Miners to replace workers with machines

International mining executives believe the industry is on the cusp of a transformation that will see it move from a blue collar to white collar workforce, according to a new study.

According to research from BDO International, 79 per cent of mining executives surveyed fear the lack of a skilled workforce will have a negative impact on their operations.


To solve the problem mining bosses are increasingly looking to new developments, and the BDO study said companies were keen to fill skill gaps with new technology.


According to BDO 50 per cent of executives believe “substituting technology for labour” will have a positive impact on their business this year.


“We are in the midst of a transition in the mining industry from a blue collar to a white collar workforce,” BDO global national resources leader Charles Dewhurst said.


Dewhurst said the mining industry was at a “critical juncture” and new technology was set to make a huge impact on the sector.


“Technology, and the individuals who are skilled in developing and utilitising these tools, is now more important than ever as demands for greater returns and increased productivity are forcing the industry to innovate,” he said.


Despite concerns about labour 42 per cent of mining executives said their total number of employees would remain the same in 2013, with 38 per cent indicating an increase in employment numbers.


Around 30 per cent of executives also said new technology would help improve profitability in 2013, and a greater share of profit would be directed toward new technology in the future.

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