According to a new report by ANZ, 75,000 mining-related jobs are at risk as Australia enters “phase three” of the mining boom over the next few years.
The ANZ-led research stated that as billions of dollars worth of investment in the sector tapers off and construction gives way to operation, resource-related roles around the country face a heavy cull.
Senior economist at ANZ, Justin Fabo, said to expect between 50 and 75 thousand job losses as mining employment crashes to three per cent of the gross domestic product from highs of eight per cent, The Australian reported.
Fabo warned a softening of commodity prices could make the news worse for those working in and servicing the sector.
“Weaker than expected commodity prices would tilt the risks to more job losses as mining firms seek to cut costs,’’ Fabo said.
“So we think the unemployment rate will be in spitting distance of 6 per cent over the next 12 months, and for improvement after that to be gradual.’’
The mining industry is estimated to employ around 263,000 people, meaning ANZ are predicting nearly a third of these roles will be slashed as production ramps up and Australia enters ''phase three'' of the mining boom.
This follows from phase one which saw a surge in global commodity prices, and phase two that was characterised by the billions of dollars sunk into projects as investment exploded to unprecedented levels.
The bank said the mining industry will keep posting healthy profits as the volume of minerals exports surges in line with accelerated production levels.
Iron ore exports are expected to increase from 290 million tonnes two years ago to almost 900 million tonnes by 2020.
This marks an increased profit of more around $20 billion.
Exports of liquefied natural gas, which has seen an investment of over $170 billion in Queensland and Western Australia, will see Australia become the world’s largest supplier.
By 2020 LNG exports will rise to 88 million tonnes, worth $67 billion.
Coal, Australia’s third-largest mineral export, is expected to see modest growth of over 5 per cent per annum to see the decade out.
“Although higher resource exports will provide a solid offset to the drag from mining investment, the non-mining economy will need to pick up substantially for overall growth to recover,” the report warned.