The lapse in the mining boom is hitting ores and minerals sections more than the energy based miners, IBIS World industry analyst Ed Butler told MINING DAILY.
“In the face of a slow down such as we’re facing now, it’s easier to defer building of infrastructure than it is to defer the use of energy,” Butler said.
“You still need to produce energy irrespective.”
The global financial crisis has meant that capital has been more difficult to raise, meaning companies attempting to expand or begin a new project have been forced to cut costs and postpone their plans, Mining People International managing director Steve Heather told MINING DAILY.
“Companies in exploration or trying to get a project up and running don’t have a production source or a cash flow, and they’re still relying on either cash in the bank or capital markets to raise the money,” Heather said.
“They just cannot raise money, full stop.”
According to Heather, this has seen a clear decline in the number of workers entering the minerals and metals sector.
“Companies in all of the metals are being very, very careful about who they will take on in permanent roles,” Heather said.
“That end of the market has slowed markedly.”
In the energy market however, recruiting remains as strong as ever.
“If it’s anything to do with coal, or oil and gas it’s still very busy, especially coal,” Command Recruitment senior consultant for mining and resources Paul Richards told MINING DAILY.
“Anything related to power seems to be holding firm at the moment.”
The energy sector is a more technical industry, meaning that its workers are generally more highly qualified, Butler said.
“That industry is more highly specialized,” he said.
“You need very specific skills that cater to the industry.”
According to Butler, this means unskilled or lower skilled workers will find it more difficult to get work.
The large pool of well paying jobs that the mining boom created has not disappeared, but it has shrunk.
“It hasn’t completely evaporated yet,” Heather said.
“The companies that employ the big numbers of people are the larger, long life projects, and those projects aren’t going to stop.”
But the situation is not as abundant as it has been in the past.
“A couple of months back companies were saying, ‘We’ll look at anybody, even if they don’t have experience,’ now they’re saying, ‘We will look at people, but they need some experience,’” Heather said.
“It could be a little bit harder for people who don’t have experience to get that start.”
Despite this slowing of recruitment, industry analysts believe that the current situation is a lull in the market, rather than an end to the boom.
“There’s no doubt the mining boom is not dead,” Butler said.
“It’s just a question of when it will wake up and start kicking again.
“The mining companies are being conservative, but they’re certainly not pulling out.”