Austria: Mining, Minerals and Fuel Resources

Topics Covered

Welcome to Austria
Overview of Resources
Metals
Industrial Minerals and Gemstones
Investment
Sources

Welcome to Austria

Austria is located in Central Europe to the north of Slovenia and Italy. The total area of the country is 83,871 km2 and its population is 8,219,743 as of July 2012. The country has a temperate climate.

The national flag of Austria.
Image Credit: CIA Factbook.

After years of colonial rule, Austria gained independence in 1955 and maintained its neutrality until 1995 when it entered the European Union (EU). Austria also joined the EU’s Economic and Monetary Union in 1999. Currently, the country has a well-developed market economy coupled with skilled labour and high standards of living. Its economy is closely tied up with that of Germany.

Owing to the financial downturn in 2008-2009, the GDP of Austria contracted 3.9% in 2009. The country recovered quite fast and saw an increase in economic growth of about 2% in 2010 and 3% in 2011. The GDP was $356.5 billion as of 2011.

Austria’s natural resources consist of magnesite, tungsten, coal, lignite, iron ore, copper, zinc, oil, antimony, graphite, and salt. The mineral industry, however, does not play a significant role in the country’s economy.

Overview of Resources

Austria had only two metal mines in 2010, the open pit iron ore mine at Eisenerz and the underground tungsten mine at Mittersill. However, the industrial minerals sector managed to produce gypsum, kaolin, lime, limestone, dolomite, magnesite, salt, silica sand, and talc.

In terms of mineral production in 2010, the country was:

  • The fourth largest producer of tungsten in the world
  • The fifth largest producer of magnesite

It also accounted for 1% of the world’s total production of natural gypsum

The map of Austria. Image Credit: CIA Factbook

Metals

In 2010, AMAG was the top producer of semi-finished and cast aluminum products. In the same year, Austria’s iron ore production increased by 3% compared to that of 2009, and the country’s iron ore and concentrates imports increased by 53%.

Similarly, Voestalpine AG was the top producer of crude steel in 2010.

Industrial Minerals

Treibacher Schleifmittel produced brown fused alumina amounting between 200,000 Mt/yr and 250,000 t/yr, and white fused alumina amounting to 100,000 t/yr in 2010.

In 2010, Austria produced silica sand mainly for domestic consumption.

Investment

Austria’s investment statistics in the mining industry for 2010 is as follows:

  • Investment in the non-ferrous metals sector increased to about $100 million from $53 million in 2009
  • Investment in the mining and quarrying sector increased to $73 million from $47 million in 2009
  • Investment in the ferrous metals sector decreased to $411 million in 2010 from $763 million in 2009
  • Investment in the stones and ceramics sector decreased to $207 million from $226 million in 2009

Government programs for the next couple of years are aimed at improving demand for industrial minerals used in construction. The programs will also ensure the increase in production of these minerals and mineral commodities such as clays, cement, gypsum, construction sand and gravel, diabase, and stone.

Disclaimer: The Author of this article does not imply any investment recommendation and some content is speculative in nature. The Author is not affiliated in any way with any companies mentioned and all statistical information is publically available.

Sources

http://www.smh.com.au/business/entrepreneur-behind-austrian-mining-boom-20110526-1f6aj.html

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