Timber workers can fill mining skills shortage: AMEC

critical minerals

Forestry and timber industry workers could be used to fill positions in the Western Australian mining sector under a proposal by the Association of Mining and Exploration Companies (AMEC).

The Western Australian Government last week announced it will end logging of native forests in the state as part of its upcoming Forest Management Plan 2024-33.

According to a statement from the Western Australian Government, from 2024 timber taken from the state’s native forests will be limited to forest management activities that improve forest health and clearing for approved mining operations, such as Alcoa.

AMEC chief executive officer Warren Pearce said the timber industry has many correlations with the mining industry.

“This announcement will surely leave many workers uncertain about their employment and their futures. However, many of these workers may find new prospects in the state’s growing mining industry,” he said.

“We both employ a highly skilled workforce, many roles are in semi or heavy industrial sites, and each have a significant transport and logistics task.”

“The Western Australian mining industry is currently experiencing a labour shortage in many of these areas, skilled workers may well find new and rewarding opportunities in our industry.”

“As of September 8, showed 3450 jobs being advertised in WA’s mining, resources and energy industry, 131 of those located in the South West and Great Southern region. Thousands of the state’s FIFO (fly-in, fly-out) workforce already call the South West home.”

Pearce said AMEC will work with its member companies and the Western Australian Government to look at opportunities for these workers to take up roles in the mining industry.

“While not all of these workers will want to work in the mining industry, this is an opportunity for forestry workers to continue to use their skills in another of Western Australia’s primary industries,” Pearce said.

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