Decade-Long Australia Mining Boom Turns to Bust
MACKAY, Australia — The [url=http://maps.google.com/maps?ll=-35.308,149.1245&spn=10.0,10.0&q=-35.308,149.1245 %28australia%29&t=h]Australian[/url] mining boom built over a decade on Chinese hunger for energy and raw materials is turning into bust for many business owners as China‘s cooling growth reverberates through a country accustomed to winning from the rise of an Asian economic giant.
Endowed with vast mineral resources, Australia has been the envy of the Western world for avoiding recession during the global financial crisis while other wealthy countries drowned in debt. But the country now faces a potentially painful transition as it weans itself off a heavy reliance on its two biggest exports, coal and iron ore.
Australia’s dilemma underscores that China’s long run of supercharged growth has given it enough weight in the world economy to create not only winners, but losers too when its own fortunes change.
Trade between Australia and China equaled 7.6 percent of Australia’s $1.5 trillion economy last year, a dramatic threefold increase from a decade earlier, according to an Associated Press analysis of trade data. During that time, mining companies gushed multibillion dollar profits while jobs as mundane as maintenance commanded salaries above $120,000.
Now the downside of that tight embrace is being felt across Australia’s mining heartlands and in its bustling cities. The number of jobless is expected to increase more than 70,000 in coming months and the government’s finances are turning a deeper shade of red, forcing cuts to public services.
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