Masters program to tackle engineer shortages

Coffey Mining is collaborating with Melbourne University to address a decade long shortage of skilled workers in the mining engineering sector.

The Masters in Mining Engineering program was launched at the start of the 2009 academic year and is designed to offer people with an engineering background a pathway to high level positions within the mining sector.

Coffey Mining Associate Geologist/Engineer Dr John Smith said the sector has suffered from a lack of specialised mining engineers for a long time. Dr Smith is also a lecturer in the ‘Soil, Rock and Tailings Mechanics’ subject.

“It is vitally important for the future of the mining industry that there is a highly skilled and capable pool of talent to draw from, in good times as well as slow times,” he said.

The course includes subjects in mineral economics, risk and safety management and mine planning methods.

According to Dr Smith, Coffey Mining is keen to contribute to an improvement in the number and ability of specialised mining engineers in the long term.

Coffey Mining CEO Dan O’Toole said it is important to recognise that the fundamental drivers of the mining sector skills shortage are still with us, despite the slow down in the sector associated with the global financial crisis.

“A large percentage of the mining sector professionals are approaching retirement age and the industry has suffered from insufficient numbers of graduates for over a decade,” he said.

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