Comalco’s development of Queensland bauxite, 1955-1975

Lee, David 2016, Comalco’s development of Queensland bauxite, 1955-1975, Australian journal of politics and history, vol. 62, no. 1, pp. 44-58, doi: 10.1111/ajph.12207.

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Title Comalco’s development of Queensland bauxite, 1955-1975
Author(s) Lee, David
Journal name Australian journal of politics and history
Volume number 62
Issue number 1
Start page 44
End page 58
Total pages 15
Publisher Wiley
Place of publication Milton, Qld.
Publication date 2016-03
ISSN 0004-9522
Summary In 1954 Australia mined little bauxite and did not produce alumina, but by the end of the 1970s Australian industry accounted for more than one third of the western world's bauxite production and about one fifth of its alumina. This article examines the development of Comalco, the company which mined Australia's largest bauxite deposits in Queensland and was an essential part of Australia's entry into the world-wide aluminium industry from the 1960s to the 1980s. Fundamental to Comalco's success was government-industry co-operation. The Australian government established an aluminium smelter for defence purposes in Tasmania that it sold to Comalco on favourable terms and then protected with tariffs and import restrictions. Moreover, federal government-industry co-operation stimulated the discovery of bauxite, the main source of aluminium, in northern Australia. Even more important to Comalco's success was the Queensland government which gave the company access to the best of the state's newly-discovered bauxite deposits in return for the company's commitment to industrial development in the state on the back of mining. Using its relationships with state and national governments in Australasia, Comalco was able to harness competing aluminium companies in the building of the largest alumina plant in the world at Gladstone in central Queensland and, in doing so, set itself on the path to becoming a multinational company in its own right.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/ajph.12207
Field of Research 210303 Australian History (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander History)
1606 Political Science
2103 Historical Studies
Socio Economic Objective 950503 Understanding Australia's Past
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2016, The Author
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