Western Australia is the world’s largest supplier of iron ore.

The rapid growth in China’s iron ore demand since the early-2000s led to a substantial rise in prices and Western Australia’s iron ore producers responded by investing tens of billions of dollars in new mines and rail and port infrastructure.

Western Australia’s iron ore sales more than doubled over the past decade, from 317 million tonnes in 2008-09 to 794 million tonnes in 2018-19. After years of strong growth, Western Australia’s iron ore sales are slowing, as China’s demand slows and new mines reach full production. 

However, Western Australia’s major iron ore producers have approved a number of new projects recently to sustain supply and product quality. These include BHP’s South Flank project, Rio Tinto’s Koodaideri project and Fortescue Metals Group’s Eliwana and Iron Bridge Stage 2 projects. Western Australia’s expenditure on iron ore exploration also grew by 16 per cent to $337 million in 2019.

Western Australia’s iron ore industry is globally competitive, with large iron ore reserves, low cost supply and established long-term trade relationships with major Asian steel makers and trading companies.

The department publishes a statistical profile of the iron ore industry in Western Australia. This publication looks at: 

  • Western Australia’s position in the global iron ore market
  • Western Australia’s competitiveness and sales of iron ore
  • The iron ore industry’s contribution to Western Australia’s economy.

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