Mining wages flat-line

Falling commodity prices has seen mining wage growth come to a near stand-still, with the industry posting its smallest ever quarterly wage increase.

Falling commodity prices has seen mining wage growth come to a near stand-still, with the industry posting its smallest ever quarterly wage increase.

ABS figures show wages in mining grew by just 0.2 per cent in the September quarter, the worst of all industries and the smallest increase since reporting began.

Wage rises in the mining industry was 2.5 per cent over the last year.

This is in comparison to the annual increase of 5.2 per cent for the year ending September 2012.

Miners in Australia earn an average of $138,000 a year, but some job roles are worth more than others.

Mine managers are clearing $213,000 a year, while chief geologists are taking home $181,000 a year.

Labor is said to make up 25 per cent of a coal mine’s cost in Australia, but only 15 per cent of costs in other countries it competes with such as the US, South Africa and Indonesia.

The mining sector’s high wages have been a hot topic of late, with many claiming they are making the industry less competitive.

Mitsui’s Australian chief, Yasushi Takahashi, recently said mining wages in the country are too high and do not match productivity levels.

"It's an inconvenient truth but Australia's high wages are not supported by an equally high productivity," Takahashi said.

He said high wage were not sustainable in the long term, a sentiment echoed by the QRC who have said the issue needs to be addressed.

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