The economic strengths of North Queensland, which encompasses the area from Townsville to Mt Isa and from Ayr to Ingham, have been built upon its diverse natural resources. The diverse natural environment includes rich agricultural soils, abundant water, extensive grazing areas and mineral resources.

Townsville is Australia’s largest tropical city with a population of 200,000 and is the main government and business support centre.

The Port of Townsville is northern Australia’s transport gateway to the world. More than 20 shipping lines operate out of Townsville, offering more than 40 services and covering 136 ports across the globe.

Ten operational berths handle more than $8 billion in trade each year and major commodities include sugar, copper, lead, zinc, motor vehicle imports, cattle exports and containerized trade.

Townsville’s location, infrastructure and government planning such as the establishment of the State Development Area (SDA) are attracting new industries.

Industry growth areas

Mining and minerals processing

The North West Minerals Province centered on Mt Isa boasts a large portion of the world’s lead and zinc resources, as well as significant resources in silver, copper and gold. The region encompasses the northern section of the Bowen and Galilee Basins, which have some of the world’s richest coal and natural gas resources.

The province is the second largest minerals mining area in the world, containing over 28% of the world’s known zinc reserves as well as major deposits of silver, lead, copper, iron ore and phosphate.

Townsville is the primary service center for processing base metals from the minerals province. Sun Metals zinc refinery, Xstrata copper and lead processing and the Pacific National rail freight terminal all contribute to regional growth.

Tropical science and expertise

With over 50% of the world’s population living in the tropics, increasing wealth and population growth is driving demand and creating opportunities in tropical expertise and services for highly skilled professionals across a range of industries.

Drawing on the expertise in North Queensland, opportunities exist to develop applications in tropical health, environmental management, primary industries, industrial processes and chemicals, tropical infrastructure and urban design.

The internationally renowned tropical research facilities in North Queensland include:

  • James Cook University
  • Australian Institute of Marine Science
  • Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO)

Renewable Energy

North Queensland is rich in renewable energy resources including bagasse, wind and solar power.  Investment ready opportunities provide for the development of bio-based fuels and industrial products with research into algal-based products being conducted at James Cook University.


The Burdekin and Ingham combined cane crush of 12 million tonnes, equating to 1.6 million tonnes of raw sugar or 26% of Australia’s production. Climate and water infrastructure enables the Burdekin to produce a variety of crops and horticulture such as sweet corn, melons, beans and mangoes.

Cattle production provides feeder and slaughter cattle for the live export markets of Asia and the beef processing facility exports beef products to various global markets.

Townsville 2

Produced by Townsville Enterprise Ltd

Northern Queensland, Australia

Mount Isa to Townsville Economic Development Zone (MITEZ)

MITEZ is the peak regional development organisation for an area encompassing seven local government areas – Mount Isa, Cloncurry, McKinlay, Richmond, Flinders, Charters Towers and Townsville.

Covering a total land area of 271,732km2, the region is home to over 216,700 people and is a vital transport corridor connecting the rest of Queensland, Australia and the world via road, rail, air and sea.

View the region’s primary resources, infrastructure and investment in the North Queensland Regional Map (1MB) View the Northern Australia resource export supply chain and map (9MB)

More information