Mining jobs set for short-term fall in SA: report

During a time of uncertainty for South Australian’s resources sector the release of a workforce demand report shows employment figures are set to dip.

Results of South Australia’s first ever state-wide resources industry workforce demand survey were released today by resource workforce and skills industry body, the Resources and Engineering Skills Alliance (RESA).

The report – South Australia Resources Workforce Scoping Report 2013-2020, contains a survey of more than 20 operating mines and licensed operations in SA and their projected employment forecasts for the next seven years.

The survey included responses from more than 165 explorers, miners and industry suppliers.

A key finding in the report showed the average aggregated employment in the sector over the next seven years will approach 15,000 employees, but as operations move into maturity in 2015, there will be a small decrease in overall demand for employment between 2015 and 2016, down to around 14,800.

RESA chief Phil de Courcey said the companies interviewed revealed that fluctuations within the global and Australian economies made it hard for them to accurately predict the amount of resources they will be able to mine throughout the forecast years.

“This makes it extremely difficult to determine how many people the sector will need on the ground,” de Courcey said.

“Contractors are facing the same dilemma as mining companies in predicting their workforce needs,” he said.

However de Courcey said the report showed that the demand for skilled workers in the state was still high.

 “What is pleasing is that South Australia currently hosts 34 developing minerals projects adding to the survey responses which indicates that there will be a demand for skilled workers for the sector at a floor level of around at least 14,800 personnel”.

“Much of this ‘going forward’ demand will be from a new wave of employees and advances in mining technology and this will enhance and help drive South Australia’s opportunity to evolve and market training and skills regimes on a world-class level.”

The report claims the most in-demand professional occupations in the sector are, geologists, metallurgists, accountants, mining and miscellaneous engineers; while diesel mechanics, drillers, electricians, instrumentation and mechanical technicians dominated the trades demand.

de Courcey reiterated previous warnings by RESA that while many projects have the potential to move from “in-development” into the “approved” stage, workforce productivity, global commodity prices and the economy in Australia continued to impact Australia’s competitiveness.

A follow-on report is being researched by RESA and will involve more than 30 resource projects currently in the development phase.

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