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The critical role of copper in ‘green’ technology is behind a 62 per cent increase in exports of the in-demand commodity, according to the Queensland Resources Council.

The latest trade data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Australian copper ore attracting above $4.50 per kilogram for the second successive month.

The QRC said this price strength was demand driven, as surging green technologies were significantly more copper intensive. 

Copper ore exports rose by $286 million in value in March to $745 million, the third highest copper ore export month on record. 

QRC chief executive Ian Macfarlane said the latest monthly trade figures also showed a 12 per cent jump in the value of LNG exports and 9 per cent rise in the value of coal exports.

“This is great news for coal and gas companies across Queensland that produce these commodities and for the communities in which they operate and the people they employ,” he said.

“Commodity cycles will always fluctuate, but Queensland’s strength is we have a diverse and abundant base of the traditional and emerging commodities the world needs right now, and a skilled domestic workforce that’s been able to keep operating safely and consistently during the global pandemic.” 

Australia recorded a goods trade surplus above $8 billion as imports and exports both increased 15 per cent in March, according to preliminary trade data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS head of international statistics Sean Crick described iron ore as the foundation of Australia’s export strength, accounting for 39 per cent of all March exports.

A record $14 billion of iron ore was exported in March, up $2.5 billion from February.

The increase in imports was led by non-monetary gold and petroleum. Non-monetary gold increased $529 million (117 per cent), most of which was imported from the United Kingdom and the United States of America. 

Petroleum imports were up $459 million (21 per cent), led by diesel imports from China, as local refinery closures increase demand for imports.