9 Biggest Mining Companies In Australia (2022)

Australia is a country rich in mineral resources. The top mining companies in Australia are also some of the biggest, most solid mineral extraction companies in the world. They account for a great part of the employment figures recorded in Australia, and also a great part of the overall economy. Some of these companies are owned by the richest people in the country, and they have succeeded in bringing financial stability to hundreds of thousands of Australian families.

Some of these mining companies have been in existence for over 70 years, and have served 3 generations of owners and workers. Some of them have expanded beyond the shores of Australia, and others have become diversified energy companies; doing a lot more than just digging holes in the ground in search for mineral resources.

Some of these mining companies remain some of the largest employers in Australia, and the biggest generators of wealth.

Top 10 Biggest Mining Companies In Australia

1. BHP Group

Number of Employees: 80,000

Company Business Interests: Mining, Metals, Petroleum

BHP Billiton is one of the biggest energy companies in the world, and was founded in 1885, and has grown to a mega establishment with US$104.783 billion in assets. Their Australia operations of this company include: mining of Metals, refining of said metals, and also the production and refinement of Petroleum products. BHP Billiton has over 80,000 employees, and is publicly traded in the London Stock Exchange and Australia Stock Exchange.

2. Rio Tinto Group

Number of Employees: 45,000

Company Business Interests: Aluminum, Copper, Gold

Rio Tinto Group is a UK and Australia based Metals and Mining Company- one of the biggest not just in Australia but in the whole world. The company was founded in 1873, and has grown into a monumental business with over US$97.390 billion in assets.

The company’s major strength may be its successful diversification of its mining operations: aluminum, copper, diamonds, gold, industrial minerals (borates, titanium dioxide and salt), iron ore, and uranium are all produced by this company.  Rio Tinto has more than 46,007 employees, and operations in around 35 countries.

3. Wesfarmers

Number of Employees: 107,000

Company Business Interests: Retail, Home Improvement, Chemicals, Coal Mining

Wesfarmers is actually a huge conglomerate with a diverse range of interests including: supermarkets, liquor, hotels and convenience stores; home improvement; office supplies; department stores; and chemicals, energy and fertilizers. They are also into the mining of coal. Wesfarmers is one of the biggest conglomerates in Australia with over $25.4 billion in total assets.

Even though the company has 107,000 employees, the mining operations are just a small part of the business. The most recognizable brand under the Wesfarmers umbrella is Bunnings; which is a home improvement supply chain- one of the biggest employers in New South Wales.

4. Fortescue Metals Group

Number of Employees: 11,000

Company Business Interests: Mining Mainly Iron Ore

Fortescue Metals Group is an Australian mining company; they are the biggest iron ore producers in the world; with an annual production capacity of over 170 million tons of iron ore per annum. The company was founded in 2003, but already has untapped fields in Western Australia bigger than both BHP and Rio Tinto. The company has over 11,000 workers, and over A$48.05 billion in total assets.

5. Newcrest Mining

Number of Employees: 1,650

Company Business Interests: Gold

Newcrest Mining is one of the biggest mining companies in Australia. Its operations are mostly in Melbourne, and it is one of the biggest producers of gold in the world. Newcrest Mining was founded in 1966, and has now grown to a multinational mining establishment with operations in Australia, Ivory Coast, Papua New Guinea, and several other places. The company has over 1,650 people in its payroll.

6. South32

Number of Employees: 14,192

Company Business Interests:

South32 is a Mining and Metals company headquartered in Perth, Australia. The company broke out of BHP Billiton in 2015, and has already become one of the largest mining establishments in the country. Some of the company’s products include: Aluminum, Coal, Lead, Manganese, Nickel, Silver, and Zinc.  South32 has over 14,192 people in its payroll, and has multiple locations in several countries. The company is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange, and also on the South African Stock Exchange. The company has refining operations in Brazil.

7. Orica

Number of Employees: 12,000

Company Business Interests: Mining Contractors

Orica is a drilling and mining contracting company in Australia. They provide commercial explosives, drilling and blasting services to Australian mining companies to boost productivity. The company has businesses in more than 100 countries. They are the most trusted drilling company in the country; working with even the biggest mining corporations.

8. Bluescope Steel

Number of Employees: 14,000

Company Business Interests: Mining and Producing Steel

BlueScope Steel broke out of BHP Billiton in 2003. The company produces coated and painted steel products. Since 2003 the business has grown in leaps and bounds; it is now a major employer with over 14,000 employees, and 100 facilities in over 18 countries. The company mines its own iron ore, and gets supplies from its sister companies; and goes a long way to meet the demands of the global construction, ship building and equipment sectors.

9. Northern Star Resources

Number of Employees: 3,851

Company Business Interests: Gold, Iron Ore

Northern Star Resources was established in 2003; it is a gold mining company that also has operations outside Australia- the company is also present in America. The company’s headquarters is in Perth, Australia.

The company has at least 7 gold mines of different sizes and capacities. At the time of the company’s founding it was interested in mining for iron ore; although it soon shifted its main focus to gold. With 3,851 employees, and seven active gold mines; Northern Star is no doubt one of the biggest players in the global gold trade.

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Conclusion:

The biggest mining companies in Australia are also the biggest in the world. This makes Australia the biggest producer of metals; the headquarters of the world’s mining industry. Interestingly, many of these companies have gone outside the shores of Australia to set up overseas operations but they retain the profits and headquarters in Australia.

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