Australia has a long and proud history of gold mining which has shaped our country in many ways.
Gold has remarkable chemical and physical properties which make it an incredibly useful material despite its high price.
Australia’s gold exports generated $25.8 billion in revenue in FY2022.
Gold not only spurred Australia’s first mining boom, it triggered the gold rushes of the late 19th century. People travelled from around the world to the goldfields of Bathurst, Ballarat, Bendigo and then Kalgoorlie. From 1851 to 1860 Australia’s population is estimated to have trebled largely due to this mining boom.
Modern science and technologies are now finding new applications for this rare metal – from components in smart phones to circuits in electric vehicles and increasingly in modern medicine, highlighted in The World Gold Council’s report.
As the country with the largest known gold resources in the world, Australia has a significant opportunity to supply the world’s growing demand for gold.
Gold in medicine
Gold’s low reactivity makes it safe for use in the human body – for example to coat pacemakers and stents. Gold compounds are also showing promise as a new class of antibiotic in early-phase clinical studies, meaning gold-containing drugs could form part of our defence against infection.
Gold nanoparticle technology is being used to treat cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Global clinical trials confirm that the use of nanoparticle technology improved the quality of life for patients and decreased the risk of damaging healthy cells in the treatment process, particularly for prostate and breast cancer patients.