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Australia and Norway have achieved modern levels of development as resource-based economies, thus avoiding the so-called resource curse. Their ability to achieve this rested heavily upon diversification into new resource products and industries. These processes relied heavily on innovation, confirming the close ties that have existed between resource-based industries and knowledge-producing and disseminating sectors of society. We develop a resource-based diversification model that analyses the interaction between ‘enabling’ sectors and resource industries and apply it to the historical experience of the two countries.