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The major towns of the Rangelands are Kununurra, Broome, Karratha, Tom Price, Exmouth, Carnarvon and Kalgoorlie. The main economic activities of the Western Australian Rangelands includes: mining, pastoralism, horticulture, agriculture, tourism, fishing and aquaculture.

Mining is an important industry within the rangelands and includes gold mining in Goldfields, iron ore mining in the Pilbara and petroleum and diamond mining in the Kimberley.

Australia is the world’s second largest producer of gold and approximately two thirds of all production comes from Western Australian mines. In 2009 Western Australia produced approximately $5.65 billion of gold.

Iron ore is one of Australia’s largest minerals earner and approximately 95% of all Australian iron ore exports come from the Pilbara. In 2009 Western Australia produced approximately $28.1 billion of iron ore.


Carnarvon Consultation. Photo taken by Teresa Belcher

The Argyle Diamond Mine in the Kimberley region of the Rangelands is the world’s largest supplier of natural coloured diamonds and it accounts for approximately 90% of Australia’s diamond production. In 2009 Western Australia’s diamond industry produced $230 million.

Pastoralism is the dominant land use across approximately 45% of the Rangelands and it includes activities such as cattle and sheep grazing. In the Rangelands currently there are 470 pastoral stations composed of 519 pastoral leases. Pastoral leases range in size from 3000 hectares to 500,000 hectares.

The Rangelands supports a variety of horticultural activities and produces a diverse range of crops including: chickpeas, sorghum seed, melons, pumpkins, mangos, bananas, citrus, irrigated pasture, tropical forests and sugar cane.