Various kinds of raw materials are produced. Many of them, however, lie in dry areas very far away from bigger cities or harbours. Workers must build railroad lines or roads to the mines, which is a reason why mining is a very expensive industry in Australia. Foreign companies come to Australia to invest money to mine raw materials .
Australia is the world's Nr. 1 in the production of diamonds, bauxite and lead. It also produces a big quantity of coal, iron ore and nickel. Almost all of the world’s valuable opals are mined in Australia. The country also has much of the world’s uranium under its surface.
Gold mine in western Australia
Image: Brian Voon Yee Yap
About 60% of Australia is farmland, most of which is used to raise cattle and sheep. Farmers can grow wheat in many parts of the country because wheat doesn't need very much rain . Other products that are produced include sugar cane and bananas in the tropical north and fruits like apples, oranges and pears in the south.
Australia is the world's largest wool producer. Most of it is exported to countries all over the world. Winemaking is a part of the economy that has been growing very quickly. Grapes grow in the southern and south-eastern part of the continent and produce wine of excellent quality.
Not many people work on Australian farms because farmers have many machines to work with. Only about 5 % of the population are farmers, but they produce almost everything that the country needs.
Tourism has become very important for the economy of the country. Australia offers many sights like Ayers Rock, the Great Barrier Reef or Sydney Opera House. Because it is so far away from Europe and North America, it costs a lot to travel “down under”.
Tourist driving through the Northern Territory
Image: Tourism NT
Australia trades goods with many countries. China, Japan and other Asian countries buy Australian farm products like wheat and wool. Raw materials and minerals are also exported to European countries and to the USA. Japan is, however, Australia’s biggest customer. It buys most of the coal, iron ore and bauxite it needs for its big industries.