About gold in Australia
Australia is the world's second largest producer of gold after China. Approximately two-thirds of all production comes from mines in Western Australia.
Gold is one of Australia's top ten commodity exports and is worth about $14 billion per year. Australia is estimated to have about 11 per cent of the world's Economic Demonstrated Resources (EDR) of gold, the second largest after Chile and ahead of Russia, the USA and Indonesia.
Western Australia has just over 40 per cent of Australia's gold EDR distributed across a large number of deposits. South Australia and New South Wales have substantial quantities of gold EDR.
Gold has long been a medium of exchange and investment and is widely used to produce coins. Governments of many countries include holdings of gold as part of their monetary reserves and financial institutions and individuals also use gold as a store of wealth.
The main uses of gold are jewellery, dentistry and for artistic purposes. Gold's electrical conductivity, malleability and ductility make it a preferred metal in many applications including electronic and computer circuitry, radar equipment and satellites.
Australia has substantial gold resources located in all states and the Northern Territory, but predominantly in Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales.
Most gold-containing ores comprise of finely divided gold particles within other minerals, commonly sulphides. The gold extraction process separates and concentrates the gold. Depending on gold mineralogy and deportment, gold is usually separated from the other constituents of the ore by chemical dissolution in cyanide.
The development and implementation of the International Cyanide Management Code is the important and responsible action by gold producers, cyanide manufacturers and associated transportation companies. The Code provides comprehensive guidance for best practice in the use and management of cyanide at gold mines around the world and reaches beyond the requirements of most governments and regulatory agencies.
The Department of Resources, Energy and Tourism (RET) published a handbook as part of the Leading Practice Sustainable Development Program for the Mining Industry on Cyanide Management.
About copper in Australia
Australia is the world's the fourth largest producer of copper.
Copper is one of Australia's top ten commodity exports, worth about $6 billion a year. Copper is an important metal widely used in electrical applications, plumbing and other building applications, and in metal alloys because of its high thermal and electrical conductivity and ductile behaviour.
Australia is estimated to have about 13 per cent of the world's economic resources of copper, the second largest after Chile and ahead of Peru, Mexico, the USA, Indonesia and China. Almost 75 per cent of Australia's copper EDR is in South Australia, predominantly in the giant Olympic Dam deposit. There are substantial copper EDR in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia.
Australia has substantial copper resources located in all states and the Northern Territory, but predominantly in Queensland and South Australia. Copper mining takes place in all states and the Northern Territory with most production coming from major mines in the Mount Isa region in Queensland and at the Olympic Dam mine in South Australia.
Australia is a member of the International Copper Study Group, an intergovernmental organisation which provides opportunities for regular consultations on international trade issues related to copper.
For more information see the gold and copper pages on the Geoscience Australia website.
For more information about minerals in Australia, see Australian Mineral Commodities.
Information about the International Cyanide Management Code can be found at the International Cyanide Management Code website.