9 mines. Some of these copper mines include: 

  • Olympic Dam 
  • Prominent Hill 
  • Carrapateena 
  • Enterprise 
  • X41 
  • Ernest Henry 
  • Cadia 
  • DeGrussa 

Copper mining companies in Australia 

South Australia has the world’s largest copper mining companies operating in Australia. There are different copper mining companies operating in Australia:

  • BHP Billiton Ltd.
  • Glencore Plc. 
  • Rio Tinto Ltd.
  • Newcrest Mining 
  • Northern Star Resources Ltd 
  • OZ Minerals Limited 
  • Independence Group NL
  • Liontown Resources Ltd
  • Sandfire Resources 
  • Western Areas NL
  • Core Exploration Ltd
  • Syrah Resources Limited 
  • Hammer Metals 
  • Havilah Resources 

Uses of copper once mined in Australia

Copper is more than just a mined metal, it provides jobs and promotes a higher standard of living. Copper is the metal of electrification and absolutely essential to the energy transition. One tonne of copper brings functionality to 40 cars, powers 100 000 mobile phones, enables operations in 400 computers and distributes electricity to 30 homes. The electric vehicle revolution has driven demand for copper. Electric vehicles require up to 4 times more copper than fossil-fuelled vehicles. Copper is needed to keep Australia’s lights on through electrical wiring. It is also sued in plumbing and appliances that are commonly used in Australian homes. The average Australian home contains 90kg of copper. Copper kills viruses and bacteria by destroying the membranes that it comes in touch with. 

Best practices for dust suppression in copper mines 

Global Road Technology is a world leader in dust suppression in an open pit, open cut, and underground copper mines. We have products for different areas of copper mining activities and operations which include: 

  • drill and blast operations – GRT: 12X & GRT: DC Binder 
  • haul roads – GRT Haul-Loc system 
  • low-volume roads – GRT: Haul-Loc 
  • stockpiles – GRT: Activate & GRT: Ore- Loc 
  • underground mining entrance yards – GRT: Wet-Loc 
  • conveyor belts and transfer points – GRT: Activate 
  • transportation – GRT: Ore-Loc 
  • port and shipping activities – GRT- Activate 

At GRT, we understand the importance of your time and strive to improve the customer experience. GRT Smart Product Finder empowers you to find the right GRT product for your copper mine site dust-related problems – quickly and easily!