Australia is a large, sparsely populated country, rich in mineral resources. It is the world’s sixth‐largest country; mainland Australia covers an area of 7.69 million square kilometres (km²). Australia is the Earth’s largest island but smallest continent. It stretches about 3 700 kilometres (km) from north to south and 4 000 km from east to west. It is roughly the same size as the contiguous 48 states of the United States and almost 80% larger than the combined EU‐25 countries. Australia has a population of just over 22.5 million people with a population density of 2.6 persons per km2, the lowest in the OECD and one of the lowest in the world. Australia joined the IEA in 1979.