share in, and compete with, the globalization of these industries will depend largely on its own ability to convert science into technology and on its interaction with the world’s multinationals. Other nations in the Pacific and elsewhere will face this issue as they lose their comparative advantage of low labor costs. The following section focuses on the cost-of-labor aspect of Australia’s development.
Australia contributed significantly to the worldwide transfer of technology in the nineteenth century. Dynamite and gelignite for the gold mining industry were produced in Australia within months of the first manufacture by Nobel in the United Kingdom. Fertilizers were produced in the early 1870s. Australia had a multinational pharmaceutical company—Nicholas/ASPRO—in the 1920s, before many of today’s pharmaceutical giants had become multinationals. The first two examples foreshadowed Australia’s chief areas of development—mining and agriculture; pharmaceuticals did not succeed internationally. None of Australia’s manufacturing companies attained significant multinational status.
International mining technology was transferred to Australia by early immigrants from the United Kingdom, the United States, and Europe and through Scottish and U.S. schools of mining, which have influenced their Australian counterparts since 1850. A series of mining booms during that period and new developments after World War II—nickel, iron ore, and gas in western Australia, gas and brown coal in Victoria, and coal in New South Wales and Queensland—attracted Australian entrepreneurs and many international companies, mainly from the United Kingdom and the United States and, more recently, Japan. As a result, a strong Australian mining industry developed, with companies with worldwide stature, such as Broken Hill Proprietary Co. Limited (BHP), Western Mining Corporation Limited, and Broken Hill North Proprietary Limited (B.H.North), and many joint ventures with international companies, including Mount Isa Mining Holdings Limited (MIM), CRA (formerly Conzinc Riotinto of Australia Limited), and Comalco Aluminum Limited (COMALCO). The large scope of many of the Australian deposits and the size of the companies involved ensured that Australia fully shared in and contributed to international mining. Two examples of Australian contributions illustrate this point—the development of flotation technology by Potter, Delprat, and de Bavay and Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI) Australia’s contribution jointly with Cook-Farnham, Canadian Industries Limited (CIL) of Canada, and ICI U.K. to the large-scale development of ammonium nitrate slurries and water gels as safe explosives in underground and surface mining.
Most mining technology worldwide developed in steps that were stimulated