May 19, 2020

Australia’s top 10 exports

Iron ore
Olivia Minnock
5 min
Australia’s top 10 exports

In 2017, Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) reported a trade balance of $1.56bn – but what are the top export sectors driving Australia’s economy forward?


10. Crude petroleum

In 2017, crude petroleum brought US$3.74bn (A$5.25bn) into the Australian economy. This marked a 10.4% year-on-year rise from the 2016 export figure of US$3.39bn (A$4.75bn). The most significant area for crude petroleum exports is Western Australia, which is said to produce over 70% of the country’s crude oil and condensate. The total share of the export market taken up by crude petroleum was 1.4% in 2017.

9. Wheat

Last year, Australia’s wheat exports were worth a total of $4.32bn (A$6.06bn), which marked a 24.9% increase from the previous year’s $3.46bn (A$4.85bn) in 2016. Sales of wheat took a 1.6% share of the country’s total exports. While wheat exports declined by around 34% in 2017, this year the industry is experiencing steady growth of just under 7%. The eight-year low experienced last year has reportedly been helped by heavier rain in Australia’s west in the past few months.


8. Beef

In 2017, beef exports took up 1.9% of Australia’s total exports, bringing in $5.31bn (A$7.45bn). This marks a moderate increase of 0.7% from the 2016 figure of $5.28bn (A$7.4bn). In fact, in 2016 Australia was reportedly the third largest exporter of beef in the world, following India and Brazil, and was named in 2017 by the Red Meat Advisory Council as the world’s largest exporter of beef, as well as the largest consumer of the produce globally.


7. Aluminium ores

Aluminium ores (including alumina) made up 2.2% of Australia’s total 2017 export sales, brining $5.89bn (A$8.25bn) into the country. This marked a massive increase from 2016’s figure of $4.61bn (A$6.46bn) – as much as 30.4% year on year. Around the world, the main uses of aluminium are within the transportation, construction, electricals and consumer goods industries. The global aluminium market is valued at $133.6bn in 2015 according to Allied Market Research – this is set to increase to £167.3bn by 2022, representing a CAGR of 3.3%.


6. Gold

Though down by 6.5% from 2016, gold still has a place on Australia’s list of top exports, and contributed a total of $12.58bn (A$17.63bn) in exports. While this dipped from 2016’s figure of $13.46bn (A$18.86bn) but in 2017, the precious metal still takes up 4.6% of total exports. The largest gold mine in Australia is Boddington Gold Mine, located around 100km from Perth in western Australia. Upon the mine’s reopening in 2010, it was predicted to have a production capacity of 1mn ounces over five years. Proven ore reserves at the end of 2011 amounted to 20.3mn ounces of gold, as well as 2.26bn ounces of copper.


5. Personal travel services

Personal travel services (excluding education-related travel, which makes up a significant segment of Australia’s service exports on its own), maintained a steady year-on-year rise of 0.4% in 2017. The invisible export brought $15.18bn (A$21.28bn) into the economy, following on from $15.12bn (A$21.19bn) in 2016. Overall, personal travel makes up 5.5% of Australia’s exports. Currently, Australia is one of the beneficiaries of a tourism boom in the surging aviation markets of China and India: around 1.4mn visitors came to Australia from mainland China, marking a 13% year-on-year increase, while visitor numbers from India rose 15%, reaching 302,900.


4. Natural gas

In 2017, Australia exported $18.34bn (A$25.62bn) worth of natural gas. This industry has grown significantly over the past couple of years, with export sales increasing by 43% from 2016’s figure of $12.82bn (A$17.91bn). As of yet, natural gas makes up 6.6% of the total export space – but according to Business Insider this is only set to rise, with Australia expected to become the world’s largest exporter of natural gas by 2019. A report stated that LNG (liquefied natural gas) exports from the country will reach 77mn tonnes in 2018-19, up from 52mn in 2016-17.


3. Education-related travel services

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, education-related travel encompasses the travel, fees and living expenses of students studying in Australia, across the sectors of: higher education; vocational, education and training; English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students; as well as an ‘other’ segment which includes non-award courses, students from New Zealand, and various government scholarships. Overall, this market brought in $21.71bn (A$30,26bn) in 2017, marking a significant increase of 17.3% from 2016’s figure of $18.5bn (A$25.79bn). Education-related travel services take up 7.8% of Australia’s total exports.


2. Coal

It’s no surprise to see Australia’s coal industry high up on the exports list, and indeed it takes up a share of 14.8% of total exports. It is interesting to note that the fossil fuel industry is still experiencing massive growth, with 35.2% exhibited year on year in 2017. The figure amounted to $41bn (A$57.13bn) as opposed to 2016’s $30.32bn (A$42.27bn). The biggest operational coal mine in the country in terms of output is the Bulga Coal mine in Singleton, New South Wales, with 10.8mn tonnes of coal mined per annum, all of which is exported.


1. Iron ores and concentrates

Iron ores and concentrates brought in a total of $45.26bn (A$63.09bn) into the Australian economy in 2017 and made up 16.3% of total exports. This marked a healthy 17.4% increase from 2016, when the industry made $38.57bn (A$53.76bn). The biggest iron ore mine in the country – and reportedly the seventh largest in the world – is Hamersley Basin, located in Western Australia, which has 1.72bn tonnes of proven and profitable iron ore reserves as investigated at the end of 2021. Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton are responsible for about 90% of all iron ore production in Western Australia, with Rio Tinto boasting a profit of $8.8bn (AU$12.26) in 2017.

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Jun 13, 2021

Seo JungJin: Who is EY’s World Entrepreneur of 2021?

Kate Birch
3 min
From just US$45,000 capital in 2003 to a world-leading biopharma giant with revenues of US$1.69bn today, Seo JungJin is crowned EY World Entrepreneur 2021

Seo JungJin, founder of biopharma firm Celltrion, which most recently developed an antibody treatment for COVID-19, has been named the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year 2021, becoming the first South Korean in the award’s 21-year history.

Regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious business awards program for entrepreneurs, the EY Entrepreneur of the Year celebrates visionary and innovative leaders from across 60 countries who are transforming the world and fostering growth.

JungJin, who is now honoroary chairman of Celltrion Group, was up against a worthy cast of entrepreneurial competitors, taking the crown from among 45 award winners across 38 countries and territories.

Speaking during the virtual event, JungJin described his own interpretation of entrepreneurship as something that brings together “a group of people toward a common vision, embracing challenges as opportunities and committing oneself to contribute to the greater good”.

Why was JungJin crowned King Entrepreneur?

A South Korean native and now 63 years of age, JungJin founded biopharmaceutical firm Celltrion in 2003. In the nearly two decades since its founding, Celltrion has lived up to its goal of advancing health and welfare for all by developing ground-breaking drugs to treat autoimmune disease, various forms of cancer and, most recently, COVID-19.

The company, which JungJin started with just US$45,000 and five of his colleagues, has since growth to more than 2,1000 employees with sales permits in more than 90 countries and revenues exceeding US$1.69bn.

According to the panel, JungJin’s story is a shining example of the power of an unstoppable entrepreneur to change the world with the pandel moved by both his incredible story and his purpose-driven leadership, innovative mindset and entrepreneurial spirit.

Described by the chair of the EY judging panel Rosaleen Blair as “representing everything an unstoppable should be” from taking on the world’s biggest health care challenges to consistently creating long-term value for his company, JungJin’s story is one of incredible tenacity and perseverance that the judging panel felt most represented the entrepreneurial spirit.

“He’s taken breathtaking risks, both personal and professional, to found Celltrion and grow it into one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies,” says Stasia Mitchell, EY Global Entrepreneurship Leader. “His passion for creating affordable, life-saving health care and flair for tackling global problems has led to many treatments that have helped millions of people worldwide and was especially evident this past year through the creation of a COVID-19 antibody treatment.”

How did JungJin get there?

JungJin's entrepreneurial journey started at an early age when he worked as a taxi driver to get himself through Konkuk University in Seoul, South Korea. After studying industrial engineering, he rose through the ranks of Daewoo Motor Co. before losing his job amid the carmaker’s financial troubles following the 1997 Asian economic crisis.

Following this, JungJin started collaborating with colleagues to explore business opportunities in different industries, though none delivered lasting success. The turning point came after he attended a talk hosted by renowned scholars, which inspired him to focus on the biopharmaceutical sector.

And so he founded Celltrion with just US$45,000 of his savings. The launch of Remsima, credited with being the world's first antibody biosimilar, quickly moved Celltrion up the ranks of the country's fairly underdeveloped pharmaceutical sector. Celltrion followed this success with the launch of drugs for breast cancer and lymphoma that today are being used worldwide.

With ambitions to be the world’s first in different areas, Celltrion has pioneered numerous uncharted areas to great success over the past two decades, most recently responding to the global pandemic by successfully developing an antibody treatment for COVID-19 and working to ensure a timely supply of the safe and effective treatment.

“When I first started, my vision was to help patients gain access to safe, effective and affordable medicines and thereby enhance the quality of people’s lives,” explains JungJin. “The success of Celltrion has enabled me to expand on this while finding new ways to fuel my entrepreneurial drive.”


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