The north west corner of Australia has some unique and dramatic natural landscape – but that is not all. I agree that is more pleasing and serene to gaze over a blue pool fringed with green reeds and ferns in a deep red gorge than it is to look out over a massive iron ore mine with it’s hustle of giant trucks, processing plants and trains. However it would be wrong not to mention the latter and while some hold that it is ugly, I for one can’t help but be impressed by most of it. S
Iron ore mining is probably the most well know industry in this region and depending on one’s information source, it accounts for 3 to 4% of Australia’s GDP. Rio Tinto is the major iron ore company in the area, however there are also many other large players such as BHP and Fortesque Metals.
While definitely second to Iron ore, offshore natural gas is also a very large economic contributor of the region with several processing plants located along the coast. Woodside Petroleum and Chevron being the lead operators.
Visitor centre photos of two of the offshore platforms (Rankin A and B) and an aerial shot of the gas plant. The platforms rest on the seabed about 130m below the water level where shafts over 3km deep reach down to the gas and oil.
Finally salt mining also presents a very visible impact in the area, albeit probably some orders of magnitude smaller from an economic point of view. Interestingly, the salt mines appear to be mostly owned by Rio Tinto.