Many experts agree that the Australian mining industry is in the midst of moving from the construction phase into the production phase. How will these changes affect employment? Will there be more roles to fill as result of this shift, or will there be some cutbacks?
The Current State Of The Australian Mining Boom
Thanks to record trade surpluses with China, the mining boom in Australia is still holding ground. As it moves from the construction phase into the production phase, the Chinese purchases of Australian resources is likely to continue to support the industry in a significant way. As result, the resources sector is expected to remain relevant to the Australian economy over the next five years.
Mining extraction and production could grow by as much as 41 percent over the same five year time period, which means that mining activity, maintenance and exports will continue to increase as well.
Though mining investment is falling, LNG projects and iron ore production is expected to offset any negatives resulting from lack of investment. That same investment money should flow towards construction and manufacturing.
With productivity and efficiency becoming a greater focus in construction projects, streamlining and optimising is going to become a greater priority in construction. These efforts have been met with some challenges, but fortunately they are expected to create new job opportunities as well. Mining operation employment is expected to grow by 11 percent, mainly in iron ore as well as oil and gas. Mining construction employment on the whole is still on a decline.
The Growing Interest Of The METS Sector
Former Queensland Premier Peter Beattie notes that the METS sector - which is worth $90 billion and employs over 385,000 people - represents the mining industry of the future. He believes that this sector will create dynamic, high tech, innovative jobs that will begin to attract young people to the workforce. In short, jobs in mining equipment, technology and the service sector are growth areas.
However, it may take some time for the new, high tech jobs to surface and for the METS sector to establish a working relationship with the mining industry. Economic factors like the Australian dollar and the cost of business is a point of concern. On-site testing and trials of technology needs to be conducted, and significant effort will have to be dedicated toward the education and training of employees.
However, the METS sector forges ahead, and they have many new ideas to bring to the table. They are showing great interest in the future of the Australian mining industry.
Even with cutbacks in the mining sector, Christine Gibbs Stewart - Austmine advisor on strategy and policy - notes that there are still opportunities available. As miners move away from exploration and construction, operations and production activities are expected to increase.
In conclusion, this is still a good time to get involved in the mining sector. There are still large-scale projects that need to be completed, and more workers are needed to bring these projects to fruition.