Minerals of Australia

Australia is an island country. It lies in the South Pacific Ocean. The neighbors of Australia are Indonesia, East Timor, Papua New Guinea the north,. The Solomon Island, Vanuatu, and New Caledonia are in the east and New Zealand in the south east direction. The main land Australia has an area of 7692024 sq.km. It has some islands in the adjoining area. The coast line is of around 35876 km. The major cities are Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, Canberra and Darwin. Majority of the population is concentrated in the cities and the eastern and south eastern part of Australia. Two major rivers of Australia are Murray and Darling. The Lake Eyre is the biggest lake of Australia. It has an area of around 9500 sq.km. The Great Artesian Basin is the source of fresh water for the people of Australia. Australia lies on the stable and old land massif was part of the Gondwana land and separated due to the movement of African plate towards the Eurasian plate. Prolonged erosion and weathering gave rise to the present land forms .The major geographical features are the Eastern Highland, Western plateau, Central low land, Murray- Darling Basin, and Lake Eyre Basin. The Tasmania Island is full of hills and valleys. The Great Barrier Reef is a significant feature of the north eastern region.. The geographical division of Australia is made into six groups. These are the Eastern Highlands, Eastern Alluvial Planes and low lands, South Australian Highlands, Western Plateau, Central Desert and Northern Plateau and basin. The Great Dividing Range is part of Eastern Highland region. The eastern uplands are also part of Eastern Highland region. The Murray--Darling basins are part of Eastern Alluvial Plains. The Eyre basin is also part of Eastern alluvial plains and low lands.

The country is divided into some administrative divisions. These are New South Wales, Victoria, and Queens land, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, Northern Territory and Capital Territory. The national capital is at Canberra. The country is administered by the parliamentary form of government. The prime minister is the head of the government. The democratically elected government put into work for 5 years. After every five years there is parliamentary election and election to the provincial bodies. Political parties take part in the parliamentary and provincial election.

Australia is a vast country with sufficient variation of weather conditions. Around 40 percent of the land area are desert or semi desert. The rainfall is low and scanty in the arid and desert areas. The rainfall in desert region is less than 600 mm per year. The regions like Victoria, Queensland, New South Wales and Tasmania have temperate climatic conditions. The north and northwest get maximum rainfall. The rainfall may go above 1800 mm. The temperature increases towards the interior parts of Australia. The Tasmania Island gets maritime climate and sufficient rain fall.

Australia is having some of the oldest rocks of the world. The major rocks of Australia are granite, sandstone, basalt, quartzite, schist, gneiss and slate. The rocks have mineralization of silver, copper, lead, zinc, gold and uranium. Iron ores are found in banded formations. Bauxite is found on hill tops and hill slopes of granite and gneiss rocks. Rare earth minerals are found along beach deposits. Gold is found along quartz veins and placer deposits. Coal beds are found in sedimentary beds. Crude oil, lime stone, china clay and fire clay are also found in Australia. Titanium, tellurium, diamond and tantalum are also found there. Uranium ores are found in Western Australia, South Australia, Queensland and Northern Territory of Australia. Mining contributes significantly to the national economy. Around 30 percent of export earnings are from minerals and mineral products. Around 10 percent of export earning comes from metals, coal, oil shale, cement, and building stones. The export of these products goes to countries like Japan, China, South Korea, India, Germany, UK, France and Spain.

The urban centers and cities are formed around mining centers and ports. The mining activities started during 1840 for the extraction of silver and lead to influx of immigrants in south Australia. This was further fuelled by mining of copper. The gold mining was started in 1850.Ther was gold rush to New South Wales and Victoria. During that period around 40 percent of world production of gold was from Australia. Australia is the second highest gold producer of the world after China. Australia produces around 350 million tons of iron ore per year. It is third largest producer of iron ore after China and Brazil. Australia is the largest producer of bauxite and cocking coal.

The requirements of minerals are increasing day by day in the world. The countries like Japan, India, South Korea and China are increasing their mineral consumption to meet the domestic and export demand. These countries are in need of coal and uranium for power production. Australia with a vibrant democracy and liberal economy may help India and Japan in meeting their demands of minerals. The role of Australia in the Asia-Pacific region is found to be very important in the economic development and stability.