This paper is a discussion of the economic geography of Australia. It provides a history of foreign investment in mining, and discusses several resources booms that shaped the landscape of the continent and the role of governments (state, federal and territory governments) in this process. The paper presents a chronological account of the development of the Australian mining industry, the primary activities of which are the extraction, and export of unprocessed coal, iron, minerals and increasingly natural gas. The paper analyses the industry's interaction with foreign investment and government assistance (that is, government spending in relation to the industry such as subsidies, loans and infrastructure construction, etc.). Australia's trade and foreign investment environment have long been deregulated. The Australian mining industry has benefited from this deregulation. But its most spectacular period has been the ‘commodities super-cycle’ of the 2000s–2010s. Overall, its contribution to exports has long typified the mining industry. The discussion herein draws attention to the applicability of the ‘eclectic theory’ in reference to foreign investment in mining. That is, investing mining MNEs (multinational enterprises) have three main types of ‘locational advantages’ in Australia: (i) volume of the availability of resources; (ii) foreign investment regulatory environment; and (iii) government assistance that benefits the mining industry's expansion.
- economic geography