New study reveals how Australians feel about mining

picture of a woman in mining gear

A new study from the CSIRO reveals how Australians feel about mining. Let's take a look at the findings.

CSIRO recently published their latest report on Australian attitudes toward mining, a report which was last released in 2014. The report gives insight into the complicated relationship we have with the mining industry in Australia. It is all about the perceptions of mining in Australia, including the importance of mining to Australian society and economy. 

In total, 8020 Australians were surveyed from a variety of demographics, including Australians living within and near mining regions, non-mining regions and metropolitan areas. Here’s a summary of the key findings.

Australians agree that mining is important for our economy

The report highlights that mining is seen as central to Australia and that it is contributing substantially to Australia’s economy and standard of living. What’s interesting is that this consensus was fairly universal across regional demographics (respondents from mining, non-mining and metropolitan areas).

The findings also show that Aussies agree, on average, that mining is necessary for Australia and important to our way of life and that mining will support Australia’s future prosperity.

While Australians concur that mining is important for our economy, there are other interesting perceptions, both positive and negative, to take away from the findings.

Positive perceptions of mining in Australia

The 2017 report saw a significant increase in the perception that mining improves infrastructure in regional Australia, compared to a weaker perception in the 2014 report. The participants also indicated that the mining industry made an important contribution to the development of young Australians, which also increased across all regions since 2014.

Some of the key positive perceptions include:

  • Mining offers great employment benefits
  • Mining contributes to improved infrastructure in regional Australia
  • Mining contributes to the development of young Australians
  • Mining creates jobs for Australians in regional areas
  • Mining creates training opportunities
  • Mining creates opportunities for Indigenous Australians and women

Negative perceptions of mining in Australia

The impacts of mining on the manufacturing and tourism sectors were perceived to be low, and participants in mining regions were less supportive of FIFO/DIDO as a ‘sensible workforce strategy’ than those in non-mining areas and metropolitan areas. Apart from this, though, across the demographic regions there was no significant difference in responses on the negative impacts of mining.

Some of the key negative perceptions include:

  • Mining is harming the environment
  • Mining is harming water quality
  • Mining has negative impact on the health of local communities and mine employees
  • Respondents don’t see how they personally benefit from the mining industry

While the report’s published results are overall quite positive, the faith in advocacy groups, mining industry, the federal government and state government that are associated with the mining industry in Australia was low. So, while Australians value what the mining industry does for our economy, there is still some distrust when it comes to looking at the mining organisations and government bodies directly.

You can check out the full report here.

If you prefer to focus on the positive effects of the mining industry, including the fantastic employment and career opportunities it offers, register with MPi. We are mining employment experts.


Stephanie O'Brien
Mining People International