Dig and ship

Australia is extremely resource rich and has low population density. The demand for its resources will come from elsewhere. And the reason is probably that those are industries already established elsewhere and needs those raw materials from Australia because they already squandered those they have nearer to them.

So for decades, minerals, and other resources have been dug up and then shipped to those other production locations. Global supply chains are formed this way. There is a mix of proximity to key resources or demand, as well as some path dependency and government competition to promote and attract investments inward. It is not formed by mere economic calculations at every moment.

That is to say that in the energy transition, Australia has the chance to attract actual industries needing their raw materials to situate in Australia. This will also mean pushing up the population of the country and potentially straining what is conceived as the carrying limits of the land. So it is a trade off to consider. But either way, the world could be better from this logistics chain optimisation at regional level.