2012 Australian mining projects guide for job seekers

Australia now has a total 456 projects in the construction pipeline with 272 of those already committed and/or under construction, with a combined value of $424b.

Another 184 projects are in the pipeline awaiting Final Investment Decision. 

Conservative estimations are that approvals for at least $50-80b worth of additional project value will be announced in the next 12 months.

Of the committed projects, the breakdown by state is:

  • Western Australia;  89
  • Northern Territory;  36
  • Queensland;  123
  • New South Wales;  94
  • Victoria/Tasmania;  53
  • South Australia;  61

The major commodities under development are coal, iron ore, liquefied natural gas and coal seam gas.

Whilst the operational numbers are significant, the immediate impact will be felt in the construction space with a peak of 250,000 required between 2013 and 2015. 

That’s up from the 75,000 currently employed in the sector. 

Even by the second half of 2013, the construction demand is expected to have doubled.

Acute shortages will be felt in the following disciplines:

  • Structural Fitters and Welders
  • Mechanical Fitters
  • Electricians
  • Fixed and Mobile Plant Operators
  • Structural Steel Fixers
  • Motor Mechanics
  • Crane Operators
  • Carpenters
  • Concreters

In addition, Australia is producing fewer than half of its current annual engineering workforce needs.

According to Engineers Australia, even with Australian universities and TAFEs producing around 9,000 graduates annually, Australia is still unable to provide a reliable domestic solution to key engineering shortages.

Over the past six years, more than one in 20 engineering projects did not proceed due to problems recruiting and retaining suitably qualified engineers.

To further demonstrate the lightening speed of demand, 44,600 new jobs were added to the Australian resource sector in the year to February 2012, increasing from 205,000 to 249,700. 

This increase cements the industry as the nation’s second biggest provider of new jobs behind health and aged care. 

Not surprisingly, the major gains were seen in Western Australia and Queensland which accounted for two-thirds of all new mining jobs. 

New South Wales gained an extra 8,700, South Australia 3,100 and Victoria 2,000.

When you read about projects, most will cite large numbers which are inclusive of both the construction and operational workforce. 

Whilst you will see many of the ‘operators’ advertising for operational roles or expressions of interest in preparation for major projects, the bulk of the jobs will be in construction and with smaller businesses supplying the works or equipment.

When the general media talks about 10,000 jobs with Gorgon for example, around 2,000 of these are likely to be ongoing operational and the remainder with suppliers or major contractors who are awarded work packages during the construction phase. 

This applies to other projects.

When seeking opportunities to work on projects, the following is a guide:

Operational Roles

Will include Engineering, Technical, Functional Support (like HR, Supply, Finance etc) Trades and Operating roles. 

Typically, employers/operators will seek candidates who are highly experienced in their area, obviously qualified, and/or for operating roles, will ideally have a trade background. 

You will, however, see growing opportunities for trainee positions for operating, and apprenticeships for trades. 

Construction Roles:

These will vary considerably and include all types of Engineering functions, including highly specialist Project Engineers and Managers through to Labourers and Trade Assistants.

Work will be with major construction contractors like Monadelphous, Macmahon, NRW Civil and Mining, United, Transfield Services, Thiess etc and generally provide a reasonable tenure on projects. 

These types of organisations typically recruit all level of roles depending on the nature of the work package awarded.

Other work will come from smaller suppliers with very specific work packages. 

For example, work packages might include the construction of the accommodation village where plumbers, carpenters and formworkers are required, or for diving services, where only highly skilled and qualified divers are required.

When we blog about projects and who has been awarded work packages, we do so to offer information on what type of work will be conducted and who then may be seeking people to complete that work. 

This facilitates your own research. 

All information collected has been done so through extensive research from public and credible sources and is accurate as at May 2012. 

We thank Pitcrew as a key source for resource sector project numbers.

To read a project overview of mining projects, click here.

To read a project overview of oil & gas projects, click here.

To follow employment news and jobs direct from Australian resource sector employers on the Resource Channel, click here.

This post was provided by The Resource Channel, an award winning job board website for the Australian Resource Sector.

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