Are you a racist if you oppose foreign workers?

The Minerals Council of Australia has slammed unions and other voices opposing foreign mining workers as running a nonsensical "race-based" campaign.

The MCA has taken out full-page advertisements in national media to promote ramping up the number of temporary foreign workers on our mines.

The West Australian reports the advertisements say opposition to the plan does not make sense.

"The loud and sometimes race-based opposition to temporary skilled migration is hard to understand," they read.

"There is a simple truth underlying the Federal Government's decision to increase skilled migration: without it, we won't be able to deliver the huge projects that will bring wealth and employment to Australia."

The industry-backed ads say there are not enough Australian workers to fill jobs in the mining industry, a fact that "no one has disputed".

The 'racist' card has previously been played by the mining industry in an attempt to polarise debate.

Last year the MCA labeled former Greens leader Bob Brown 'xenophobic' for his attacks on the mining industry and its foreign ownership.

Similarly Clive Palmer has previously labeled Australia "outstandingly racist" for discriminating against Chinese investment.

And Fortescue Metals Group chairman Andrew Forrest last year accused the Government of committing "almost an act of racism" in debate over the mining tax.