Global demands for critical minerals powering Australia's record high resource exports

Australia’s resources and energy export revenues are set to hit new highs, with an ongoing surge in demand for materials needed for low-emissions technology such as batteries, solar panels and electric vehicles.


Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King said the Resources and Energy Quarterly publication for the September quarter 2022 forecasts Australian resources and energy exports to earn a record $450 billion in 2022–23, before easing to $375 billion in 2023–24.

She said the strong export revenue driven by the resources sector is supporting Australia’s economy and providing a welcome boost to Government revenue ahead of the 25 October budget.

“The Resources and Energy Quarterly report for the September quarter 2022 underlines the importance of the sector for Australia’s ongoing economic well being, and shows the outlook for Australian resources and energy remains strong,” Minister King said.

“The Treasurer has noted that the current high prices have helped contribute to a $27 billion boost to the budget bottom line for 2021–22, with the sector continuing to support our economy and more than 270,000 jobs.”

The record forecasts follow last-year’s $422 billion result, and comes despite easing iron ore prices and demand. Driving the rise in 2022–23 is the search for alternative sources of energy following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and a surge in the US dollar against the Australian dollar.

Minister King said Australia is experiencing strong growth in demand and prices for minerals that are crucial for low-emissions technology, such as lithium, copper and nickel, due to growing demand for electric vehicles, batteries and cleaner energy.

“The Resources and Energy Quarterly forecasts combined export earnings from copper, nickel and lithium are forecast to reach around $33 billion in 2022–23 from $22 billion in 2021–22," Minister King said.

“Lithium exports are continuing to grow, on the back of demand for batteries and electric vehicles. Lithium export earnings are forecast to increase more than ten-fold in just two years, from $1.1 billion in 2020–21 to almost $14 billion in 2022–23 before easing to around $13 billion in 2023–24.

Iron ore export earnings are forecast to ease from $119 billion in 2022–23 to $95 billion in 2023–24, reflecting moderating prices, more modest growth in global steel output, and rising iron ore supply.

The September 2022 Resources and Energy Quarterly is available on the Department of industry, Science and Resources website here.

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