South Australia’s Strategic Plan is comprised of 100 targets. These targets are specific and measurable and enable us to measure our progress towards achieving the Plan’s visions and goals.

Each target is reported on through this section of the website. Data is analysed and uploaded as it becomes available.


42. Minerals production and processing:

Increase the value of minerals production and processing to $10 billion by 2020

Key Measure


Explanatory Comments

The value of minerals production and processing in South Australia has increased steadily from $1.98 billion in the 2002–03 baseline year to $5.179 billion in 2014–15.

South Australia is well positioned for growth in the target area of Mineral Production and Processing as it continues to remain attractive to global investors and to facilitate growth through:

  • Significant mineral endowment (globally significant producer of copper, uranium, zircon)
  • Online availability of the world’s best geoscientific data (Fraser Institute 2014), through the Government’s award winning South Australian Resources Industry Geoserver (SARIG) online application (Australian e-government award winner, 2013).

Licensing and access to land for mineral exploration and development continues to be governed by the State Government’s effective regulatory regime. South Australia is the highest ranked state in Australia/New Zealand for Mining Project Approval Processes (Minerals Council of Australia, 2013).

Mineral Production (sub-target $8.5 billion by 2020)

In 2014-15, the value of mineral production was $4.399 billion.

Factors influencing the value of minerals produced include:

  • commodity prices,
  • global economic climate; and
  • federal fiscal/taxation regime.

The increase in the State’s mineral production is primarily due to the significant increase in production of iron ore.

The outlook for the State’s major mineral commodity - copper, is very positive and is expected to be maintained or increased as major mines (Olympic Dam, Prominent Hill and Kanmantoo) continue to produce at near capacity and look at increasing run-rates and making productivity improvements.

Mineral Processing (sub-target $1.5 billion by 2020)

In 2014-15, the value of mineral processing was $0.78 billion (subject to further updates). The value of minerals processing has stagnated over the past ten years but recent announcements indicate the potential to reach the $1.5 billion target by 2020.

There are currently two major contributors to mineral processing in South Australia:

  • Arrium’s Whyalla Steelworks—manufacturing steel from iron ore derived from the Middleback Ranges; and
  • Nyrstar’s Port Pirie plant—producing copper, lead, zinc, gold, silver and sulphuric acid from ore sourced from a variety of Australian mines.

There is potential for growth in the State’s mineral processing with Nyrstar announcing in May 2014 it would be proceed with a $514 million investment to transform the Port Pirie Smelter into an advanced metals recovery and refining facility, on the back of a financing and funding support package with the South Australian Government and the Australian Government’s Export Finance & Insurance Corporation (EFIC). This upgrade of the Port Pirie Smelter is a significant development securing the long-term future of the Port Pirie Smelter.

Lead Agency

Department of State Development