Mining is the backbone of Australian industry and the gold rush that founded its economic success. The Royal Australian
Shortly after the British Colony was formed, the search for natural resources began. Initially they found coal followed by copper and lead. The mining industry had started though only on a small scale. The real boost to the economy was the discovery of gold in the Bathurst area around 1851. Edward Hargraves was the man to start the gold fever which attracted prospectors from far and wide. This was the start of the gold rush era which led to colossal economic growth. Gold was also found in Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland and whole communities have been built to house the 'diggers'. Mining is now the prime industry of Australia and supports a vast network of other industries. Surface mining has been, for some time, the most economical form of mining in Australia. This is set to change in the future as underground mining is on the increase and will soon count for a much larger percentage of Australian Mining. As deposits and open mines search for reserves, modern technology has allowed the search for deeper mining in existing underground mines. This has led to the discovery of far more reserves than was originally thought. In the Ernest Henry Mining operation close to Cloncurry, they have extended the life of the mine by transforming the open cut mine into an underground mine by another 12 years.