The Australian government embargoed any export of iron ore between 1938 and 1960. Joseph Lyons’s government imposed the ban on the eve of World War II for a strategic reason: to prevent the Japanese from importing ore from Yampi Sound in Western Australia. Another consideration, which underpinned the retention of the ban for more than two decades, was the Commonwealth of Australia's perception that Australia's iron ore reserves were limited. In the space of a few years after the partial lifting of the embargo in 1960, world-class reserves of iron ore, mainly in Western Australia, were discovered. Mined and exported from the mid-1960s, iron ore would become, in time, Australia’s best export earner. This article explores the reasons behind the lifting of the ban and how the relaxation of the embargo in stages between 1960 and 1966 shaped the emerging iron ore industry and therefore Australia’s mining boom.
Field of Research
220201 Business and Labour History
Socio Economic Objective
970121 Expanding Knowledge in History and Archaeology
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