One of the major contributors to the Australian economy is the mining industry. Many foreigners are encouraged to immigrate to Australia primarily for mining purposes. Various kinds of ores and minerals are extracted from the mines throughout the country.
The availability of many minerals in Australia had prevented many early colonies in Australia from going bankrupt. In the 1840s, silver and subsequently copper was discovered in South Australia. The silver and copper ores extracted from mines were exported to either India or China. Afterwards, skilled miners and smelters immigrated to Australia in the search for better mining regions.
Silver and lead were the one of the first economic minerals to be discovered and extracted from Australian mines at Glen Osmond. Many other mines like Wheal Gawler and Wheal Watkins opened in the region soon after. The importance of these mines decreased when the copper was discovered at Kapunda, Burra and in the Copper Triangle (Moonta, Kadina, and Wallaroo).
In the year 1851, gold was discovered near Ophir, New South Wales. Subsequently a few weeks later, gold was also found in the newly established colony of Victoria. This lead to the great Australian gold rush. The gold rush helped in developing the Australian society and strengthening its economy.